Buddy Emmer Band or Madison Avenue, it's the same musicians

The problem facing Buddy Emmer's band these days isn't what to call itself, it's what not to.

For more than 15 years, Emmer's band went by the name Madison Avenue. It was garnered from the street that served as the home address to four of the band's five original members.

But those band members have since moved on.

"We showed up at a concert and people thought we were the other band, so we decided to go with the Buddy Emmer Band," Emmer said.

The only problem is that, depending on where they play, the venues still bill them by their now-former name. Emmer said the change in names is slightly fitting because the band changes the type of music it plays based on the venue.

The tone of the set at the Reno Hilton - where they are called the Buddy Emmer Band - is different than when the play at the Carson Nugget - as Madison Avenue.

"It really doesn't matter to me," Emmer said.

The band consists of Emmer on lead guitar, wife Kim Emmer on rhythm guitar, Gary Setzer on drums, Donte Orlando on bass and Hank Spece on keyboards. Every member, except Setzer, also sings.

Emmer credits four guys from Liverpool with getting him hooked on music. "When I was the kid, the Beatles came over, and I thought, that's what I want to do," Emmer said.

In 1982, he arrived in Northern Nevada and took a job with the house band at the Shy Clown, now called Baldini's. While there, he played back-up to several country music stars, including Eddie Rabbit, Mel Tillis and Crystal Gayle.

During his career, he has played with the likes of Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, but says that country hasn't become a big part of the band's song list.

"We are a bluesy-rock band," Emmer said. "I love New Orleans music; that is my favorite to play. That or our original songs, I look forward to playing those every night."

The band will be playing at the Reno Hilton from July 18-30, at the Casino Fandango in Carson City Aug. 1-2, and at the Carson Nugget later in August.

Emmer said that no matter where they play or what name is on the marquee, one thing will remain the same.

"We want people to realize that we are kind of a different band. We do different stuff, and people can really appreciate that. They can appreciate the musicianship," Emmer said.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.


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