Billy McGuigan Quenches Your Thirst For Live Classic Rock

Kait Richmond

In any area of downtown Waterbury, about a half-hour drive from UNH, the genres of music you’ll hear are typically rap or pop. But, this past June, Billy McGuigan shook things up at the Seven Angels Theater by playing what so many of us have been waiting for – good old rock ‘n roll.

The show, Rock Legends, played to CT crowds of all ages from June 5, 2009 to the June 21, 2009 and it was a little different each night. The audience chose from a list of their two favorite rockstars, and the top four had a set dedicated to them during the performance. My show consisted of Elvis, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, and Elton John. There are videos scattered around YouTube, though, of sets for others, like Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones.

Everything was put together by Billy McGuigan, a Nevada native who is best known as America’s “Preferred Buddy Holly.” (McGuigan played Holly in over 375 performances of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story) In addition to creating the show, McGuigan plays guitar and is the lead vocalist. He is supported by an exceptional band: Steve Gomez on bass; Keefer Peterson on the keyboard; Darren Pettit on the saxophone and keyboard; Tomm Roland on percussion; and Ben Zinn on lead guitar. Together, these six guys have outstanding musical chemistry and can reproduce classics that sound identical to the originals, yet have a modern twist.

McGuigan is a top-notch entertainer. Not only is he an amazing musician, he is also hilariously clever in everything he says. Between the spot-on performances of classics like “That’s All Right, Mama” and “Hound Dog,” McGuigan joked that his Elvis impression sounds more like George Bush. (“Afghanistan…mama!”)

The band blushes with the audience several times; McGuigan’s intro to “Maybe I’m Amazed” is, “My father told me I was conceived to this song.” He goes on later to talk about how much he idolizes Sir Paul McCartney, but that he doesn’t want to meet him because he would most likely throw up, or wet himself. As if performing McCartney classics isn’t tribute enough, McGuigan has a five year-old daughter named Cartney.

Next year, McGuigan will be touring with his newest show, Yesterday and Today. This will be a complete tribute to the Beatles, and their fans, since it will be interactive. Audience members can request their favorite Beatles songs and will even be able to share personal stories about the fab four. Like Rock Legends, each show will be unique, and a special experience for any Beatles die-hard.

I really cannot give Billy McGuigan and his band the praise they deserve, so head over to for more information, including a gallery and tour dates. We may have been born too late to experience many of our rock icons, but McGuigan certainly makes up for it.