Wiggy Bits is the mid 70’s NYC band that spawned future AOR legends Balance and Aviator.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Wiggy Bits
ALBUM: Wiggy Bits
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Peppy Castro – vocals * Rich Cerniglia – guitars * Mike Maniscalco – keyboards * D Santiago – bass * Mike Ricciardella – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Feel Free To Ride The Wind * 02 Oh Captain * 03 Lies * 04 Ellie * 05 Place In The Sun * 06 Wiggy * 07 Love Track * 08 Alone Again * 09 Bad Situation * 10 I’ll Write You Off
Long Island, New York based outfit, starting out at the infancy of the US hard rock/AOR scene during the mid-70’s. Most of these guys are better known for future bands they would eventually join (Balance, Network and Aviator), but the seed was laid with earlier bands they were associated with (i.e. The Illusion, Barnaby Bye), and this one-off album band Wiggy Bits.
From 1976, we are reminded that it was about this time that the AOR scene was about to take off. Sure, bands like Aerosmith, Kiss, Alice Cooper and Grand Funk Railroad were keeping it alive for the US of A, but just around the corner, the true godfathers of the ‘pinky and fluffy’ brigade were just about to make their presence felt, in the shape of Boston.
Other bands which were there or thereabouts had more of a progressive leaning to their music. Bands such as Kansas, Styx, Journey, and to a lesser degree Angel all came from this pedigree.nThere is no such reminder with Wiggy Bits however. Their sound is distinctly their own for that era, though I’m sure some of those aforementioned bands might just get an acknowledgement.
The band open out with ‘Free To Ride The Wind’, a track which ably demonstrates their sharp style of hard Rock. ‘Oh Captain’ which follows next, is a southern styled blast straight out of the Molly Hatchet school of three-parts guitar riffarama.
Perhaps though, it is closer in style to that excellent one-off release by Freddie Salem ‘Cat Dance’. ‘Ellie’, which was the bands first choice single, is the closest thing to AOR on this record, but the ever-present lead guitar from Cerniglia keeps things heavy.
‘Place In The Sun’ takes on a funky vibe, more in the rhythm section, though the song has hard-rock elements mainly; the bridge and solo sections bear this out.
Side two opens with a one-minute instrumental called (funnily enough) ‘Wiggy’.. it segues into the best track on the album: ‘Love Track’, which features an array of synthesizer effects before taking a leaf out of the Balance book of song construction, complete with sharp incisive riffs and some fiery lead guitar work from that man Cerniglia again.
‘Alone Again’ starts out unconvincingly, sort of/nearly mid-70’s mush, thankfully saved by Richie’s lead work once again. ‘Bad Situation’ is another funk-rocker; more rock than funk me thinks, but the closing track ‘I’ll Write You Off’ is perhaps the next best track, and is a real belter! The rhythm section providing a thick bottom-end.. double kick drums included.
A short-lived affair, the members of Wiggy Bits would all go off onto different things. Read more on the likes of Balance, Aviator and Network elsewhere here at Glory Daze.
Full Album (Select Tracks)
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