Gary Mezzi is a revered local rocker whose band Gone Native filled a much-needed gap in the early ‘90s New Haven local music scene by providing a rockabilly alternative. Gone Native evolved into the very popular local rock & roll act Big Bad Johns. He wrote some very funny and very catchy songs, the sort that are noticeable by their absence in the precious, self-obsessed present-day music scene.
You might not know him as Gary Mezzi, however. Onstage, he went by the rock moniker Buzz Gordo.
Gary works as a school librarian. Plus he’s got kids. Which helps explain the circumstances of his solo show tonight (Monday, August 6). Gary’s playing the Picnic & Performance series at 7 p.m. at the North Haven Public Library. As Buzz Gordo.
Gary’s always had an endearing, goofy, entertaining style. He digs sounds which kids dig—roots, country & western, shouty. A few Gone Native and Big Bad Johns numbers, in retrospect, seem family-friendly: “Where’s Waldo?,” “Jump Up on It,” “Groovy Girl,” or the rockin’ guitar arrangement of the Vince Guaraldi jazz piano standard “Lucy & Linus” from A Charlie Brown Christmas. (“Bar I Call Home,” “Too Drunk (to Miss You),” “Hot Rods to Hell” and some of the Beat Farmers covers they did, not so much.
The way seems a natural as a children’s entertainer.
If they let small children into roadhouses and biker bars, the Big Bad Johns would’ve been even more popular than they were.
I contacted Gary to see get his take on the latest Buzz. He responded:
"Many of Buzz Gordo’s fans from his days as guitarist/songwriter for Big Bad Johns are now raising their own broods of little rockabillies. If they want to bring the young’uns to a kids' show that rocks, we suggest stopping by the North Haven Memorial Library (where Gordo, aka Gary Mezzi, is a former children’s librarian) on Monday, 8/6, 7 PM. He and New Haven’s hardest working drummer, Tom Smith, will be playing an eclectic set of original kids songs as well as some American folk music, rock ’n’ roll and calypso, curated with the coolest of taste."
Tom Smith? Drummer for The Cobalt Rhythm Kings, The Hickups, The Bandidos, Dr. Ya Ya’s Gumbo Party, and several other roots-rock and R&B outfits. He’s also a published historian, author of the entrancing non-fiction opus The Crescent City Lynchings: The Murder of Chief Hennessy the New Orleans “Mafia” Trials and The Parish Prison Mob.
A rock duo who both have library cred. File them somewhere in the 700s. That’s Dewey decimal classification for “Arts & Recreation.”