I was born in New York City and grew up in the Bronx in the 1960's. My first musical influence was my Uncle Willie, a singer/guitarist who would perform at the drop of a hat (songs like "Old Man Tucker", "You Are My Sunshine" and "Coming Round the Mountain"). Around that time I saw The Beatles first performance on the ED Sullivan Show; it has been said that millions of musicians were spawned that night and I was one of them. Though I begged for guitar lessons, I ended up taking piano lessons with a bitter woman who would bang my fingers down on the keyboard when I made a mistake. For home practice, I had only a piece of cardboard with a picture of a piano keyboard on it. We eventually got an Eminee organ with an "air blowing" motor that sounded like a cheap accordion. Needless to say my piano career was very short. I started taking guitar lessons with a little old man with a gigantic thumbnail. I assume he used it for a pick, though I can't recall ever seeing him play. I hadn't mastered much more than "Jingle Bells" when my family moved to New Jersey, where my guitar, an "Egmond" sat in the corner of my room for the next two years.I eventually joined a band. I couldn't play one chord, but I met the sole qualification of owning a guitar. I learned to play by figuring out one song at a time, mostly Beatles, Stones and Monkees. I even ended up playing bass for a while. I used to read the bass notes in treble clef, which means that every note you play is wrong. It wasn't long before I was back on guitar and I bought my first electric instrument, a "Zen On", purchased from my friend Kenny for $12.00. That's us on the back cover of the Cheap Guitars CD, with me playing the Zen On and Kenny playing his new Kingston... My dream at the time was to get a Fender Princeton Reverb Amp; over the next year I saved my paper route money until I could buy one. I still have that Princeton and it still sounds great. For a while I used a screaming hundred watt Traynor amp with six ten inch speakers, which is probably the reason I am half deaf in my left ear. I continued to develop as a guitarist and I decided to pursue music more seriously in college. I also studied privately with Lou Sabini for the next six years. Lou was a jazz cat with a goatee and I was a long haired rocker. I learned theory, chords, scales, reading and how to solo on a jazz tune. I practiced up to six hours a day, began teaching guitar lessons and joined an established band called "Alias". I was hired to be second lead guitarist next to Don Heddy from Allendale NJ. Donny was a smoking lead player, slide player and a real character. Also hired in "Alias" was Larry Kasica on bass and vocals.Larry was the guy who got me into my first band back in 1967 so I owe a lot to him. My guitar would still be sitting in the corner if it wasn't for him. Alias was a good bar band that covered songs by Little Feat, Steely Dan and The Allman Brothers. I played with them until I moved to Los Angeles in 1979. In LA I made very little money, though I played in several bands, including one that came close to being signed by Mercury Records. A top A&R guy came to about ten of our gigs. At first he had high praise and instilled in us confidence we would be signed.Gradually he came to criticize every aspect of the band, causing tension among members and the rift that eventually broke up the band. After four years in LA I became disgusted with the scene and moved back to New Jersey. I decided at that point that I would play music for the love of it and not for fame and fortune. Once back in New Jersey I re-formed Alias and continued to play with them for twenty years. I also played in other bands over the years. Ron Cartel (Cartelemi) got me hooked up with some gigs playing with great musicians. I got to play with Tom "Bones" Malone from The Blues Brothers, Wilbur Bascomb from Jeff Beck "Wired", Tim Capelli from The Tina Turner Band and Danny Dreyar who played with Doctor John. I was hired to play slide along side Danny who is a great blues player. Funny thing about my slide playing, I never practiced it, but for some reason that's what I am always recognized for. In 2000, I acquired some recording equipment from a friend and was able to set up a studio in my house. Around this time I started playing acoustic gigs with Laura Gardner. Before long, Sandy Bandes and Don Gardner joined to form "Lemon Isis", playing all acoustic original and cover songs. We released a CD, which I recorded and co-produced. Though I hate open mics, my friend "Pete the Rat" talked me into attending one in 2002. As fate would have it, we ended up playing with an extremely talented young singer-songwriter and another band was born, "Michelle Vecchione and Vintage Blue". Back in the studio I recorded and produced Michelle's CD "My Reign". In 2003, I joined Captain Mike and the Flamethrowers Band and now divide my time between Vintage Blue and the Flamethrowers. I keep a fairly busy teaching schedule as well. In 2006 I finished my first solo CD, "Cheap Guitars".The CD features six original compositions of mine along with four covers. It's all instrumental and features guitar on every song. It's hard to classify, so I just call it guitar music.
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