Tedi Brunetti, a renowned drummer, singer and songwriter from Pittsburgh, grew up listening to songs on a transistor radio while banging away on a hamper and old hat boxes. Tedi traces her entrance into playing music, via the then atypical (for a girl) avenue of the drums, back to a birthday party she attended at age 11. “An older sister had a Victrola, and she put on a single,” Tedi recalls. “It was ‘Louie Louie,’ by the Kingsmen. And the drums…are bombastic; and it shot through me like a bolt of lightning…I kept playing it over and over again…” Her parents nixed drum lessons at first, instead unknowingly providing Tedi with a tool for songwriting (which she immediately set about using) in the form of guitar lessons. Later, with her own money from her first job, she took care of her own drum lessons. Despite the obstacles, Tedi had found her calling and wouldn’t be swayed from the path to being a professional drummer. She would go on to perform with bands in a wide array of genres through the ‘60s and ‘70s, including the The Impalas and Toronto’s infamous B-Girls.
As a solo artist, Tedi describes herself as a “sober Janis Joplin meeting Steely Dan in Memphis.” Although she may come out from behind her drum kit occasionally, she is comfortable and confident in “fronting” her band from her seat in the back. “It’s never been an obstacle for me,” she explains, “in terms of physically being able to do it, or communicating with an audience.”
Tedi’s current project is a full-length album called Queen of Pittsburgh. It features a mix of songs ranging from blues shuffles to more eclectic originals clearly influenced by classic rock, jazz and blues. The record was produced by Dean Allen Sargent (Public Enemy, Taylor Dayne, Blue Oyster Cult,) who also co-wrote some of the tracks, along with Michael Henegan (Sonny Rhodes, Lonnie Shields, Randy Lippincott).
An engaging singer, Tedi uses her rich vocals to draw listeners into an intimate conversation; as they forget she’s singing, the story unfolds.
By Dan Walsh