The HubbTones? Who the heck are The HubbTones?


The HubbTones? Who the heck are The HubbTones?

We went to see a band a few months ago. They were playing between two others bands, one we knew and one we’d heard about. Take a gander first at the setlist The HubbTones offered:

[Batuka (Santana) > Oye Como Va (Santana via Tito Puente), Badge (Cream), Lido (Boz Scaggs), Pound for a Brown (Zappa), The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys (Traffic), Nadia (Jeff Beck), Cosmic Debris (Zappa), Stratus (Billy Cobham with Tommy Bolin), Highway Star (Deep Purple), Third Stone from the Sun (Hendrix), City of Tiny Lites (Zappa), Soul Sacrifice (Santana)]

Looks like a cover band, huh? Except that there are some pretty ‘deep cuts’ in there.

The only thing I knew about The HubbTones going in was the only thing I needed to know: Jerry Outlaw was playing guitar. As a Zappa devotee, I have been privileged to see Outlaw perform with his world-renowned Bogus Pomp, a Zappa tribute band, more than a dozen times.


The band he had assembled, The HubbTones, included Bogus Pomp co-founder Rick Olson on keyboards, Bogus Pomp member Pat Buffo on vocals and percussion, Leo Binetti on bass, and drummer Royse Bassham. This band really needs to be heard! I decided to dig deeper; Jerry Outlaw, Rick Olson and Leo Binetti courteously took time to tell me: “What’s the deal?”


Here is a little about me. I came to Florida in 1984 to pursue music. From 1986 to 1990 I was in a few excellent original first-wave Florida metal bands like Messiaxx, Osiris and Blackkout. I met Rick Olson in 1987. In 1990 I joined the Genitorturers and moved to Orlando. I recorded the record 120 Days for IRS/Shock Therapy records with the Genitorturers, and we toured the states with great bands like Life of Agony, Danzig and Sacred Reich.

I quit that band in 1994 and got with Rick to just play some music and find some happiness doing it, because I was unhappy with the sleazy business aspect of rock and roll at the time. Rick and I started talking about Zappa’s music and our mutual admiration for it. We decided to go with the very challenging idea of attempting to play some of this wonderful music, even if we only played it for ourselves. Bogus Pomp started in a very honest, un-contrived way. By luck and synchronicity we met Alex Pasut, and we knew we had something good going. Since then Bogus Pomp has grown and evolved tremendously. Bogus Pomp really has become an institution of musical excellence, and we couldn’t be more proud of what we have done.

Pat Buffo has been in Bogus Pomp from the second year of the band’s existence. He and I were sitting around a couple years ago and asking each other, “How can we do some gigs around here and get paid but not hate the song list?”  We decided to start a band, and I even used a personal joke for the name and it just stuck. The first version of The HubbTones played a house gig for a couple years, and we got really good as a band doing this gig.

After a busy Bogus Pomp summer, we found that The HubbTones no longer had a house gig. Rick and I concentrated on Bogus Pomp for a bit, and, after our 20th Zappaween, we decided Bogus Pomp needed a year off. The opportunity to bring back the HubbTones came when I met bassist Leo Binetti at a local jam night. We played a couple songs together, and I had that feeling that I could play really well with him, so I got his card and stayed in touch. Leo is amazing, and we love having him in the band. After talking with Rick and Pat, we decided to bring in Royce Bassham on drums, and the new HubbTones was complete. We have terrific chemistry together!! 

The HubbTones play the kind of classic rock that really reaches deep into the vault of the ’70s. We have cool originals too. My influences are too numerous to name, but I will name a few sources of happiness and inspiration for me: Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Frank Marino, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Judas Priest, Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin and Deloris Telescope.



Here’s the lowdown from my perspective.

The HubbTones have actually been around since 2010. We put it together specifically as a cover band to play the bar/nightclub circuit. We decided to focus on what we call “deep cut” ’70s era AOR (album-oriented rock) stuff, since that’s what we all grew up on and felt our target audience would most likely dig. These are tunes you don’t often hear but you would certainly remember if you grew up during that time. Songs like “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” and “Do You Feel Like We Do” are just part of our hardwired memories, even if you haven’t heard them in years. In fact, more than once, people would come up and say they were visiting from wherever up north and never expected to hear a band on the beach playing this kind of stuff.

Originally, the HubbTones was myself and Jerry, Pat Buffo on bass and vocals, and Pat’s brother Lou Buffo on drums. Lou is a fantastic drummer, by the way. We played mostly on the beach (Gators, Daiquiri Deck, etc.), as well as Fergs and some other DTSP (downtown St. Pete) places. We also had a house gig every Sunday night for almost two years, at a sticky-floor dive bar call Central Station on Treasure Island. In the summer of 2012, Jerry and I had to go to Europe with Bogus Pomp, and when we got back, the house gig had dried up, and the HubbTones took a hiatus. We continued to focus on the Bogus Pomp stuff (of which Pat Buffo was also a part).

In 2015, Bogus Pomp played its 20th Zappaween concert, and two weeks later, I was diagnosed with advanced stage 4 colon cancer (surprised the fuck out of me). For the next six months, I never even sat at the piano while going through treatment: 20 rounds of chemo. It’s a lot more tolerable than it once was, but it still kicks your ass hard. This last spring, Jerry called me and said he’d met this killer bass player from New York, Leo Binetti, and would I be able to muster the energy to reconstitute The HubbTones, this time with Pat as vocalist, Leo on bass and longtime friend Royse Bassham on drums. Personally, I needed that. So we’ve rewritten the setlist, put a lot more emphasis into details than the typical bar band really needs to, and we’re now putting this thing out there for your dining and dancing pleasure.

As you may know, Jerry and I are the co-founders of Bogus Pomp. I’ve known him since the eighties when we were part of the metal scene that was booming around here. I played bass in a band called Mag Syndrome, and Jerry played in the bands Blackkout and Osiris. Those were fun years, back when Ybor City was dark and scary, and there were lots of mosh pits to rule over. Jerry ended up on the road for quite a while with the Genitorturers, and when he got back, we both found ourselves looking for the next thing to do.

He and I got together one day in August 1994 just to jam and see if anything clicked. It turns out we both had an affinity for Zappa and knew a few tunes between us. At one point, we both thought, hey, what if… what if we put a band together to play Zappa’s music and see what happens? Frank had passed away less than a year earlier, and we both remembered what we were doing when we heard about it. Anyway, this stuff is hard as hell to play, and could we pull it off?

Jerry mentioned it to Bill Templeton, who put a little square-inch blurb about it in Jam Magazine (I believe Bill was managing editor), and almost immediately we were contacted by Alex Pasut, Canadian transplant and bassist. We also recruited Tom McCowan to play drums. On Halloween of 1994, we shared a gig with Deloris Telescope at a little bar on Madeira Beach called Mr Joe’s. We just did a one-hour set, and Ronnie Dee sat in with us as well.

It turns out, so many people showed up, the place started running out of beer, and we decided we may be on to something, but to do Zappa right we needed a horn section and, importantly, mallets. So we put it all together, went through some lineup changes (particularly drummers), and spent the next 22 years immersed in it. We’ve played concerts with the Florida Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic, had Zappa alumni in the band (Ike Willis, Napoleon Murphy Brock), made multiple jaunts to Europe and basically had a blast. Cal Shenkel even did our artwork for us. There’s so much in there I could write a book about it, but that’s it in a nutshell.

I also have another music universe of my own. Since 2003, I’ve had a drone/free rhythm collective called PoOg (the odd capitalization actually has meaning). We’ve recorded a number of albums and played some very strange gigs (gallery openings, house parties, even the Palladium Theatre). I also understand we’ve gotten airplay in eastern Europe and Croatia, where I guess people dig weird improvised music. The core of the collective is myself and free jazz drummer Jim Stewart. We bring in a new cast for each recording, and they are each very different. In fact, Jerry played bass on a PoOg album called Skin Of A Naked Thought. If you’d like to hear that album, as well as our most recent one, Conspiracy of Geography, which features David Pate on woodwinds and North African percussionists, they are at

Also, there is some select Bogus Pomp stuff at

More of my own mainly keyboard-oriented crap is at   



I was born and raised in New York. I started to play trumpet at the age of 7. At 12 I switched to drums after listening to John Bonham for the first time. Started playing professionally (sort of) at 14. I was drawn to the bass at 16 when I saw Rush for the first time; I was hooked. Sold my kit and bought my first bass and amp. From then on there was no stopping me. I exposed my ears to every different bassist that the change in my pocket would allow. From James Jamerson to Duck Dunn, Andy West to Dave LaRue, John Paul Jones to John Entwistle, Jaco to Stanley Clarke, just to name a few. All have influenced me at one time or another.

At 22 I entered Five Towns College in NY and majored in Bass and Composition. I have played with many awesome musicians over the years and have had the pleasure of opening for bands such as Night Ranger, Leslie West, Oteil Burbridge, The Steve Morse Band, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and Joe Bonamassa.

I moved to Bradenton in winter of 2014 for some new opportunities. Here I met and became fast friends with Twinkle Yochim and members of her band Rock Soul Radio (her brother Tony LeClerc, guitarist Lenny Brooks and drummer Benny Puckett). If you ever get a chance, look her up. Phenomenal!! She introduced me to many of her friends (and musicians). After a short stint with a few local bands, I always went with Twinkle to the Mad Beach Mafia jam in Madeira Beach on Sundays to see her perform with them. There I was introduced to Jimmy DeLisi, Terry Helm, John Spinelli, and Johnny Middleton. Johnny would always ask me if I wanted to come up and play some bass. After researching all of them, I realized who I was jamming with, and I felt very honored. Especially since I was asked (no, told! LOL!) that I would be Johnny’s replacement.

One night, Jimmy had another engagement and asked Jerry Outlaw to fill in for him. This was the first time I met him, and he blew me away. I said to him that any time he wanted to get together and maybe put something together to please let me know. About a year passed, and Jerry came to fill in again. He asked me if I would be interested in doing a Zappa thing. “Zappa? Hell, yes, I would love to!!” Little did I know that it would evolve into a resurrection of The HubbTones. These guys are the band I have been searching for a long time. After researching them, I am honored and humbled again. I have found a new home among the friends and musicians here and hope to stay here a very long time!!

Back to that September setlist:

[Batuka (Santana) > Oye Como Va (Santana via Tito Puente), Badge (Cream), Lido (Boz Scaggs), Pound for a Brown (Zappa), The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys (Traffic), Nadia (Jeff Beck), Cosmic Debris (Zappa), Stratus (Billy Cobham with Tommy Bolin), Highway Star (Deep Purple), Third Stone from the Sun (Hendrix), City of Tiny Lites (Zappa), Soul Sacrifice (Santana)]

As a “cover” band, and I use that term loosely, you can either attempt to play the songs note for note (which rarely if ever works out), or you can make them work as living, breathing organisms. That latter is the approach used by The HubbTones.

At the show where they blew my mind and melted my face, they launched with a little-known Santa tune before playing a ‘hit.’ “Badge” is simultaneously one of the most favorite and least covered Cream songs in the canon, and they absolutely killed it. There is no reason to comment on the trio of Zappa tunes, except to attempt to describe my ear-to-ear grin.

“Low Spark” was monstrous, absolutely superb. “Nadia” was the deepest of deep cuts, and Outlaw can do any and everybody. He proved that on “Stratus,” a tune I have seen attempted elsewhere — with two great guitar players. Outlaw nailed it. Buffo was so good on lead vocals, especially on “Highway Star.” Outlaw doing Hendrix. Naturally! And the “Soul Sacrifice” brought down the house.

Whether you are a child of the ’70s or just know that music up and down, in and out, you owe it to yourself to check out this outrageous collective.

You can thank me later.


12/02  Daiquiri Shack | St. Petersburg

12/13  Sam Ash (clinic) | Sarasota

12/18  on WMNF’s The Colors of Jazz: The Frank Zappa Birthday Bash

12/27  Skipper’s Smokehouse | Tampa

The gig at Skipper’s is a new once-a-month gig called Old School Tuesdays sponsored by The Dream Clinic and WMNF 88.5.



'The HubbTones? Who the heck are The HubbTones?' has 1 comment

  1. December 1, 2016 @ 3:30 pm Tie Your Shoes Reviews / Don’t tell me you’ve got nothing to do!

    […] out my feature on this incredible quintet, redefining the term ‘cover […]


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