The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

FAT Comes Back

The legendary band returns to Springfield.

As part of the weekly concert series in Springfield's Stern Square, the longtime Pioneer Valley rock band FAT performed last week. At one time their first album (from which the photo above is taken) was a part of nearly everyone in the Valley's record collection, but hard luck and the stubborn stupidity of RCA records conspired to prevent them from ever achieving the success they deserved. Here is the cover of that debut album. has this to say about that album and the band's history:

Extremely accomplished debut by Western Massachusetts band, originally released in the US on RCA (LSP4368). Following the eponymous album's success, the band toured extensively as the opening act for the Allman Brothers. Fat's mix of east coast blues and west coast psychedelia, strongly influenced by Quicksilver Messenger Service et al, could have propelled the band into the big time, but an unfortunate drug bust led RCA to cancel a planned follow-up album, and try as they might, the group were unable to secure another recording contract, although two further albums were released in the late '70s, both of which were produced by ex-Mountain man, Felix Papallardi. Over the years Fat toured with a host of rock luminaries, sharing the stage with, amongst others, Grand Funk Railroad, Little Richard, Bonnie And Delaney, Johnny Winter and Robin Trower, but unfortunately their success as a live band didn't translate into commercial success.

Through most of the 70's they seemed to play all over the Valley. I remember seeing them at the old Paramount (now Hippodrome) and at a Springfield Technical Community College Spring Fling. The late Marc Walker (below) of Pine Point's infamous Walker brothers was a friend of the band.

Despite the failure of FAT, lead singer Peter Newland went on to have a successful career as a producer and songwriter in Nashville. Guitarist Jim Kaminsky stayed around the Valley and had a string of popular local bands. From time to time most of the members reunite for the occasional hometown gig, and such was the case this past week in Stern Square.

Accomplished lensman Jeff Ziff was there, and files this photographic report.

As always, the bikers were in town for the show in full force.

Here Peter Newland, gone notably hairless since his rock days, greets the faithful before the show.

The other band members have also aged a wee bit.

Fortunately musically the band has lost nothing!

In case you've forgotten, today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. The Ben and Jerry's in downtown Amherst had this special offer. (click to enlarge)

Arrgggh! I was too busy today to come into town and take advantage of it.

Finally, with all the stoner stuff I put on this blog, I must thank Bo Burnham for reminding me of my social responsibilities.


Mike Dobbs said... you remember a local/regional band from the early 1970s called Bold? They played at my high school probably in 1971 or '72 and if my failing memory is correct they were described as having emmbers of FAT in them...Help!

Tommy said...

Yes, I think you're right!

Mike Dobbs said...

That's members... embers!

Tim said...

Hey Tom,

I didn't get a chance to go the Fat show this year, but I went last year. They've lost nothing. great as ever. I saw them a million times in the 70's. I think they were my first concert in like 74.' I swear if memory serves, they played at the Civic Center with Kool and the gang and the Souther/Hillman and Furrey Band and at the time I didn't know who the hell they were. I know now that they were former members of the Byrds and Buffalo Spfld. among others. Did you go to that show? I'm not even sure that was the lineup, since it sounds like a bizarre combination but they used to do that back then.

Tommy said...

I didn't go to that show, but I did attend a Neil Young/Steven Stills show at the Civic Center pushing the album "Long May You Run" which was a one-off solo project. I think it was around 1976 or 77.

Barry Wysocki said...

Fat original lineup includes: Peter J. Newland, harp & vocals, Guy Devito, bass, Jim Kaminski, guitar, Michael Benson, guitar and William Benjamin on drums. The Springfield Stearn Square show featured Peter J. Newland, Guy Devito, Jim Kaminski, William Benjamin, Mark Pappas (guitar extraordinaire))and Chet Pasek on drums. May they rock on for twenty more years.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Jeff for posting the videos on youtube and to you , Tom, for posting them here .

Jeff has since added additional video footage of both Fat and Jimmy K doing solos .

I have fond memories of this band from the early 70's - they packed the house back then and are every bit as good today , if not even better .

I wish they had a website or some more info on any upcoming reunion shows or Jim K& Co as a solo act. These guys are phenomenal and still have it .
Darn shame they never made it big cuz they surely deserved a wider audience .

Anonymous said...

The Valley Girls continue to enjoy
FAT. Guy, Jim K. Benjie, PJN are
in our minds, the best in the valley.

Thank you.
See you in November.

Anonymous said...

Guy, Jim K, William, Peter, we all
enjoy your band. (FAT)

Thank you for the memories, past, present, future.

We have all endured a lot in our lives. Your music enables us to
dance, laugh, sing and smile.

Thank you for keeping rock and roll
alive in this happy valley.
Your forever FAN club.

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to Michael Benson?

Kenny B said...

I promoted a Spfld Synmphony Hall Concert Oct. 1971. Fat opened for Seatrain & Paul Butterfield Blues Band. As always, Fat blew the roof off this packed house(3000)I was the MC for Mastermind Productions. The backstage view had me in fear the balconey was gonna crash from people rockin so much. It was one of the best nights for rock/blues anywhere ever. I'd pay a million to re-live that night.
Kenny B

Anonymous said...

to kenny b....i was one of the people rocking that balcony ! I'll never forget that of my best memories of my youth !

Al said...

You can find the Bold album here:

Anonymous said...

I am trying to get in touch with Peter Newland. Does anyone have a contact?

Rick Carter

Rowena said...

How about some kind a of a reunion???
You Please make some suggestions but mine have to do with you , Clean Living , Rush, ummm NrBq, the Valley Bands but in the Worcester area..
Let's all Join in . I'm going to invite you first to Music & Dancing Closed group for Worcester Arts/Music/Dacing girls Lovers & you check it out. Don't delete until you dotake a good trip down memory lane... please. I hope you remember me as well because this will be memorable, promise. Rowena
Awhh I still have to read all the comments, Come to Worcester!!!!

The Ripple Effect said...


Would you happen to have a contact email or number for anyone from Fat?

Please let me know.


Ripple Music

Tom Bell said...

Tom Bell here. We were great friends with Peter and Lolita at one point. He had a fantastic song called "Teardrop Falls". He gave me an unsolicited copy of it when he was playing with the Hall boy and with Tim Baumgartner. The old cassette tape died. It was my favorite song ever (and should have been picked up - I am thinking the Tim Brown band could do it justice to add an old time slow song to their list). I would love another copy if anyone has one! 270-925-1951, again, Tom Bell

Anonymous said...

hello, I found a copy of FAT Footloose Album that is signed by three people the first is Mike Benson which is a member but it is also signed by Richard Brooks and Joe Rudolph date 1981 , where the two other guys previous members? thanks for the help ! G in Springfield MA

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Mark Kessler who played the drums for Fat!