Gary Puckett and the Union Gap play the Stadium April 26

Gary Puckett and the Union Gap play the Stadium April 26

Gary Puckett & The Union Gap along with The Grass Roots will appear at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket on Friday, April 26, at 8 p.m. For tickets and information, call the box office at 401-762-4545 or visit

WOONSOCKET – Starting out in the music industry, Gary Puckett was frequently compared to artists like Johnny Mathis and David Clayton Thomas. Pretty good company to be in but “I always heard the difference. I’m lucky that I have a signature voice that people could recognize,” Puckett said.

Puckett and his band, The Union Gap, scored megahits in the ’60s with songs like “Lady Willpower,” “This Girl Is a Woman Now” and “Young Girl.” Fifty years later, they’re still going strong, traveling across the United States. “It affords me a pretty wonderful life,” said Puckett in our recent phone interview.

Puckett and his band will appear at the Stadium Theatre, 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket, on Friday, April 26, along with the Grass Roots.

“My pipes are still very good,” said Puckett about his voice. “My voice is in great shape, even at the top of the register, it sounds good.”

Puckett says music is in his DNA. “My parents were musicians. Mom was an accomplished pianist and Dad was a saxophone guy. They were both wonderful singers.” They actually met through music, and “that’s what they would have done, but in the early ’40s, it was a difficult life, to be on the road to travel. So, my father went into merchandising and my mom became a housewife and mom.”

He recalls that his parents sat him down at a piano at the age of 6. “I would have liked to be out in the field chasing garter snakes.”

But when he was 12, he heard Elvis Presley. “That sparked something inside me, his look, his sound.” Puckett wanted to be a rock-and-roller. “I was a big fan of Eric Clapton, Cream, Jimi Hendrix. I fancied myself a guitar player of their ilk. It wasn’t true, of course.”

He finally learned to focus on the vocals. “Our producer, Jerry Fuller, was a songwriter. To him, the song and the singer were the first part of the equation. He would find a song he really believed was a hit. We wanted to do it the way we thought the fans would want to hear it, but Jerry wanted me to sing the way I sing.”

Puckett and the Union Gap stood out from the other performers of the day because of their costumes. While others were wearing tie-dyed outfits with fringe and suede and jeans with holes in them, Puckett and his band wore Civil War-style uniforms. “I wanted to have a look about us. I loved the history of the Civil War; I was fascinated by it.”

Oddly, the uniforms led to their first big break. “A disc jockey in Columbus, Ohio, was a Civil War fan. He saw our picture on our record. That got us a listen, and then he started playing it.” Columbia Records picked up on it and distributed the recording nationally.

Puckett and The Union Gap do about 45 or 50 dates a year. Puckett also does another 50 solo dates when he’s out with the Happy Together Tour that combines performers and groups from the ’60s in megaconcerts. “This year, we’ve got the Cowsills, the Classics Four, the Buckinghams, me, Chuck Negron from Three Dog Night and the Turtles. One band backs all six of the principals. It’s so much fun, nothing but the hits.”

For the show at the Stadium, Puckett knows the fans expect to hear the hits. “I base the show around the Union Gap period. Not only the hits, but songs we put on our albums from other artists. In our first three albums we had songs from artists like Neil Diamond, Petula Clark, Bob Dylan.”

Puckett loves that his fans know the lyrics to his songs. “Those songs were present in their lives as they were creating families, starting their jobs.” His aim for the show is to “try to have a good time, bring a little tear, bring a little laughter. Come see the show and have a good time with us.”

For tickets and information, call the box office at 401-762-4545 or visit .