Like most Italian boys who grew up in South Philly, my early years were spent playing street hockey and baseball. My earliest musical recollections were of my mom and dad listening to Frank Sinatra as well as Frankie Valley, Fabian and Louis Prima. I loved all their music.
The Beatles entered my life when I was still in High School. They made such an important impression on me that I remember feeling that music could be a significant part of my life. My favorite Beatle was always John Lennon. I loved his music, especially the melodies for their originality and, of course, the lyrics.
Christmas 1996 was a pivotal day in my life. I was 15 years old and I'll remember that day the rest of my life. My mom and dad surprised me with my first guitar. It was the sexiest guitar I ever saw, and it smelled so beautiful. I was hooked! As I slowly learned to play, I realized that the guitar was much more to me than just an instrument. It was a way for me to easily communicate with people. My first performance was at a high school assembly where I played the "Star Spangled Banner". I used my teeth to play a couple of passages. The kids loved it.
I lived to write songs--lots of songs. I even wrote songs for a musical; some I thought were pretty good. I was 16 years old and had a lot to learn. The songs eventually got better. Creating them was liberating for me. Almost every song I write now is about a little piece of my life. I imagine many songwriters write songs the same way.
Completing the 10 songs for "Play On," my first album, was great fun but really hard work. The songs were produced in three studios. The album was put together at the MilkBoy Recording Studios where Tommy Joyner also produced several of the songs. A great deal of time was spent with the MilkBoy folks who also worked with me on at least five more songs. The album was then mastered at MilkBoy Studios. I owe much to them.
Five of the 10 songs were produced with the invaluable help of Scot Sax at his studio in Ardmore, PA. Working with Scot was a great learning experience for me. It opened my eyes to how much I still had to learn. It was truly a fun time. Lastly, I can't forget to credit Alfred James, who beautifully produced two of the songs at his studio in Ardmore, PA. (There's lots of music going on in Ardmore!!)
The album release show, at Ardmore's MilkBoy Coffee House venue, was a great success with a standing room only crowd.