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Rekindling the Del Fuegos

The Del Fuegos, in the early 80s
The Del Fuegos, in the early 80s

Boston-based band the Del Fuegos put out three critically- acclaimed albums, and had hits with the tracks “Don’t Run Wild” and “I Still Want You” in the 1980s.  Declining commercial success and in-fighting caused the original line-up to implode by the end of the decade. Now, the four original members have reunited for a short stint of dates to rekindle the fire, despite very successful careers after their band’s heyday.  Singer and guitarist Dan Zanes is a Grammy-winning children’s music artist, his brother, guitarist Warren Zanes became a professor and executive director at the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, bassist Tom Lloyd became an investment analyst, and drummer Woody Glessman started a renowned addiction treatment program.

Dan Zanes says they’re playing together again just for the fun of it. And he explains why the Del Fuegos decided to end the tour right here in Concord this Sunday at the Capitol Center for the Arts.

You’re a New Hampshire native?

I grew up in Concord. That’s where we had our first gig, at the Hawaiian Isle II. We were booked for the whole weekend and they fired us after two sets on the first night.

For what reason?

We cleared the room. We were pretty rotten. I don’t blame them.

What’s it like being on stage playing music you made 25 or more years ago? Do you feel like you did back then at all?

I don’t. I had no adult responsibilities at all back when we were making this music. Now I have a rich exciting grown up life. So it’s totally different. But it’s fun to hop in the way back machine and play some primal music for awhile.

There are a few interesting stories of the Del Fuegos in the Boston music scene back in the 80’s… any tales you care to tell?

Not really, no (laughs). I mean, we were appreciating the rock n’ roll life style like anybody in their early 20’s would do, I think, and just glad to be able to travel around and see the country, and go over to Europe,… we made records out in Hollywood… we definitely got to live the rock n’ roll dream that so many other people we knew had. In the end, the lifestyle became more important than the song writing. That’s when it all began to unravel. But when it was fun, it was really fun.

It’s unusual that all four members have gone on to have very successful careers. No one was waiting around in their parent’s basement pining for the good ole days, were they?

Absolutely not. Everybody’s success in life has been much greater than the Del Fuegos. So for us, this is really just a way for us to hang out with each other and reconnect with our fans. Then we go back to some really exciting day jobs.

Back in the day, the relationship between you and your brother was legendary- it caused a lot of tension in the band. How has it been now that you’re back on stage together?

Totally comfortable. We have a great relationship these days… you know, there’s nothing at stake. So we’re trying to do things differently and I’m trying to be more equitable about it all as far as the song writing goes. We all have so many other things to talk about and think about, and it’s just nice that there’s no pressure whatsoever on the Del Fuegos to be anything other than total enjoyment.

How important was it to make some new music before you went back up on stage together?

For me it was important because I wanted to do something that included my brother’s songs… certainly that’s not the focus when we go out to play, we’re really there to play the old songs that people know and love… but it’s nice to have some new music for people that want it.

How did you decide what would be in the set list?

… hits and covers and a couple of new songs. It was pretty easy… we did a Bo Diddley song last night, a Rufus Thomas song… old R & B for the most part. The stuff we always loved to play. We really did think we were an R & B band.

So why wrap up the tour in Concord?

Well, because that’s where we started. Full circle… couldn’t ask for a better way to do it.

For many radio listeners throughout New Hampshire, Rick Ganley is the first voice they hear each weekday morning, bringing them up to speed on news developments overnight and starting their day off with the latest information.
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