Destiny. Fate. Kismet.

Call it what you will, it is more about believing in it than anything.

After hearing the tale of Scott Ligon, a long-time fan of NRBQ (New Rhythm and Blues Quartet), one can’t help but start to believe in the idea of providence.


Terry Adams, along with his brother, formed New Rhythm and Blues Quintet in 1966. In over 50 years, the band has turned into New Rhythm and Blues Quartet and seen members like Joey Spampinato, guitarists Al Anderson, Steve Ferguson, Johnny Spampinato, and drummer Tom Ardolino pass through the ranks of the fabled band.

In the mid-2000s, NRBQ fell silent as Adams battle throat cancer. While Adams beat the disease, the other members of NRBQ, having a taste of being off the road, decided to stay off the road, leaving just Adams, Ardolino and Ferguson to carry one.

In 2007, Ligon met his musical icon and everything changed.

The Swerve Magazine recently talked with Ligon about what it is like to meet and then become part of a band one has been a fan of for so long. NRBQ plays the South Park Amphitheater July 14 as part of the Summer Concert Series.

The Swerve Magazine: NRBQ is currently on tour over the summer. Is the band working on new material since “Brass Tacks” came out in 2014?

Scott Ligon: We are always recording. Whenever we get together, instead of rehearsing, we tend to try to record something, whether it ends up getting used or not. It is how we rehearse. It is because we are spread out (across the country), the rhythm section is in Chicago. Terry is in Massachusetts. So, when we do get together, we try to record a couple of tracks.

I think we are, maybe, issuing something like an EP on Omnivore this year, then, probably, a full-on studio record the following year.

SM: With the band being split all over the country, you would almost have to work when you do all get together.

SL: It is always kind of a marathon whenever we do get together. We are trying to pack a lot into a short period of time, both recording and playing. It is always a full schedule.

SM: You first played with Terry Adams in 2007.

SL: Yes, Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet, it is the name that we went under until 2011.

SM: How did you and Terry first meet?

SL: I was a giant fan of the band for 20 years before Terry and I actually met. They are my favorite band. I’ve always been a musician, and I’ve always been working, but whenever NRBQ was within 100 miles, I would make sure that I was there.

I think the first time I saw them was 1988. It changed my life immediately. The first time I saw them, it just changed everything.

I always had this strange feeling that somehow I was destined to be involved in that band somehow, which is a really weird thing to be walking around with for 20 years. In the early 2000s, I think between 2004-07, when I met Terry, things went strangely silent in NRBQ. Nobody really knew what was going on. Nobody knew that Terry was sick. He was diagnosed with throat cancer. He beat it. It was an amazing thing that he went through. I think when he got healthy, he was hoping that the band was going to go back out. I think that was the first time any of those guys had been off the road in 35 years. I think they decided that they didn’t want to travel anymore.

So, Terry was in the position; he never intended to stop doing this. He had to face this situation of trying to find new guys to play with after he had been playing in the same band his whole life. There were always personnel changes though out the years, but he never had to face finding an entirely new band. It is one thing to find a replacement for a guitar player or drummer. Even that is hard to do, and you got to get real lucky to find the right person. (NRBQ) always found the exact right guy.

I heard that Terry was coming to Chicago in 2007 with Tom Ardolino and Steve Ferguson, the original guitar player, and it was just called the Terry Adams Band, or maybe it was Terry Adams and Steve Ferguson. I got really excited about that. So, I got the opening spot with my band The Flat Five.

I had this intense desire to get an opportunity to thank Terry personally. I was in a thankful kind of mood. I needed to tell this guy how important his music has been to me over all these years.

He was open to that kind of thing on that particular evening. We ended up having a good conversation. We played some piano back and forth. He hired me as the guitar player based on two songs he heard me play on piano at 2 a.m.


It was crazy because when he left that night, I said that if he ever needed a musical slave, give me a call. He said, “Well, I’m the piano player.” I said that I played guitar too. About four months later, I got a message on my answering machine from Terry, and it was great. It said, “Scott, it is Terry Adams calling. Your leader. Call me back.”

I called him back, and we just struck up a friendship. Before I even came out to Massachusetts to meet up with him and play music, I was already the guitar player in the band.

Joining a band like this, it is not creating something out of thin air. In other bands, you don’t have people that have expectations of you before they ever even here you. I’ve been doing this for 10 years now. I feel pretty comfortable in my own skin and in NRBQ.

SM: What is that like? To finally meet your favorite band after all those years and next thing you know you are in it.

SL: It literally is a dream come true. I used to dream about these guys. I used to dream that I was friends with these guys or that they were at my gigs. It is a dream come true. It is almost difficult to get into because there is so much involved in it. Sometimes you just have a feeling about people in your life. I feel like all of my closest friends; I had an instant, immediate, almost chemical reaction when I first met them. I would say that about my wife and a few of my friends. It was the same way with Terry. I just felt something about him from the very beginning. Thankfully, fate was fortunate.

I always had a feeling about Terry Adams, particularly about the music that he wrote. I just felt that there was a really gentle, loving spirit behind the music. He is a really interesting person.
I know this seems weird, but he kind of seemed like family to me.

I have an older brother, Chris, that introduced me to NRBQ, and he is a really interesting guy. He is a great songwriter. He is my oldest brother. He is 12 years older than me. Terry even seems like an even older brother.