NEPA Scene Staff

Reunited rockers The Badlees play record release show at F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on Dec. 23

Reunited rockers The Badlees play record release show at F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on Dec. 23
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From a press release:

Today, downtown Wilkes-Barre venues Karl Hall and the F.M. Kirby Center announced that they will present The Badlees’ record release party at the Kirby Center on Friday, Dec. 23.

The recently reunited Selinsgrove roots rock band is set to release their first collection of new original material in nine years. They will share the main stage with West Pittston indie rockers Joe Burke & Co. and Wilkes-Barre blues rock trio Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen, who will open the show as special guests. Burke will also be celebrating his own record release that evening.

Doors at the F.M. Kirby Center (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre) open at 6:30 p.m., and the music starts at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets, which are $29 and $39, plus applicable fees, go on sale this Friday, Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. at the Kirby Center box office, online at and, and by phone at 570-826-1100. A Kirby Member pre-sale begins Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 10 a.m.

Last year, The Badlees got back together to play a few songs at 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 just a few months later and have been selling out reunion shows ever since.

In November, the group will perform their entire 1992 record “Diamonds in the Coal” in Northumberland and re-release a fully remixed and remastered version to celebrate their debut full-length album’s 30th anniversary.

The CPMHOF 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 (vocals), Bret Alexander (guitar), Paul Smith (bass), Jeff Feltenberger (guitar), and Ron Simasek (drums) 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 while touring with top-notch artists like Greg Allman, Bob Seger, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant.

Since 1999, the group has taken several extended breaks but continued to come back to perform and produce great material independently. 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 past differences, The Badlees and its individual members have inspired, mentored, advised, produced, and performed with scores of artists throughout the Pennsylvania music scene, cementing their legacy for generations to come.

Photo by Rich Howells/NEPA Scene