The Infernos

America's #1 Showband Plays Tribute

The vastly-experienced Infernos have just begun an already-successful summer tour, playing their uplifting, fun music to crowds throughout New Jersey. Their purpose is to divert attention from the September 11th tragedy.

"For four years in a row, the band has played for the Recreation and Parks department of New Jersey," said vocalist Kenneth Simmons, formerly of the three-time Grammy-winning Commodores, "But never on such a large scale as this. The concerts are geared to entertain from one spectrum to another, we want you on your feet the entire time."

The group is comprised of music veterans. It features Simmons and Bobby Wells, former musical director of the Duprees and others groups, on vocals. "This is my first year with the band," said Simmons. "And since I was asked to join, Bobby Wells and I have built the group into an entertainment force."

Simmons spent eight years with the Commodores and also was in the Atlantic Record's group, Quadrant 6. "We were like the Godfathers of hip-hop and rap," he said. His new band mixes it all, he added, "The Infernos is a healthy combination of big band, pop, hip-hop and Sinatra." Simmons' time with the Commodores isn't the only famous story behind the band. Wells, the group's founder and leader, was the Duprees' musical director at age 21. His dream was to form a band that could rise to international popularity, said Simmons of his band mate.

Their diverse talent allows them to perform an unlimited musical range, covering songs like "New York, New York," and "I Hope You Dance," as well as original songs, like "Gotta Get This Groove On."

The Infernos' early shows on this tour, which is sponsored by the New Jersey Parks and Recreation Department, have already drawn large crowds. Their first date, in Dover, NJ, saw 2,500 people, while the second, in North Arlington, brought out 2,000. "We will be performing in 20 major cities in the greater New Jersey area and performing late into September 2002," said Simmons.

The band's recent release, "The Millennium Project," pays tribute to our country and those lost in the tragedy of September 11. The album includes the aforementioned Sinatra tribute to New York, as well as adopted American anthems such as "America the Beautiful" and Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA."

They cover songs with precision, but still manage to stamp them with their own signature. This is done with nuances created by their horn section and a top-notch vocal cast, which includes U.K. Dance recording artist Ellen Sara Parker. Parker beautifully interprets these tributes to America, with a supporting cast adding meaning to these poignant compositions.

While many of their songs are inspirational in their own right, the group does not shy away from having fun. Exemplified in their previous CD, "Gotta Get This Groove On," and their latest release, "What Can You Do For Me?," the Infernos look to carry a mix of bounce and meaning in their music and bring it out to crowds throughout the state.

"The focus of the tour is to get folks out of their houses and begin to enjoy life again," said Simmons. "We don't want to admit it, but September 11th has taken a toll on the way we live our lives." The band will try to get people out of their normal routine and out to their shows, where they can forget about the September 11th tragedy.

"Polls have been taken with the result that most New Jersey residents go to the store, make it over to Blockbuster and head back home again," said Simmons. "The state has hired us to remind the people of New Jersey that we will not bow to terrorists. We are Americans and we will live our lives like Americans. Our job is to bring the folks out and give them one of the best entertainment shows they have ever seen. We come to rock the house."

The band expects large and diverse crowds to see their shows. "All age groups," said Simmons. "Men and women of all races and children of all ages. It's a family show with something for everybody. By the time the concerts ends in late September it [has] now been estimated we will have performed for over 85,000 people."

For Simmons, when the tour ends, the musical projects won't. He will start producing a girl hip-hop group and finish commercials cut by the Infernos for Quick Check. He will also continue promoting "What Can You Do for Me?"

He and Wells also want to tell the Governor about their legislative ideas for supporting musicians. "Bobby and I have also gone after Governor McGreevey with a proposed bill to give out state grants to [subsidize] incomes of struggling artists and musicians throughout the state. It will be called the Wells and Simmons Future of New Jersey Arts Proposition."

But first, it's bringing sprit back to the state. "Yeah, we got a few things going on, when the smoke clears," said Simmons. "Just keeping it real, keeping it real."

Tour updates can be found at their website A direct link to their show dates can be found at:

Josh Davidson

Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.