Earlier this year we were dismayed to learn from Liza Vittek that David Vittek, her dad, had passed away. He was just 66.
Vittek, the bassist, a guitarist and part-time drummer for Holy Moses, left us on February 25. Billy Batson, his old band mate, said recently that David was the“glue” that held the band together. He was the first one to arrive at a gig. He set up all the gear, plugged all the electrical lines in and made sure all the cables were properly taped on the stage. In addition, he made sure everyone arrived on time, and had everything they needed for their performance.
Mike Esposito, formerly of the Blues Magoos, co-produced the band’s only album, Holy Moses!! with Kim King. Esposito says that “David was a stabilizing force in an unusually unstable band.” He recalls that David had a “great sense of humor and was a wonderful human being.”
Batson noted that Vittek had a “magnificent voice, and that he sang lead on ‘There’s No Turnin’ Back.’” He also taught himself to play “old time fiddle.” Esposito said that David taught him, and the band, “ a lot about country music forms.” Batson says that the band planned to become more of a “classic country” group and incorporate David’s fiddle playing and more of his singing ability on upcoming albums. Sadly, this never happened. Soon after the release of their self-titled Holy Moses!! album the group broke apart. Vittek never recovered. Billy calls David one of “my oldest and dearest lifetime friends…a brother in mind and spirit. I love him and miss him.” David leaves behind a son, Patrick Vittek.
From the August 13, 2009 issue of The New York Times:
“WOODSTOCK, N.Y. Before Woodstock, from 1967 to 1969 there were small-scale, noncommercial musical festivals in the woods called Sound Outs that helped the promoter Michael Lang come up with the idea of the Woodstock Festival. The main observances of the anniversary are in Bethel, but Woodstock’s version of Woodstock at 40 is a concert on Saturday billed as a celebration of the Sound Outs. Performers will include Mr. [Michael] Esposito and the reunited Blues Magoos.” To read the entire article click here.
Last summer the Blues Magoos staged a comeback, opening for the Zombies at The Fillmore, Irving Plaza, New York City. Current band members include Mike Ciliberto, Jeff Daking, Ralph Scala, Peter Stuart and Emil “Peppy” Theilhelm. The group is best known for its hit “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet,” which charted at #5 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1967. The Magoos appeared at a Woodstock Sound-Out in 1968, where—according to Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival—the group was paid the going rate of $50 for the gig.
The Magoos will headline at the Roots of Woodstock Live Concert on August 15, and are scheduled to hit the stage at 11:15 pm. It will be something of a reunion as Ellen McIlwaine and Jerry Moore (with The Children of God), fellow Sound-Out vets, are also scheduled to play that night.
The Blues Magoos are recording new material for Wicked Cool Records, Little Steven’s label. The latter is a big fan. The group is scheduled to appear at a Spanish music festival in the fall.