Thomas Robert “Tom” Ardolino (January 12, 1955 – January 6, 2012) was a rock drummer best known as a member of NRBQ (New Rhythm and Blues Quartet). Ardolino was initially a fan of the band, and began corresponding and trading tapes with keyboardist and co-founder Terry Adams. On one occasion, original NRBQ drummer Tom Staley did not return for an encore, and Adams invited Ardolino to fill in. Ardolino performed well enough that when Staley left the band in 1974, his bandmates agreed that Ardolino was the natural choice as successor. Ardolino remained in the lineup until the band went on hiatus in 2004, returning for occasional reunion performances, and lending his support when Adams decided to reclaim the NRBQ name for a new band in 2011. While lead vocals were generally performed by other members of NRBQ, live shows often included a moment where Ardolino would take the spotlight and sing, either with a karaoke backing track or with one of the other band members drumming.
Ardolino’s solo album “Unknown Brain” was released in 2004 on CD by Bumble Bee Records, Japan and on vinyl LP in the USA on Mystra Records. The album consists mostly of basement recordings made in 1971-72. The cover states “WARNING: If out-of-tuneness bothers you, do not listen.”
Ardolino was also an avid collector of song poems, having contributed to the “MSR Madness” series of compilations.
In December of 2011 nrbq.com posted the following news “Tom Ardolino is presently dealing with a number of health issues and is expected to be in the hospital for some time.” He died on January 6, 2012 at a Springfield, Massachusetts hospital. Later that day, a post on the NRBQ Headquarters page on Facebook read, “We regret to inform you that Tom Ardolino passed away today. Tom will be missed but his spirit lives on through those who were touched by him.”  An article from the Washington Post later specified the cause as diabetes.
- ^ Simons, Julian , “Modern Drummer”, July, 2005, accessed December 5, 2010.
- ^ http://www.mohilldesign.com. “Unknown Brain by Tom Ardolino”. Nrbq.com. http://www.nrbq.com/store/cd-unknownbrain.html. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
- ^ http://www.mohilldesign.com. “NRBQ – News”. Nrbq.com. http://www.nrbq.com/news.cfm. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
- ^ https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/NRBQ-Headquarters/221489064545160
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