Peter J. Zito, Sr., a native of Niagara Falls New York, also known as Pete Zito or ‘ZEETS’, has made significant contributions to the music history and excellence in the Western New York area. He was born September 28 1948 and started lessons and playing the accordion at age seven. In 1963, he bought and taught himself on a harmony guitar, soon performing at local dances and becoming an essential member of many bands with his Fender bass, Stratocaster guitar, or Hammond B3 organ. In some of his earlier bands the NUTONES and the SCEPTORS, he performed not only in local clubs but also in small venues in Canada, Detroit and Chicago. To this day, he performs mostly as a keyboardist, vocalist and is a well-respected songwriter, arranger, producer and music promoter.
Pete has written and composed a number of original songs. He formed the band PURPLE GAS, and wrote his first original song ‘Listen Little Bird’. He started an original recording project with the group OZ with NFMusicHoF Inductees Frank Grizanti, Tom Nelson and the talented Tom Tarpinian, ‘Slick’ Alonzo Bradley, Jim Menkiena, and John Mameli. He started the groups CAPITAL SLAM and JULIUS, who headlined the ‘Niagara Jam’ event held at the NF Convention Center. In the late 70’s he formed the rock-fusion band EDEN. With fellow musician and friend Guy Bax, they wrote, produced and recorded their songs in Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Toronto, Canada. EDEN members included Tony Becari, Perry Novak and Mario Critelli or Paul Paduano and Ric ‘Cat’ Catanese as their sound engineer.
When the disco era arrived, Pete formed the group ATLANTIS, performing throughout WNY, Ontario Canada and parts of Pennsylvania. Soon after, Pete returned to his rock-new wave-fusion originals with the X-Rays which included NFMusicHOF inductees Tom Gariano, Perry Novak with Kevin Connor and Kevin DeDario. In addition to being a well-respected musician, Pete took over his family business, THE MONTE CARLO on Ontario Avenue in the late 60’s. He hosted many Niagara University social events and by the 70’s it became the ‘Hot Spot’ for live music featuring local musicians and promoting out-of-town acts. In 1985, when the drinking age changed from 18 to 21, he started a non-alcohol club at the Monte Carlo called it THE INFERNO. This club featured many young up-and-coming local musicians’ groups. He also featured ‘Battle of the Bands’ nights. Accommodating 300 people at a time; he opened the doors for many musicians as a boost to their musical careers.
Pete has remained in music’s public eye over the past 50 years forming and joining many popular bands; some were BETTER WAY, BLACK MAGIC, BLIND DATE, THE HOLD, SIDEWINDER, INSIDE OUT, SOUL COMMITTEE, PENELOPE, THE A-LIST, URAN RENEWAL and presently with THE FABULOUS USA BAND who perform regularly all over Western New York.
It is a pleasure and honor to induct Peter Zito Sr. into the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame, Class of 2022.