Joe Mazzuca - Lead Guitar
Joe grew up in Berwyn, and started playing guitar at the age of 12. He took guitar lessons from the original guitar player of Styx, the late John Curulewski. Joe totally immersed himself in playing and at times practiced up to 8 hours a day! His hard work and dedication paid off; by the age of 15 he was playing out at shows and had won several "Battle of the Bands".
Unfortunately, the amount of time he dedicated to playing took its toll and Joe walked away from playing. In the beginning of 2006, a childhood friend convinced him to pick it up again. Immediately the zeal resurfaced and again he's finding it difficult to put his guitar down, even bringing it with him on business trips.
Joe's current profession is a tax man. He jokingly tells people that when his day job ends. his night time job begins. practicing and learning new songs! Joe's greatest influence was Michael Schenker, the former lead guitar player from UFO.
Joe is divorced and has a wonderful son. He has a loving, understanding, and gorgeous girlfriend, Carol, who is Joe's number one fan!
Rich Tendy - Lead Vocals
Rich’s front man journey began back in the late 70’s in the south suburbs of Chicago. Rich fronted the bands Star Gazer, Exodus, Unleashed & Temper Temper throughout his days.
Carefully crafting his vocal skills to fit the sound of the heavier European rock bands of the day, such as, Thin Lizzy, UFO, Deep Purple & Uriah Heep, and even E.L.P., as Rich loved their vocal styles. Rich explained that it was his friend’s older brothers that turned them on to the early European hard rock bands before the radio even played them.
That’s when the passion to be a rock singer began to grow within him.
Throughout Rich’s time on the stage, he was covering bands of the era from Accept to Zeppelin and finally immersing himself back into the Phil Moog UFO style that he has loved all through his career in the Chicago club scene. Out of all the songs that we ever covered, UFO was always Rich’s favorite, he stated.
Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, Rich had to step off the stage for some time back in ‘90 but never let the rust settle upon him -- continuing every so often to get back on the mic and jam out when the chance presented itself.
After a two year search, wanting to form his own UFO tribute band, the role of a lifetime fell into Rich’s lap, when by pure fate Rich struck up a conversation with Joe Mazzuca at the UFO concert and the rest of the story is now about to be written. Rich is back on the stage getting to perform the music he has always loved to sing with an awesome group of musicians that specialize in playing it.
Rich would like to thank his wife of 14 years, Norma, for being his backbone and supporting his dream to perform once again in the clubs of Chicago. What a humbling experience this is, Rich stated. He would also like to acknowledge that it is through the grace of God that he is able to prowl the stage for another go around as he looks forward to sharing this new platform with some of the most talented musicians in the Chicagoland area.
Rudy Chmelik - Percussion
Rudy started playing the drums at the age of 8 in a Drum and Bugle Corps, moved on to a drum set at the age of 10 and has been playing ever since. He played in several bands in the 70's and 80's and was even covering some UFO and MSG songs back then.
He studied Music Theory and Percussion in college and sat in with the jazz band on drum set and the orchestra on timpani's. He also worked as a drum tech, a road manager and did audio for several different bands.
Rudy left the music scene in the mid 80's when he joined the Navy, he left active service in 1989 and started playing again. His playing is heavily influenced by Cozy Powell and Simon Philips both of whom played with MSG.
He currently works as a Firefighter and is an officer in the Navy Reserve. Rudy has 2 grown kids; Nick and Jill and is married to his very best friend, Careyann.
Richard Leonard - Guitar / Vocals
Richard grew up in Berwyn, IL as well. He played in a band (Dilligaf) with Eric, Joe and Brian back in their younger days as well as in a band in the Joliet area called "Prodigy". He left the music scene in 1983.
Then it happened. He got a call from Eric in mid 2007 who said "Hey we're putting a band back together". He thought, Joke, right? Wrong! And there they were again. He felt he couldn't ask for a better group of guys to jam with.
Richard married Rosanne, the love of his life for 27 years and has a son, Eric who he says "is the best son ever!"
Eric Preisler - Bass Guitar / Vocals
Eric grew up in the same neighborhood with all of the other band members. Some he
has known over 35 years. His music interest began with the accordion at age 5, a couple
years playing violin with the school district orchestra in grammar school, then picking up the
bass guitar in his late teenage years when his buddies wanted to get together and jam.
Starting out as one of the original members of "Dilligaf" back in the late 70's, and
playing with other area bands including "Backstage" - "NRG" and "Conflict" in the early 80's,
25 years later after raising a family all it took was a few phone call's to start it all over again.
Getting back together with Joe and Rich in mid 2007, finding a Drummer, Keyboard Player
and Lead Vocalist a few years later, paved the way for this teenage rock 'n' roll reunion.
Even though they have been out of touch for so many years, everything fell back into place
after just a few practice sessions. He looks forward to getting out and playing with all of his
talented 'old' and new friends.
Andy Banathy - Keyboards
Back in 1977, the defining point for Andy was buying a Fender Rhodes and Fender Twin amp at age 17
courtesy of his dad to pay off a wager. They had a bet that Andy could not win the Technic Trophy 3
times needed to keep it forever. Now with Rhodes in hand, Andy joined the High School garage rock
band Sabre. This was the start to an epic journey now landing him in Lights Out Chicago.
Andy grew up in Skokie attending Niles West High School. He played Sax and Trumpet for the school
band and studied piano at the renowned Allen Swain Studio in downtown Evanston. Sabre was his first
rock band playing songs from Styx, Zeppelin, Uriah Heap, Foreigner, Doobie Brothers and even UFO. The
band was popular at High School dances especially Niles West.
College years were a different era. Andy latched on to May Raines and the Southern Express country
band. Now he was playing Patsy Cline, Janis Joplin, Reba McEntire, Alabama and David Allen Cole. The
band had moderate success including backup for Marshall Tucker Band at Summer Fest 1984. Then
Andy¹s life took a turn south to Dallas Texas in the mid 80¹s. His employer at the time, Texas
Instruments, formed a big band. Andy got the gig. He immersed himself with great Jazz standards.
During the 90¹s, Andy had some interesting projects with The Chromatics, Sun Flurry, Random Access
and others. However, his playing tapered off at the end of the 90¹s. But back in 2003, Andy returned to
the music scene with the Average Joe Band. He has also worked with other working bands like Twist of
Fate and Mistaken Identity as well as the house Keyboard player at Marks House of Rock in Wheeling.
Andy was back to playing major events and clubs.
It has now come full circle. Andy is again playing the music he first picked up as a teenager. He may not
look the same when he was teenager but deep down the playing and passion is way better now thanks
to the fine musicians of Lights Out Chicago.