The love of music was always there from an early age, but it wasn’t until February of 1964 that his desire to play the guitar became an obsession. That was when the Beatles debuted on The Ed Sullivan Show and were followed up by many of the now iconic British and American bands. The first guitar (a $20 acoustic from a local chain store) finally arrived in the summer of 1965 and then- “it was on”.Initially- it was a series of non- descript bands with other neighborhood kids which began to evolve into better neighborhood bands with better neighborhood kids by 1967. The earliest viable band was named The Raves, who performed at many of the higher profile teen clubs and school dances throughout Western New York that were popular during that era. Bauerle and The Raves played their first bar gig at a rough and tumble rural bar- aptly named The Old Barn- at the tender age of 15!
After a series of changes- The Raves morphed into a band named Hardtimes who from 1969-1974, matured into one of the top bands in WNY. In one year alone-1973- Hardtimes played over 325 gigs including opening a concert for the late Jim Croce. Fellow Hardtimes drummer/ vocalist Paul Varga found future fame as a key member of the legendary band Talas which featured the greatest rock bass guitarist of all time: Billy Sheehan. Former Hardtimes Organist Sal Azzarelli is a much respected Hammond B3 consultant to the instrument’s top performers around the world- including Joey DeFrancesco, Felix Cavaliere and Steve Winwood to name only a few. The late Joe Pici, Hardtimes bassist, became one of the leading “Party DJ’s” in Las Vegas and was a personal favorite of Gene Simmons of KISS. The bottom line: four out of the five members of Hardtimes would eventually distinguish themselves in the entertainment world outside of WNY, an impressive feat.
After the members of Hardtimes had split and moved on both as individuals and musicians, Bauerle became smitten with the recording studio “bug” and along with brothers Nick and Bill Kothen helped co- found Select Sound Studios in 1975. He still serves as the “in house” producer, arranger, engineer and session guitarist, logging literally thousands of hours in the studio from 1975 to present day. He has worked with folk singer Melanie, members of Spyro Gyra and Rick James band, Wah Wah Watson (Car Wash movie soundtrack), Dan Tolar (Allman Brothers), and countless others. He also co- produced two tracks on soap opera star Gloria Loring’s “Friends and Lovers” CD which gave him the opportunity to work in New York City with the likes of Paul Shaffer (Letterman Show), Steve Gadd, Neil Jason (Cyndi Lauper) and Paul Griffin (pianist on Don McClean’s musical epic “American Pie”; Steely Dan).
Bauerle states that he didn’t really begin to find his ultimate personal musical “muse” until around 1978. He had always been involved with vocal laden pop and country songs from the earliest days of his career up to that point, culminating with his performing in the landmark WNY Country/ Rock band Kenny Gunn and the Pistols from 1978-80. After studying musical theory in depth upon graduation from college in 1974- he began to explore the world of jazz guitar in some detail throughout this same time period. George Benson, Pat Martino, Joe Pass, Barney Kessel and Wes Montgomery formed the core of most of these studies. Jazz was a far different landscape than the ‘Pop and Country’ music world in which he had invested the most time in honing his musical skills. But in 1978- after an old High School friend played him a Larry Carlton record which showed how jazz, country and pop idioms could all be merged- the ‘re-invention’ of Bauerle’s musical stylings began in earnest. More explorations were made into other “Jazz/ Fusion” artists: Chuck Mangione, The Yellowjackets, Lee Ritenour, Robben Ford, Al DiMeola and many others.
Bauerle recorded his first instrumental song in the summer of 1980- out of accident if not desperation. A band that was supposed to record as a demonstration for a Select Sound recording class cancelled at the very last minute. A few musician friends were quickly called in for an impromptu session- with the only available song being an instrumental called “Juicy” which Bauerle hadn’t even completed yet. The band worked it out quickly, recorded the basic tracks that night-and the die was cast that would pave the way for Bauerle’s future. The completed track was very well received and somehow wound up in the hands of influential jazz radio personality John Hunt from WBUF radio. Hunt wanted to hear more songs- and within a few months there were not only more songs- but a band ready to perform them live.
WBUF, thanks to the efforts of Hunt, had contracted with National Public Radio (NPR) to produce a series of concerts that would be broadcast live from Select Sound Studio. Bauerle’s band was selected to be one of these acts. The band couldn’t come up with a name- so sax player Jim Witherspoon suggested using “The Dick Bauerle Group (aka DBG)” as a temporary moniker for this performance. So-The “Dick Bauerle Group” played its first gig ever live --broadcast around the world on NPR radio in 1983! The name never changed after that….
The first recording contract came in 1985/86 with MCA Records. Although the record didn’t receive the label support initially promised- many of the songs were still frequently used on syndicated TV show “Entertainment Tonight” daily features. The next CD, “Measure for Measure”, released on Atlantic Jazz in 1989, fared much better reaching as high as #5 on many “Smooth Jazz” radio charts. The song “Esprit” appeared on a compilation CD with other Jazz notables and also had a video which aired a few times in regular rotation on VH1 during its Sunday evening Jazz show.
Also in 1986, a rare Bauerle vocal composition- “I just wanna be loved by you” – was the last song added to the soundtrack of Mel Brooks Spaceballs movie. It can be heard playing on the juke box just prior to the space café scene with John Hurt and the “singing alien”.
Bauerle was named to the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame for the first time in 1988, and again in 2004 as a 15 year member of the group Joyryde. Joyryde has performed in New York City, Nashville, Toronto, and Indianapolis as musical emissaries of WNY. They also performed live on National television as the “house band” for a QVC Shopping Network broadcast from Buffalo. The band continues to be very active throughout the area. Bauerle also continues to work in the studio- and having completed many recent projects for other musicians, looks forward to focusing mainly on his own career again in the years ahead