Rudi Protrudi was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Both he and his younger sister, Rene Laigo, inherited their artistic talent from parents, John and Janet. Rudi attended school in Camp Hill, Lemoyne and New Cumberland, where he graduated from Cedar Cliff High School in 1970. He attended York Academy of Art from 1971 to 1972. At the age of 12, after seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, Rock & Roll became his obsession. Through The Beatles, he became familiar with Chuck Berry, who quickly became his idol. Like Berry, Rudi chose guitar as his instrument, and by the age of 14 had formed his first band, King Arthur's Quart. He continued to play in local bands until 1976 when an audition for the Dead Boys provided him the opportunity to play bass for them at CBGBs. But a future with the Dead Boys was not his fate. Soon after he founded Tina Peel with then girlfriend/live-in partner, Deb O'Nair and they moved to New York in 1977, where their serious music careers started.
Tina PeelBubblegum-Punk band, formed in 1976. Rudi says, that this band was heavily influenced by The Monkees, Cryan' Shames, 1910 Fruitgum Company and Dave Clark 5. It is also Rudi's first band, where he performed as frontman. Rudi wrote or co-wrote the majority of the original material recorded by Tina Peel with then members Deb O'Nair, Jim Nastix and Jackson Plugs. Dave U. Hall (ex-bassist from Birdland with Lester Bangs) replaced Jim Nastix after his tenure with the band. Dave went under the name Rick O'Shea. Soon, they became a popular NYC attraction, often headlining the major clubs of the time (Hurrah, Irving Plaza, Ritz, CBGB), as well as appearing on several television shows, including the cult favorite, The Uncle Floyd Show. Even though the band was courted by major labels, and enjoyed frequent press, Tina Peel broke up when members Rudi Protrudi and Deb O'Nair went on to form The Fuzztones in 1980