Back in the earliest days of rock and roll, when R&B truly started, a hit record was known within the music industry as hot wax. Song pluggers used the term in promoting singles to radio, publishers and artists. Whenever they felt they had a surefire hit, they said “we got hot wax.” Now, in paying tribute to the R&B, soul and pop sounds of the early rock era, Hot Wax was named after the quality of the songs they play live.
Formed a couple of years ago by guitarist Anthony Steele and keyboardist Joey D, Hot Wax began as a bunch of talented musicians hanging out together and jamming. Steele, who started his career in heavy metal bands in NY and LA, went back to NY after a stint in Los Angeles and decided to focus on his first love – the blues. Working with guys like Bobby Charles, Buddy Miles, Bobby Caldwell and John Ford, Anthony was in heaven. “There were times I’d be up on stage or in the studio with one of these guys thinking that my dreams were all coming true.” Meanwhile, partner, Joey D (Joe D’Ambrosi) worked as musical director for a 12 piece band with a 120 voice choir before sharing the stage with artists such as Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Foreigner, Don Henley, Ric Ocasek and Carly Simon among others. The two guys worked all the time doing sessions and touring with other artists, and could easily have made lifelong careers in music out of their work as sidemen.
Bigger plans began when Joe and Anthony thought it might be fun to put some guys together for a one-time party and play all the old hits they all loved. Explains Joe, “we asked some other guys we knew - drummer Don Moffatt who has played with everyone from Mary Wilson to Delaney Bramlett and Freddy Scott and bassist Rob Jack who has played and recorded with local bands and international acts since he was 17 - if they wanted to play with us one night. One night turned into occasional jamming and the next thing you know, we’re booking gigs.” Anthony adds, “Joe and I picked the players we did to work with us because everyone in this band is a real musician who can play just about anything. If you’re going to do covers of some of the biggest hits ever, you better have people who can do it note for note or it’s going to bomb.” The group was rounded out when Anthony was playing on a session and heard a local singer named Nancy B. Nancy had put her musical dreams aside for a number of years in order to raise her kids, but had recently started singing again. “She was beautiful, but more than that, when she sang I was knocked out with her voice.” Anthony invited Nancy to come jam with the guys, and she has been a member of the band ever since. At first, they figured they would keep things simple and only for fun, playing the occasional gig in the local area. However, over the past couple of years, the band, which worked under the name Rocket Science before changing it to Hot Wax, has built up a loyal following as well as a powerful presentation and has started to take the project a lot more seriously.
Playing the music of the 1960’s and 1970’s, all the R&B, soul and dance hits of that era, Hot Wax appeals to a broad audience not only of people who grew up at that time, but younger fans as well. “This music is timeless,” said D’Ambrosi, “the fact that we play all hits ensures that the audience is hearing their favorite songs, one after the other.” The band’s obvious musical talent, including the addition of the horn players to keep their versions of the music real and complete, along with Nancy’s powerful vocals come together to make Hot Wax the next best thing to seeing the original artists in person. “Since many of these artists no longer tour,” insists Anthony, “I believe that we fill a huge gap for a lot of people who grew up loving this music.” In a short time, Hot Wax has become a popular attraction on Long Island. Now, they are ready to put the show on the road.