Fabulous Gunslingers to play benefit gig in Richland

Deborah Deasy
| Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Fabulous Gunslingers fittingly “stole” their Wild West-inspired label.

They got it from the former Gunslingers, a group started by Ray Gunn of Norm Nardini and the Tigers.

Gunn's group “never really got off the ground,” said David Wolfinger, 48, of East Deer, bassist and founding member of the Fabulous Gunslingers.

But Wolfinger always liked the Gunslingers' name, and simply added the “Fabulous,” with Gunn's OK.

Despite their outlaw tag, however, the Fabulous Gunslingers often perform for good causes.

The band will perform a show from 7 to 11 p.m. April 20 at St. Richard Church in Richland to raise money for SERVE, a program for children and adults with special needs and disabilities.

SERVE “is an acronym for the five areas that we work in — social, emotional, recreational, vocational and educational,” said SERVE Director Carl Mele, a state-certified special education teacher with a master's degree in counseling.

Wolfinger is married to Mele's daughter, Lindsay, who also has a college degree in special education.

“So we always try to help out ... to help them raise some money,” said Wolfinger, who also has a teenage son with an autism spectrum disorder.

Last year, the Fabulous Gunslingers' fourth annual benefit concert for SERVE raised about $8,000.

“We usually get around 200 people,” said Carle Mele. “The band is great, and the beer is cold.”

People ages 4 to 42, with conditions including cerebral palsy and autism participate in SERVE programs at Pine-Richland Youth Center in Richland.

Last year, Wolfinger's son David, 16, participated in SERVE's summer program.

“He really had a great time and it helped him improve certain skills,” said Wolfinger, a database administrator for GNC Corp.

Wolfinger started the Fabulous Gunslingers with lead singer Scott Luff of Reserve, a real estate agent and owner of Bulldog Carpet Cleaning.

Wolfinger and Luff began playing music together in 1991, and then formed Border Line, a country band that became the Fabulous Gunslingers.

“The original band all grew up on the North Side,” Wolfinger said.

Non-original members include lead guitarist Mark Jaroszewski, a dental technician who lives in the Banksville section of Pittsburgh; keyboardist Chuck Spagnolo of Cranberry, a truck dispatcher, and drummer Randy Kuitunen of Mars, who works for an auto parts company.

“Everybody has their day gig,” Wolfinger said. “Most of us have been in bands for years.”

One of the Gunslingers' newest members is fiddler Heather Pinson, a classically trained violinist and associate professor of communications at Robert Morris University.

Everybody in the band — except the drummer — also sings in the group.

The Fabulous Gunslingers specialize in rock-style country music.

“It's all dance-able stuff,” Wolfinger said.

In addition to original songs, the Fabulous Gunslingers perform many other artists' hits, including “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett, “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, “All Summer Long” by Kid Rock and “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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