Durham father and son play iconic Toad’s Place

Durham father and son play iconic Toad’s Place



reporter photo

MIDDLEFIELD — A local man lived out a lifelong dream Thursday when he played Toad’s Place in New Haven in a band alongside his son. 

Tom Rowe and his band “Sage” were one of about seven bands to play the iconic venue in a special showing of Wallingford’s Pat Russo Music in-house bands. 

“We rocked it (Thursday) night. It turned out phenomenal,” Rowe said Friday. “We totally crushed it.” 

Rowe played drums and Ben, his 15-year-old son, played guitar. They were joined by their Middlefield neighbor Mike Skelps and 11-year-old Brodie Stach, both on guitar. Pat Russo, co-owner of Pat Russo Music played bass and his wife and co-owner Amity Wahl sang. 

The group played four 80s rock songs, from artists including Tom Petty and Billy Joel.  

 Rowe started learning songs for the set in January. He has been taking drum lessons for about two years, sparked by his son’s desire to learn guitar and newfound free time after retiring. Father and son started taking lessons in 2016 at Pat Russo Music. 

Russo visited the Rowe’s home studio and the band was quickly formed with the objective of playing Toad’s. 

“When he said we were playing Toad’s I was like ‘oh my god, this is like the dream of a lifetime,’” Rowe said. 

Rowe had dreamed of being in a band since he was a teen. But his dream was put aside since he had to work in his family’s wholesale food business. Selling the business and retiring in 2016 gave him the chance to pick up drums again, in his late 50s and as a cancer-survivor.

“You couldn't even play a song in January and now here you are,” Russo told Rowe during their last rehearsal just two days before the show. 

The band was formed just a few months ago for the Toad’s show. The Russo’s joined to help the others..

“This is the only band we've been working with that's a mix of kids and adults,” Wahl said. “It makes this one different and kind of cool.”

Rowe said he and Skelps plan to continue, hopefully with Ben Rowe and some new members. 

His new goals include playing the Durham Fair and putting out an album, maybe doing a tour. 

“Sage is going on forever and ever,” Rowe said. 

bwright@record-journal.com
203-317-2316
Twitter: @baileyfaywright


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