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Photo by Dante Fontana
There is one thing the Andy Griffith Show of the ’60s does for “baby boomers” – it gives them a warm sense of nostalgia.
Some of the approximately 80-million individuals born post World War II, between 1946 and 1964, long for a simpler, less technically advanced time. They love to remember when Sheriff Andy Taylor sat on his Mayberry porch and enjoyed a quiet evening strumming his guitar, sipping cold lemonade with Aunt Bee and Opie by his side.
“We love front porch acoustic music,” John Buza of the band Ant Bee says. “That’s why we chose our name…to honor the Andy Griffith Show.” Buza, along with the core group of Ant Bee, know their demographic is boomers. “Our music and style really doesn’t play well to the high school set,” he adds. The group readily admits their best audiences are aging boomers and old hippies. “The music is better with the volume lower,” Buza shares. Low, however, does not mean slow or boring; this group knows how to rock and roll.
There are four regular members of the group: Buza jams on lead rhythm guitar, Steve Stizzo handles the keyboard, Dan Navarro plays rhythm guitar and Greg Gerardi is lead/solo guitar. With the exception of Stizzo, they all do vocals. “You really don’t want to hear me,” Stizzo jokes. There are 10 people with other instrumental talents who join the band on occasion. However, harmonica and bagpipe players won’t be making any appearances.
While Ant Bee’s music is fun for everyone, boomers flock to hear this band. “We play for those people that grew up listening to music in the ’60s and ’70s,” Stizzo admits. Their performances are designed so you can sit back and sing along to every song – from the classic Beatles and Neil Young to vintage-country favorites like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. “We last rehearsed 30 years ago,” Buza says. “Nothing has come out that we want to play since then,” Navarro adds.
The band members, all long-time Roseville residents, have been friends for decades and have been performing as Ant Bee for nearly as long. Although they play great music and give their audiences a wonderful, rockin‘ good time, the band doesn’t perform full-time. Everyone has “day jobs” outside the music industry, except for Stizzo, who performs regularly with the popular group Mumbo Gumbo.
Although the group does not have regularly scheduled performances, they can be found playing at The Trocadero Club in Historic Roseville, on the patio at Pete’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in Granite Bay’s Quarry Ponds, and at David Girard Winery in Placerville. The band also loves performing at private parties, festivals and in small venues.
For more information, visit facebook.com/pages/Ant-Bee-Band/326842368953.