Rodeo Deluxe is a modern country/rock band based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Their unique sound comes from their ability to mix new popular country songs, traditional country, favorite oldies and a variety of classic rock favorites with powerful harmonies and unique arrangements. Their performances are comprised of a collection of enjoyable hit songs and have been entertaining audiences throughout the southern USA for well over the past decade.
The band was founded in 2006 when Nikki Rae and Steve Couch, Nikki’s dad, started singing together for fun. The more they sang, the more Steve realized Nikki should be on stage performing. Steve, a veteran lead vocalist and musician of the South Florida music scene since the late 1960’s, had fronted and played in numerous bands over the years, many known for their strong vocal harmonies and always Steve's commanding vocal performances. Nikki and Steve’s natural family vocal blend was just the foundation needed to start the band. Within short order, Nikki and Steve brought together several top notch veteran performers to round out the lineup and within a few weeks of rehearsals the Rodeo Clowns took their show to the masses. Nikki's soaring voice, energetic stage persona, and engaging personality, in collaboration with four world class musicians and very strong lead vocalists in their own right, proved to be an instant success. The band was immediately in high demand and started booking performance dates as far as a year advance. Needless to say, The Rodeo Clowns quickly gained notoriety as the "Premier Country Band" in South Florida and have maintained that edge until today.
By 2012 the band was well established. However, there was unrest brewing with a couple of the members of the band. In order to keep the fire burning and stay on a positive course, it was time for change. With vocalist and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, Fred Russotto, still onboard; his amazing voice and killer chops behind the drum kit continued to provide a solid foundation, in order for the Clowns to weather the storm while the bass player and lead guitarist were being replaced. As such, Steve and Nikki decided to bring Harry Hafferkamp on board as the new lead guitarist. With Harry's innovative aptitude as a multi-instrumentalist, his technical skill set, lead vocal ability, coupled with his dedication to his craft, it was just the right move to help propel the band to the next level. Shortly thereafter, The band's bassist decided to abruptly leave with upcoming performance dates only days away. Steve and Nikki were at an impasse and pulled out all the stops in an effort to find a bassist on extremely short notice. That's when Harry mentioned a friend that he used to play in a couple previous bands with, years ago. That friend was Chip Mills. Steve and Nikki gave Harry the green light to contact Chip and see if he might be interested. As it turned out, Harry made the call and the timing was perfect. Although Chip is also a multi-instrumentalist, he had been on the road as the lead vocalist fronting his all original rock band, touring for 20 years and opening shows for Cheap Trick, Starship, Survivor, The Producers, Edgar Winter, ELP, Molly Hatchet, The Outfield, and many others, as well as spending days on end in recording studios writing songs for his own projects and collaborating and producing music with Senoa Loren (Seduction), Jimi Jameson (Survivor), Prince, .38 Special, Xavier Naidoo (aka Kobra), and more. Chip got the call from Harry whereby, Harry mentioned that the Rodeo Clowns had a performance date coming up in 3 days and they were desperate to find somebody who could come in and do the gig on bass. At that time, Chip explained that he had not touched a bass guitar in 7 years, but decided to do his pal a favor and accept the invitation as a one-off. That was in 2013. Chip immediately fell in love with the band, was received as if he was a family member, and has been with the band ever since.
By 2015, Nikki and her husband decided it was time to start a family of their own and brought two beautiful babies into the world. As much as Nikki wanted to continue with the band, being a new mother of two little toddlers and a dedicated wife took center stage, as it should! In order for the band to continue, Chip decided to step up and use his vast music industry experience to help Steve keep the band alive. Both Steve and Chip were uncertain of the future of The Rodeo Clowns without Nikki being a part of it. Shortly after Nikki's departure, the band also lost their drummer and vocalist, Fred, who felt it was time for him to pursue putting his own band together, singing lead vocals and playing lead guitar. Upon Fred's departure, along with knowing Nikki would be virtually impossible to replace, Steve and Chip embarked on a yearlong search and held many auditions, in an effort to find a worthy female vocalist and drummer. After several performances with various female vocalists that didn't really prove to be up to the task, the band was able to coax their longtime friend and virtuoso drummer, Al Rich into the fold. Once again, the future was looking bright. However, and unfortunately, much to the band's surprise, within a year, Harry decided it was time for him to move in a different direction as well; playing guitar and singing in a prog rock band. Then, yet another setback after Harry's departure had The Clowns' reeling. Their amazing drummer, Al Rich, suddenly relocated to Central Florida and could no longer keep his commitment to being the band's full time drummer. It was a trying time for Steve and Chip. It was paramount to find a female vocalist who could hold her own as a member of The Rodeo Clowns, but they also found themselves needing a lead guitarist and drummer. Steve and Chip's search was proving futile and they were beginning to consider reconfiguring the band with Chip switching over to lead guitar, finding a new bass player and drummer, and going a different direction without a female vocalist.
Although Nikki was still graciously making herself available for sparse performances from time to time, it wasn't enough to keep the band afloat. Thus, Harry and Al's departure in 2016. Beyond frustrated, Steve and Chip were considering taking a break from the band for a while. However, Steve decided to do one more internet blast in search of a female vocalist. Then, as fate would have it, enter Alexandra Nevin ("Allie"). Low and behold, within a couple days, Allie responded to the ad, an audition was set, Allie arrived, and within a few bars into the first song, Steve and Chip were smiling at each other. The stars had aligned. Allie's friendly personality, beautiful voice, amazing pitch control, and sultry presence sealed the deal. Without hesitation, Steve and Chip offered Allie the gig on the spot. She accepted and The Clowns were back on track. With the main ingredients in place, Steve and Chip were still faced with the daunting tasks of finding the right lead guitarist and drummer. As auditions for lead guitarists and drummers were held, and with many performances featuring various guest musicians progressed over the next year, the band was clearly back in the saddle and performing better than ever.
The Rodeo Clowns have painstakingly gone through various member changes over the years, and one could say it's been quite a rodeo (pun intended). That being said, after careful consideration and many sleepless nights, Chip eventually mentioned to Steve ..."we are not the same band anymore; I think it's high time for a name change". Chip mentioned that he had been considering "Rodeo Deluxe". He said... "it still carries our modern country rock vibe that you and Nikki started back in 2006, and that's always been the soul of who we are, what we've done, and where we've been...our roots; but it also conveys the new updated improved version that we have not enjoyed since the days when Nikki was with us fulltime." Steve thought it over for a bit and fully agreed; and now, the Rodeo continues as Rodeo Deluxe! When you catch a Rodeo Deluxe live performance you will see Steve, Chip, and Allie, along with two or more world class supporting musicians and occasionally a guest appearance by Nikki. Make sure to check the Band Members page for the various musicians that will be guest appearing on live performances.
RODEO DELUXE is:
Steve Couch - Lead/Backing Vocals and Guitar
Chip Mills - Lead/Backing Vocals and Bass Guitar
Allie Nevin - Lead/Backing Vocals and occasional Percussion Devices
The critically acclaimed Rodeo Deluxe is always well received, and has gained local support by building a large, dedicated following. Don’t miss this band on your next night out. Keep checking the Calendar, at this site, to see where they are performing next!