Musicians pay tribute to the late Jim Piedmont

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

‘He was a performer. He worked constantly for the next gig. He loved to entertain people.’ – Derek Piedmont, Jim’s brother

ALBION – Scott Fleming, lead singer for Shattered Decision, addresses the crowd during a benefit concert today in honor of Jim Piedmont, who played in local rock and roll bands for about 30 years. Piedmont was 48 when he died from a heart attack on April 4.

Piedmont played in about 20 bands, beginning when he was a teen-ager. He played guitar, sang and did the sound. (He was the sound man for Nik and the Nice Guys when the band played in a Super Bowl in Atlanta.) He also set up many bands, putting together talented local musicians.

“Jim was a staple in the local music scene,” said Scott Fleming, who performed in a band with Piedmont.

Shattered Decision plays in honor of Jim Piedmont. The band includes, right to left: Darrin Albanese and Sabastian Piedmont (Jim’s nephew) on guitars, Joe Piedmont (Jim’s brother) on drums, Scott Fleming as lead singer, and Rob Reid on guitar.

Fleming hadn’t sung in band for 25 years – until today when members of Shattered Image and Split Decision joined for the group Shattered Decision.

About 150 people attended the benefit, including many members of the local music scene, the musicians and their fans.

“It’s a testimony to the people he touched, that he played with and that he performed,” Fleming said.

This poster promoting today’s musical celebration includes a photo of Jim Piedmont.

Fleming asked Shattered Image and Split Decision six weeks ago if they would be interested in getting together for concert in honor of Piedmont. The musicians said yes, and four other bands – Triple Play, Whiskey Rebellion, Bad Manners, and Ditchwater Rising – also took the stage at the Elk’s Club.

Piedmont and his family moved from Rochester to Albion when Piedmont was entering ninth grade. He was a popular student, serving as senior class president. He made many friends, and always loved music and entertaining others. He did a memorable impersonation of Gene Simmons from KISS during one talent show.

Piedmont earned a bachelor’s degree in science from Geneseo. He didn’t want a corporate job or a regular office job. He worked at Brunner for a while and recently moved to Florida and was working for a high-end boat company, making and painting the boats.

Rob Reid plays today in memory of his friend, Jim Piedmont.

Piedmont’s passion was music, literature and performance, his brother Derek Piedmont said. He remembers Jim reading him “The Hobbit” when they were kids.

“He was a performer,” Derek said. “He worked constantly for the next gig. He loved to entertain people.”

He called his brother “an old soul.”

Rob Reid played in bands with Jim Piedmont.

“People gravitated towards him,” Reid said.

Sabastian Piedmont, left, and Darrin Albanese play in Shattered Decision. Sabastian said his late uncle helped him pick out his musical instruments.

Playing in the rhythm section of a band was symbolic of the supportive role Piedmont played in many people’s lives, Reid said.

Derek said his brother was in great shape, but had undiagnosed hypertension. His death has been a shock to his family.

Piedmont is missed by his many friends, especially those in the musical community, Fleming said.

“Jim was a staple in the local music scene,” Fleming said. “He played with a lot of people and he played for a lot of people. It’s terrible that he’s gone.”

Scott Fleming, right, and Rob Reid said Jim Piedmont’s death leaves a big void locally.