Veteran Virtuosity



In many ways, NRBQ is something of an institution. While the "Q" has changed from Quintet to Quartet and the (R)hythm and (B)lues aren't exactly (N)ew after 30 years of playing bars, clubs and festivals, nobody plays good-time rock 'n' roll like NRBQ, — nobody. Led by the zany-yet-inscrutable keyboard genius of Terry Adams, NRBQ has relentlessly explored the history of American music with wisdom, irony and enthusiasm. While I personally miss Al Anderson's razor-sharp guitar licks and raucous vocal bellow, guitarist Johnny Spampinato has slipped into his predecessor's role quite nicely. Along with brother Joey Spampinato's slippery bass and Tom Ardolino's steady rolling drum theatrics, the NRBQ hopscotches from barrelhouse blues to fractured pop tunes to greasy roots-rock of the highest order. On the song "CM Pups," Terry Adams shows off his absurdist wordplay as well as some jazzy, Monk-styled pianoisms. "Blame It on the World" features the Spampinatos crooning with loungelike devotion while Terry Adams' "I Want My Mommy" is both humorous and affected. Since the band's emphasis has always been on rollicking ensemble playing, tasty little solos and songs with silly or sappy lyrics, there aren't any surprises here — just lots of good music.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.