Tom Ardolino (NRBQ) dies

On January 6, 2012, NRBQ Headquarters posted on Facebook: “We regret to inform you that Tom Ardolino passed away today. Tom will be missed but his spirit lives on through those who were touched by him.”

Tom Ardolino (born January 12, 1955) was a rock drummer best known as a member of NRBQ. Ardolino was initially a fan of the band, and began corresponding and trading tapes with keyboardist and co-founder Terry Adams. On one occasion, original NRBQ drummer Tom Staley did not feel up to returning for an encore, so Adams invited Ardolino to fill in. He performed well enough that when Staley decided to leave the band in 1974, his bandmates agreed that Ardolino was the natural choice as his successor.

Ardolino remained in the lineup until the band went on hiatus in 2004, returning for occasional reunion performances, and lending his support when Adams decided to reclaim the NRBQ name for his new band in 2011. While lead vocals were generally performed by other members of NRBQ, live shows often included a moment where Ardolino would come forward, take the spotlight, and sing, either with a karaoke backing track or with one of the other band members drumming.

Tom Ardolino’s solo album “Unknown Brain” was released by Bumble Bee Records, Japan, on CD in 2004 and in the USA on Mystra Records on vinyl LP, it consists mostly of basement recordings made in 1971-72. The cover states “WARNING: If out-of-tuneness bothers you, do not listen.”

Ardolino was also an avid collector of song poems, having contributed to the “MSR Madness” series of compilations.