By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette — For Niagara Falls native Ed Supple, there was no greater honor than what happened to him Thursday.
In the Hard Rock Cafe downtown, Supple, who grew up in LaSalle, was announced as a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame's 31st class. A guitarist by trade, Supple has spent years playing with some of the area's greats.
Joining them in the hall is a moment he'll never forget.
"It's great," he said. "I'm pretty happy to be put in with all these people who inspired me. To be thrust in among them is quite an honor."
Artists like Tommy Tedesco, another Niagara Falls native who Supple said he's shared meals with, and Buffalo's Goo Goo Dolls are just a few of the names the Buffalo hall has recognized over its history. These artists inspired the current class and pushed them as children themselves to venture into the music industry.
Supple never had the benefit of what's available today. No Youtube or Myspace existed, there was no Facebook. He learned how to play from watching people onstage, he said, and meeting and talking to other performers around him.
Aside from Supple, the list of inductees looks like this: Performers include blues guitarist Jony James, R&B group Joe Public, drummer Howard Fleetwood Wilson, drummer Bobby Previte, singer Linda Lou Schriver, former 10,000 Maniacs lead singer Natalie Merchant and President's Award recipients Cannibal Corpse, a metal band making waves in current music. Non performers inducted include producer Dave Fridman, radio host Jim Santella, concert promoter Fred Casserta, vocal teacher Andy Anselmo and concert apparel company New Buffalo Shirt Factory.
Induction into the hall will be held in October at a place and time to be determined. Thursday's event was about celebrating the names and showing off Hard Rock's new memorabilia room dedicated to the hall's musicians.
"It's a testament to the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame," Dominic Verni, Hard Rock general manager, said. "They worked hard to establish this room. It's essentially their museum in Western New York. There's a lot of special pieces in this room. We're hoping both the locals and the tourists can enjoy this for years to come."
Though Supple simply enjoyed the honor of the night, one of the inductees thought he was experiencing a bit of deja vu. Joe Sayles, a guitarist with the band Joe Public, said until a year ago, he thought the band was already in the hall of fame.
When a friend of his was inducted last year, Sayles said, he went and did some research. What he found was nothing. As in his band's name, despite its popularity and long-running success, was nowhere to be found on the roster. So he quickly got to work on a nomination.
"Honestly, I thought we were already in," he said. "But I was excited when I found out. To go into any hall of fame is an honor."
He's been at it since he was 11 years old, he said, after his mother bought him a guitar for Christmas. He's never stopped.
But when it comes to family influence, there are only a few who can claim more than singer Linda Lou Schriver. She got into the family business of singing and performing as part of Ramblin' Lou's Family Band.
Her induction is specifically momentous because, together with her father, Lou, they're the second father/daughter inductees in the hall. The accomplishment means more to her because of it, she said.
"I grew up in the family business of singing and playing," she said. "There are so many great people, so many great musicians from Western New York. I'm just delighted to be included. A lot of them are friends, they're people I've worked with."
In the music industry, sometimes it's difficult to know what success looks and feels like. Sometimes there are great highs, from playing a great show to enormous applause to signing a record contract. Sometimes there are great lows.
For Wilson, the idea of being inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame represents not just an honor, but also validation. He realized he made the right decisions when he found out.
"It means a lot to me," he said. "I've been playing the music scene for a long time. There were times when I would think 'Am I going in the right direction?' But to get an award like this and there are a few other things I'm doing right now, it all makes me sit back and say, 'Yes, I am.' '"Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.