Talent, dedication, and persistence has brought these 11 to 14 year olds to the next level. SPINNING BAD is comprised of singer/guitarist Maddy Hellstrom, drummer Gerard Tolentino, bassist Mike Riggio, and keyboardist Massimo Riggio. A group of ambitious musical prodigies, SPINNING BAD’s range of influences from Led Zeppelin to Van Halen is subtly weaved throughout their sets and original work. Collectively, the preteen bandmates have written a diverse catalog of original songs.
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Madeline Hellstrom was born with a song in her heart. As a young child, she spent her time singing around the house and endlessly enjoying classic musical movies like Mary Poppins and Sound of Music. She started a YouTube cooking show in 2011 called Maddy’s Cooking Show: Just for Kids which today has 300,000 views and near 700 subscribers. Recognizing her passion to perform and sing, she joined the choir at a local church and soon began working with a vocal coach. She started a band called Stage of Five in 2013 with bassist Mike Riggio. In 2013, she showed an interest in guitar and has become a musical prodigy with the instrument in just three short years. She is the lead singer and guitarist of Spinning Bad. Maddy is 13 years old and starting 8th grade at Cedar Drive Middle School in Colts Neck, NJ.
Michael Riggio’s greatest musical influence is his dad who has guided him and inspired to pursue this musical journey that he is on. He picked up the bass because he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, and would sit in the basement every night, to watch and play along with his dad. In addition to bass, Mike plays guitar and keyboard. At just 8 years old, he left a ballroom full of people stunned and received a standing ovation when he played Phantom of the Opera on keyboard. From that moment, Mike knew he wanted to be on stage and play music. He started a band with Maddy in 2013 called Stage of Five. Soon after, his brother Massimo joined following in his brother’s footsteps. Mike is the oldest band member at 14 years old and is starting his sophomore year at Tottenville High School in Staten Island.
Massimo started playing keyboard at the age of 7. He was inspired to become a musician by his father, and followed his brother’s footsteps joining the band Stage of Five in 2014. Massimo got the spark when he began to play with other band mates; he enjoyed being part of a team. In school, whenever the opportunity arises, he will get behind the piano in the school auditorium for an impromptu performance. He is influenced by Billy Joel and continues to work at his craft. He also recently started playing guitar. Massimo is the youngest band member at just 10, and is going into 7th grade at IS34 Totten Intermediate in Staten Island.
Gerard Tolentino, the newest member of Spinning Bad took into piano at an early age. His passion for music inspired him to join his school's jazz band as pianist, where they perform at school shows and select community events. His exposure to jazz leads him to develop a keen interest in drums where he proved to possess the skills, quickly learning the standard jazz drum patterns. Aside from drumming for SB and his school band, he is also with the NY City-wide Jazz Band that performs annually at Carnegie Hall. He earned praises from his mentor and from his band directors for having a good feel and great ear for music—the same attributes that make him eagerly embrace the transition from jazz to rock. Gerard just completed 8th grade at Elias Bernstein Intermediate School in Staten Island and is heading to Tottenville High School.