|"I'll turn up the volume for any
Oldies or Classic rock & roll song!"
Born in 1960, Joe had an early influence of music in his life from his father who sang and played guitar.
And there was a player piano that he studied at home in Detroit for years. That sparked his love for the
keyboard. The family moved when he was 7 and Joe's beloved player piano had to be left behind.
Young Joe felt "deprived without the piano". Not being able to get it out of his system, he "practiced
chords on a toy keyboard." Twelve years later, his parents bought an electric console organ with
accompaniment, which Joe practiced on for hours at a time. Almost three years later, a younger brother
spent his entire bankroll to buy a slightly more portable electronic keyboard. Joe and two of his younger
brothers then began writing and recording songs in a makeshift studio in the attic of his parents' house.
Joe, his two brothers, a cousin, and a friend from up the street would later form Catalyst, an all-original
rock band that would begin gigging around Detroit in the mid-80's, continuing for the next 5 or 6 years.
But before Catalyst, there was Mondo Cane!
In January 1982, a friend of Joe's took him to see an oldies/Motown cover band at a local bar. Joe
immediately recognized the bass player, a classmate from electronics school, Joey Ramon. A week
later, Joe was playing keys with what would soon become a 7-piece band. Joe's stint in this lineup lasted
about 5 months, stopped for 3 years, during which gigs with Catalyst began, then resumed and lasted
another 2 years. Then came a gig with The Larados!
Mondo Cane and The Larados did a benefit gig just as the former were about to split up.
The Larados manager heard of this and asked Joe to audition for the keyboardist's spot, which had been
recently vacated. A week later, Joe had secured his place at the piano, and continued to play with the
Larados for just over eight years. During that time, Joe did sound engineering work, setting up PA
systems for various bands around the area. He eventually set up a recording studio in his own home, and
soon began recording original songs with Francisco Solano, the original guitarist with Mondo Cane.
This duo, as GNS, eventually put together 5 CD's of original music.
Late in 2000, Joe got a call to play keyboards with yet another oldies outfit, The Classics. Joe played
with this group for 4 years, during which time he was twice asked to play with LEGEND The Band! Not
wanting to create conflicts, Joe turned LEGEND The Band down at first, but late in 2003 he had a
'change of tune' and joined up. Little did he know what was in store for him! "I sang more in that first
year than I had in the previous twenty!" he laughs. Mastering the fine art of backup harmonies
became the main focus of the group from then on.
Joe has always 'sat in' with various bands/artists since 1995, but his main concern now is the success of
LEGEND The Band. "If this band keeps at it, the sky's the limit! The hard work over the last few
years has really streamlined it's sound, and things are really beginning to tighten up!"
When he is at the keyboard, Joe will talk to people with the accompaniment of his own music. It's
common for him to begin to tickle the ivories in-between songs on stage or during conversation at
rehearsals. There is a real passion between Joe and his keyboard - he makes the keys sing!
"I was 10 or 11 years old the first time I saw a live band up close in action. It fascinated me.
Being that close to a 'live' musician really peaked my interest."