Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wayne Logiudice & the Kommotions

Drummer Rick Bear formed the band "The Kommotions" in 1962 with Emory Gordy Jr. (Emory Gordy and Rick Bear attended high school and college together) and Jimmy Calloway. Wayne Logiudice joined about 1963 when they were playing at a place called "Ray Lee's White Dot" on Ponce De Leon Ave.

Jimmy Calloway left the band, later joining the Night Shadows and John Ivey (who is still playing in Atlanta) began playing with the band in mid to late 1964. Barry Bailey soon joined and he and  Emory swapped back and forth between guitar and bass. Some of the finest horn players in the country like tenor saxophonist Ray Jarrell played and later Al Sheppard. Also the great Harry Hagan played trombone in the band.
The Kommotions were one of the first white bands to play in the Royal Peacock in Atlanta.  This was in 1963, before Wayne Logiudice joined. The band was Emory Gordy, Jimmy Calloway, and a tenor player named Nylas Foster. Nylas was a local black sax player, so they were technically not a "white band”.  They played there opposite a group from Asheville, NC featuring, the then unknown, Ronnie Milsap.  At that time Ronnie was singing R&B and sounded just like Ray Charles. He and Rick Bear became friends and Emory and Rick did a few shows with him over the years.
Once Wayne Logiudice joined the Kommotions they had the front man they needed and  began to rock Atlanta and the entire southeast causing ripples all the way up the Atlantic to New York City and beyond!
Wayne was a dynamo onstage, he knew all the tricks like dropping the microphone stand with his feet and then flipping it back up and all the dance moves, a white James Brown, similar, and some say better, than another blued eyed soul Georgian, Wayne Cochran. He could hold the audience in his hand with a ballad or have the place rocking in no time with up tempo R&B and Rock n' Roll, he was the complete showman. 
Here is a great story of Wayne Logiudice & the Kommotions playing the famed Apollo in NYC!
One night in 1966 at the Apollo Theater, Wayne was singing the Chuck Jackson classic “Any Day Now” to a packed 100% black audience. When he got to the line… “Then the blue shadows will fall”… a blue light appeared from the lighting area in the upper balcony and it came and rested squarely on Wayne's face… then came a shout from the man shining the light, “Go Home Honkie!” With this, the place became silent… the music stopped as well as Wayne’s vocals…
Wayne recalled how he was incensed more by the intrusion, than he was by the words. He was a professional and this was totally uncalled for… Great anxiety seemed to reign over the stilled and silent crowd as they waited to see what would happen next. Eyes and ears were glued on Wayne. After a short pause, which seemed perhaps like an eternity, he calmly and clearly spoke the following words into his microphone, “I am home… sucker!” With this, the crowd erupted with admiring approval and an ovation for Wayne, a white R&B singer from Georgia! The blue light was shown no more and the show that must go on, did! Wayne Logiudice & the Kommotions played a final show in Atlantic City that had Billy Stewart was on the bill. That was about the last job that the Kommotions played together. Emory Gordy, Barry Bailey, Charlie Dechant (who has been with Hall & Oates for years now), Fielder Floyd and Marcus Belgrave (from the old Ray Charles band) and Rick Bear.
 Wayne only released one record a 45 on Phillips with a picture sleeve(very rare and hard to find) Here  is a YouTube link to the flip side "Come On Everybody"


The Winstons became Wayne's band after the Atlantic City gig. He toured with them and Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions for about the next 2 years.
Wayne Logiudice made his final appearance at the Apollo in 1969. By that time, he had appeared at virtually all the major black nightclubs and major venues in the country with the exception of the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia. Many times, the billing on the club’s marquee read like it did at the Royal Peacock in Atlanta, Wayne Logiudice “The Blue-eyed Soul Brother”. Wayne Logiudice is now living in Tennessee near Nashville.

1 comment:

  1. I was sad to hear of Wayne's passing. He was truly a sight to see. I saw him a few times at the old Atl. Municipal Auditorium. No other "Blue Eyed
    Soul singer could pull it off.