Wade Curtiss may not be the first rock & roll hero on everybody's lips when it comes time to granting lip service to the music's early pioneers. But he personified the D.I.Y. spirit of the music better than most who came in his wake. Spending his entire life in a wheelchair with his hands and arms severely deformed, Curtiss taught himself to play rock & roll on a converted steel guitar and formed his first band, the Rhythm Rockers, in the late '50s. Forming a partnership with part-time wrestler-singer Dixie Dee, the two released a spate of rockin' singles on various labels and solidly worked the Buffalo, NY area, establishing themselves as one of the top bands there. But in one of the stranger turns in rock & roll history, Wade took his show business acumen and reinvented himself as Dr. Master Curtiss, an "evil" wrestling manager. Wreaking havoc on his opponents in his motorized wheelchair, Curtiss stayed active in the wrestling world, resplendent in his gold pompadour wig and jewel-encrusted cane until his death in 1993 at the age of 50.
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