[to top of second column]
The former Seasons have remained active in music, as well. Shapiro has worked as a producer and arranger and reaped a financial windfall by creating the "Rock 'n' Roll Elmo" toy in the late '90s; Ciccone toured with Tommy James and the Shondells and has recorded and produced. Polci has been a full-time music teacher in New Jersey since the mid-'90s after writing music for TV in California.
When they met in 1973, they were three authentic Jersey Boys barely out of their teens, and the Four Seasons were deep in debt and hadn't had a chart hit in several years. Along with Valli and songwriter Bob Gaudio, they successfully transformed the group's sound from doo-wop-influenced '60s pop to '70s disco with songs like "Swearin' To God," ''Who Loves You" and "December 1963."
"The '70s got them out of debt and made their business viable," Polci said.
The current band's set list features the gamut of Four Seasons hits dating back to 1962's "Sherry," as well as songs by other artists the members of the group have performed with. Each song is prefaced by a personal reminiscence.
"Every song has a setup, a backstory and a personal experience that somebody in the band had with the artist or the song," Gates said. "People love that, because they feel like they're getting a glimpse behind the scenes."
For the musicians, touring is a different animal this time around. The inevitable glitches are taken in stride: At one show, the power onstage went out, so the group finished the set a cappella, to a standing ovation.
"Back then, you really couldn't appreciate it," Shapiro said. "You're a young, cocky kid and it's like, 'Hey, here I am, I've arrived,' and you start to feel a little entitlement. Now, nobody's saying, 'Hey, Russ is singing two songs in the first half and I'm not,' or 'the light wasn't on me.'
"It's like we have all the magical, cool parts of it and none of the BS."
The Hit Men:
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Top Stories index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor