Beggars & Thieves was formed in NYC in 1989 by singer Louie Merlino and guitarist Ronnie Mancuso. After 5 gigs and a demo recorded with mega producer Desmond Child (Bon Jovi, Areosmith) and (Billy Squier, Alice Cooper) drummer Bobby Chouinard and (Bon Jovi bassist) Hugh McDonald, B&T was signed by Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun.
Released on Atlantic around Christmas of 1990, Beggars & Thieves self-titled debut was critically acclaimed. The first single (“Beggars & Thieves”) started to take off, charting in the top 40 Billboard Magazine Album Rock Charts and being added to rotation on over 100 Parallel One AOR radio stations.
The band then lost momentum when their A&R man left the label and their managers Q-Prime (Metallica, Def Leppard and Muse) were understandably distracted by the death of one of there biggest clients, Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark. By the time Q-Prime regained their focus, Atlantic had moved on. Q-Prime still believing in the band managed to get Beggars released from Atlantic and immediately signed them to Epic/Sony.
Beggars recorded their second album “Look What You Create” in Vancouver with (Aerosmith, Scorpions, Bryan Adams) collaborator Jim Vallance and (Rush, Dream Theater) engineer Paul Northfield. By the time of the release, Grunge was king and Beggars (although really a Classic Rock Band) were lumped in with the hair bands and pass their due date.
Ronnie & Louie stayed in the music business doing jingles as well as lots of music for Fox Sports and NASCAR.
Louie and Ron started playing together again in 2004 forming Sin City All-Star’s with (Ex-Faster Pussycat Guitarist) Brent Muscat, opening shows for Tesla, Vince Neil, Ratt, Slaughter, and Skid Row.
Mancuso started writing songs again and thought “Louie has one of the best voices in rock and he sounds better than ever. I’m finally getting really good at songwriting. As an artist I’m doing my best work ever. Why shouldn’t we continue?”
So Beggars started the recording the basic tracks of “We Are the Brokenhearted” with legendary NYC drummer Thommy Price (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Billy Idol, Scandal) and his cohort in the (Blackhearts) bassist Enzo Penizzotto
While finishing their album, Beggars started playing live when Vince Neil along with Las Vegas Legend Custom Motorcycle Builder (The Count) opened the club Feelgoods in Las Vegas, Ronnie & Louie’s hometown since the early 2000’s.
Rounding out the group now is drummer Erik Gloege, who played for years in a rhythm section with (Metallica) bassist Robert Trujillo and 22 tears old bassist Blake Newman, whose youth has invigorated the band. As Merlino says, “the younger crowds seem to love us, it’s so cool to look out and see kids in there 20’s get it as much as the older rock crowd”.
Beggars played the renowned Firefest Festival 2010 in Nottingham, England where they received glowing reviews and were voted biggest surprise of the festival.
Beggars have just begun re-establishing their brand after using Firefest as their launching pad. Mancuso says “This is just the beginning; we want to focus on Europe as well as putting our songs in movies and commercials in America. This isn’t just some guy's trying to have a little fun reliving the past. We are very serious about this. We want to compete with the big boys!”
And judging from the response from the European press and fans they just might!
Beggars & Thieves 2011
Louie Merlino: Vocals
Ronnie Mancuso: Guitars
Erik Gloege: Drums
Blake Newman: Bass