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The BBC band: Bio

The BBC is a group of talented Western New York area musicians dedicated to capturing the original sound of The Beatles and sixties music. A common bond shared by each member is that they have spent their lives as keen musical enthusiasts, meticulously studying these recordings allowing them to provide the most accurate musical presentation possible. They don't try to create an illusion by mimicking or acting like any particular band, their focus is on the music. Each band member painstakingly breaks down every musical nuance, to faithfully reproduce the original sound. And it's all done live! The BBC attacks each song with fire and enthusiasm. While having fun playing together, they create an infectious energy. This band has a warm, sociable stage presence, and delivers great music that sparks raw emotions in people of all ages. The BBC band is a powerhouse of local talent that features John Connelly, Russ Thomas, Gary Astridge, Bob Volkman and Frank Grizanti. The BBC: "A Beatles & 60's music experience."


Back in 2002, Gary Astridge was searching for something to do as a hobby. After some soul searching it was a no brainer to combine his two passions of The Beatles and drumming. Not having any connections in the local music scene, Gary stumbled onto and placed an Internet ad looking for musicians interested in getting together for a Beatle jam. The ad was well received and one jam lead to another and through word of mouth other local musicians began to get involved. Through the following year, Beatle jams were taking place once every two weeks at a remote location on Grand Island and as word continued to spread, the caliber of some of the players attending began to reach a professional level. A core group developed and the music was so good that a decision was made to form a band, The BBC. Through time and circumstance, the band has seen changes in personnel. The additions have lead to the creation of a local super group with great musical chemistry.

JOHN CONNELLY - Vocals, Bass, Harmonica

JOHN CONNELLY is a well-known, popular WNY musician, having founded the band SWITCH in the seventies. John became a BBC member in 2003. His passion for music is derived, in part, from his love of the Beatles! John is the owner of a promotional company in Lancaster, New York, employing approximately 20 people.

FRANK GRIZANTI - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards

FRANK GRIZANTI is a 2007 inductee to the Buffalo Musician's Hall of Fame, and recipient of the 2004 NCMMA Lifetime Achievement award for Guitar. He is also an accomplished bassist, keyboardist, vocalist, songwriter. Frank hails from Niagara Falls, where he has been a popular guitarist having played with Oz, Slam, Zola, NRG, the USA Band and Weekend. He is a member of The Falls Street Rockers, The USA Band, and Anatara. Frank can be heard on many WNY recording projects for such great talents as Ken Kaufman and John Valby, to name a few. Frank is a full time musician.

BOB VOLKMAN - Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion, harmonica

Bob has been performing with various bands in and out of Western New York since the 70’s. (Raintree & Fantasy to name a few) He spent most of the 80’s as a studio keyboardist at Select Sound – getting involved in many recording projects including the “Dick Bauerle Group”, while also performing live in the popular duo – “Filbert & Volkman”. Then he was a member of the classic rock band “Slam” for 18 years, and currently has his own band - the “Bob Volkman band” that performs locally. He also performs with Frank Grizanti in the “Rockers”. Bob has contributed more than two decades of original scores to Studio Arena Theatre productions.  He has also composed several scores for documentaries produced by WNED TV – most notably “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo.” Bob is delighted to be collaborating with the “BBC Band” project and re-discovering the many dimensions of the Beatles and other invading Brits. He is also currently the music director at Nativity Church in Clarence, NY.

GARY ASTRIDGE - Vocals, Drums, Percussion

GARY ASTRIDGE is the band's percussive backbone and founding member of The BBC. His musical journey started after seeing The Beatles first US performance in 1964. Gary has worked with Tom Calandra (Stan & the Ravens), writing & recording songs. In addition to The BBC, he has performed locally with Big Wheelie, The Be Bops, and Beatle Magic. Gary is a respected authority and historian regarding Ringo's Beatle drum gear and has been working with Ringo's inner circle to document and preserve Ringo's drums for all generations. Visit for more information.

Russ Thomas - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar

Russ joined BBC in 2002. His Lennon-like voice and driving rhythm guitar make him a valuable asset for a Beatles tribute and The BBC band! His range and ability to change his voice allows him to easily venture into other musical territory of British Invasion tunes. Russ is also the founding member of BeatleMagic, a band performing sets of Beatle music in full costume. Russ works for DuPont in Research and Development.