NEPA Scene Staff

Original Badlees lineup reunites for sold-out concert at The Englewood near Hershey on March 5

Original Badlees lineup reunites for sold-out concert at The Englewood near Hershey on March 5
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Less than 24 hours after tickets went on sale, The Badlees’ next reunion show is sold out.

On July 1, the Selinsgrove roots rock band played a few songs together to celebrate their induction into the Central Pennsylvania Music Hall of Fame with several other area artists like Halestorm. They followed this up with their first full set with their entire lineup in eight years at the inaugural Pittston Prohibition event in September.

Yesterday, the CPMHOF announced that the original five members – Pete Palladino (vocals), Bret Alexander (guitar), Paul Smith (bass), Jeff Feltenberger (guitar), and Ron Simasek (drums) – would reunite again at The Englewood (1219 Research Blvd., Hummelstown) near Hershey on Saturday, March 5 to celebrate the group’s induction into the class of 2021. Tickets, which are $25, sold out in just under a day.

The organization noted that, in the 1990s, the band “served as the heartbeat of roots rock” for Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania with influential music, national hit singles, and their work with fellow local artists. This elevated status has clearly never dwindled in the region.

The Badlees created and performed original rock music since 1990. Pete Palladino, Bret Alexander, Paul Smith, Jeff Feltenberger, and Ron Simasek joined forces decades ago after a few happenstance introductions that, some would say, were driven by destiny. In 2009, guitarist Dustin Drevitch and violinist Nyke Van Wyk joined the band. Individually, the members are very different on many levels, each coming to the table with unique personalities and musical influences. However, these differences are why The Badlees worked in the first place and survived ups and downs in the ever-changing music industry, releasing several independent albums and achieving national success with their 1995 album “River Songs.”

“River Songs” was released on their indie label Rite-Off Records and sold over 10,000 units before being picked up by national label Polydor/Atlas. The album was re-released across the country in October of 1995 and spawned three national hits – “Fear of Falling,” “Angeline Is Coming Home,” and “Gwendolyn.”

In 1998, after recording a follow-up album, Polydor/Atlas was sold to the Seagram Corporation, which delayed the release of the album and eventually led to The Badlees being dropped from the roster. They continued to perform and produce albums independently, ignoring trends and making great music regardless of what was in vogue at the time. Wrapping complex, thought-provoking lyrics in the rock band format was The Badlees’ secret sauce, garnering radio hits, critical acclaim, and a fervent fan base.

In 2013, they released their 10th studio album, “Epiphones and Empty Rooms,” a double-disc release highlighting the band’s complex duality. In 2014, Alexander and Smith left the band and the remaining members played The Badlees’ final shows with special guests.

Despite their differences, The Badlees and its individual members have inspired, mentored, advised, produced, and performed with many artists throughout the Pennsylvania music scene, cementing their legacy for generations to come.

Photo by Rich Howells/NEPA Scene