A second British Invasion

Local band, 45 RPM, pays tribute to music hits of the 1960s
By Greg Seiter // Photography submitted

The British are coming, the British are coming … to a stage near you. In fact, you may have already seen them.

Okay, for the record, they’re not British, although one of the five members is from England. However, Indianapolis-based 45 RPM is a band that pays tribute to musical hits of the mid-1960s, a period often referred to as the British Invasion. The group, with two members from Indy’s south side, also covers America’s musical response to that cultural phenomenon that occurred a few decades ago.

If you’re thinking of bands like The Beatles, Herman’s Hermits, The Beach Boys, Paul Revere & the Raiders, The Turtles and The Mamas & the Papas, then you’re on the right track.

With 45 RPM, their sound is specific, their look, with period correct clothing, is authentic, and their commitment to sharing music of the ’60s with all age groups is undeniable.

“What makes us different is that we don’t just focus on one band,” said drummer and vocalist Doug Wilson, a south-side resident. “We try to duplicate the records exactly. We don’t play arrangements. When somebody listens to us, we want them to think they dropped a needle on a record.”

Admittedly, some fans of the band may not even know what a record is, but that doesn’t matter to 45 RPM, who are now embarking on their ninth season together.

“It’s amazing how many young people come to our shows and sing along,” Wilson said. “We even get teenagers out there. Our calling card is the music itself. It has stood the test of time.”

Bass guitarist and vocalist Jack Fazio, originally from Chicago, retired from serving as general manager of the AT&T Yellow Pages a few years ago, after working there for more than 20 years. His music-related career was officially launched at the age of 12 when he first played guitar for one of Chicago’s legendary bands, the Ryells.

“That’s the music they were playing back then, and that’s where the concept for this band came from,” Fazio said.

As a group, 45 RPM’s musical flavor is unique, and so is its name.

“We actually brainstormed a bunch of names and realized many that would tie to the British Invasion were already taken,” Wilson said. “As we gave it some more thought, we realized that just about everything we play originally came out on a 45-rpm record.”

Wilson, an Indianapolis native who has never lived more than 15 miles from where he was born, started playing drums while attending Arlington High School.

“I played in a bunch of bands over the years, but nothing to the level that Jack was doing in Chicago,” he said. “I gave up drums in my early 20s and didn’t play for more than 25 years. Finally, I started playing again around 2007.”

Early in his professional career, Wilson worked for Kroger, but he ended up spending 30 years in construction-related sales.

But it wasn’t music that initially brought Wilson and Fazio together.

“We met through our sons who were both playing hockey when they were about eight years old, and after a while, we naturally started talking about music,” Wilson said. “We even had a running gag, saying we were getting the band back together.”

Today, Wilson’s son is the chief of planning for the Indianapolis Fire Department while, and his daughter-in-law serves as principal of St. Roch Catholic School.

Fazio’s son is an industrial waste specialist in Indianapolis while, and his daughter owns a salon in downtown Greenwood called Navy.

Throughout their respective musical careers, and quite appropriately so, Wilson and Fazio have been heavily influenced by musicians from the era they now pay tribute to.

Wilson’s style is molded after the likes of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, Keith Moon of the Who and Ginger Baker, who played drums for the band, Cream.

“I was influenced by Paul McCartney and Chris Squire of Yes,” Fazio said. “Carol Kaye of The Wrecking Crew is another one.”

More than likely, other 45 RPM musicians also developed their respective playing styles while listening to the same or similar groups. Those members include British-born Richard Breedon on lead guitar and vocals, Mik Hedig on keyboards, guitar and vocals and Bill Rumely on lead vocals, guitar, harmonica and percussion.

Aside from their style of play, 45 RPM stands out from other local bands.

“Our newest member is Mik. He’s our youngest ‘old guy’ at 59 years old,” Fazio said.

Others in the group range in age from the mid-60s to the mid-70s.

“I always say that, especially with older music, nothing comes closer to a time machine than hearing a song you heard in high school,” Fazio said. “I was playing these songs when they came out and I’m very fortunate to be able to have this chance. Music is so uplifting to me. It always puts me in a good mood.”

Age is nothing but a number when 45 RPM performs, which can sometimes be close to 40 times in a year.

“We don’t really prospect. The phone is ringing off the hook but there’s definitely a limit at our age as to how many shows we want to play in a year,” Wilson said.

Over the next few months, 45 RPM will perform at the Marion County Fair, the Greenwood Amphitheater, Indianapolis’ Back 9 Golf and Entertainment, the Edinburgh Fall festival, and the Rathskeller Biergarten in Indianapolis, just to name a few.

“I feel so sorry for people who don’t enjoy music like I do,” Wilson said. “It’s hard to put into words where it takes me. I can listen to the same songs over and over again.

“Music is such an important part of my life. It has been since I was nine. I derive so much pleasure out of listening to music I love,” he added. “We get paid to hall stuff to a gig, to set up and to then tear down. Once we’re set up, we play for free.”

More information on 45 RPM can be found on Facebook or YouTube (45rpm60s), or online at 45rpm60s.com