The current singer for Blood Sweat and Tears may look familiar to fans of reality TV. He is Bo Bice, who was the runner-up on “American Idol” in 2005 and sang the BS&T hit “Spinning Wheel” as part of his work on the show.
Word of that performance got back to Bobby Colomby, original BS&T drummer, quite a few years later.
“Many of my more musically knowledgeable buddies suggested that I ask Bo to join the band,” Colomby said on the official Blood Sweat and Tears website. “I’m pleased to say that that’s exactly what happened, and by the reaction of audiences worldwide, it was a great match. The fans’ reaction is that Bo is one of the best singers BS&T has ever had”
Bice leads BS&T on tour now, and the group will play Nov. 25 at the Boomtown Casino Hotel. Colomby is musical director for Blood Sweat and Tears and doesn’t play with the band. Instead, the group includes a second musical director, Brad Mason, on trumpet; Ken Gioffre on sax and flute; Dylan Elise on drums; Glen McClelland on keyboards, Ric Fierabracci on bass and Dillon Kondor on guitar.
As this lineup attests, the group continues to blend genres with a horn section blasting out funk, jazz, soul and rock grooves.
“Blood Sweat and Tears was born from a selfish notion that we could combine the sophistication and musical skill level of jazz music with the energy and universal appeal of rock vocal music,” Colomby said on the band’s website.
Critical, commercial success
Put together by and featuring keyboardist Al Kooper, known for his work with Bob Dylan, the band’s first album, “Child is Father to the Man,” was released in 1968. It was a critical but not commercial success and Kooper was out of the group soon afterward.
The band’s commercial fortunes rose when singer David Clayton-Thomas joined the group that same year. The band’s self-titled second effort ended up selling 4 million copies and was named the 1970 Grammy Awards’ Album of the Year. Among the record’s hits are “Spinning Wheel,” “And When I Die” and “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy.” All three hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The band continued to have hits for the next few years, including “Hi-De-Ho,” “Lucretia Mac Evil,” “So Long Dixie” and “Tell Me That I’m Wrong.”
Splitting in 1981, BS&T reformed on-and-off throughout the decades with various lead vocalist and members in the dozens.
Even though the group hasn’t recorded a new album in decades, Colomby said that the goal of the new BS&T is for people of all ages to experience the band, not just as a nostalgia act.
“I no longer want to target just one generation,” he said on the band’s website. “That would be a mistake. With this updated version, I want this band to gain recognition with a wider audience.”