New Year Ramblings By Vito Ciccarelli

Written by on January 10, 2022

I woke up recently and realized that I’ve spent the past 53 years in the music business. Holy Keith Richards Batman!! 

   I’ve been lucky enough to have worked over the years as a player, manager, event organizer, promoter, and radio host. The only thing I missed is manning the sound board (no easy task), and I’m smart enough to leave that chore to pro’s like Bill Reinhart, Rocco Mazzarello, John Chiara, Greg Gamache, Jayme Albin, Leo Bouchard, and Pat Parvis. Having the opportunity to work with many extremely talented local artists, along with some music industry giants, I’ve truly been blessed in life.

  A long parade of 518 music legends have marched through my career. Most genuine, some phony, but all extremely talented. Having spent 25 years on stage myself, I fully understand the grind. You work a regular job, and after a 40 hour week, you’re asked to now go entertain folks till two in the morning. Like I said, it’s a long haul that the average person doesn’t understand. The really sad part of today’s music scene, is that most musicians are making less than I did in my heyday of the 70’s & 80’s. Most folks don’t understand what goes into preparing for a gig. You don’t just roll in, plug in and play. If you’re doing it correctly, there’s an incredible amount of prep time involved. From equipment maintenance, rehearsals, loading in, loading out, and all of the unexpected roadblocks that always seem to hit you at the last minute.

   One of the hardest things you face after working in the business for so many years, is the losses. Not money, but the people. For me, it seems I lose drummers I’m close with. Over the past decade alone, Joe Montepare, Joe Rocco, Josh Bloomfield, and most recently, Gino Nistico – gone in a heartbeat. They’re sitting on your stage one minute, and then an empty hole, with only your memories left. I’m proud of the fact that I was able to have produced the final gigs for both Rocco (Out of Control Rhythm & Blues) and Bloomfield (Soul Serenade). Emotional shows to say the least, knowing that they both had little time left on this Earth.

   Through it all, there’s been so many uplifting performances, and truly magical moments I’ve been part of. Whether it was talking music at a White Castle in Pittsburgh with the late Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve Gaines of Skynard in ‘75, having a few drinks with Elvis Costello in Saratoga, or producing shows for groups like Southside Johnny, and Molly Hatchet, it’s been one hell of an interesting ride. But believe it or not, some of my favorite experiences have been producing regional shows. Many are completely oblivious of the fact that the 518 has some pretty incredible performers. I remember my friend Frank Annunziata, who has played, and toured with many of the top musicians in the world, telling me that he’s never seen so much talent in one area, after doing a gig at Revolution Hall.

  Over the years, I’ve produced 100’s of concerts, and the best part of all that for me, are the bands, and the characters that I’ve crossed paths with. Guy’s like Tommy Love go into a gig on a mission to entertain, and leave it all on the stage. Groups like Blue Hand Luke, Legend, Emerald City, The Accents, Skeeter Creek, the Refrigerators, Ten Most Wanted, and so many more always make me look smart. Music is my lifeblood, it’s what I live for. The fun, excitement, the roar of the crowd, and a great performance are what push my buttons. Radio fills that void during the winter months. Being at RadioRadiox for the past two years has rekindled the passion I had in the beginning. Working with pro’s like Jim Barrett, Rob Smittix, and Art Fredette, inspires me to take my show to another level. The vibe at the X is strong, and many in our music community have taken notice. We’re by far the strongest supporter of the 518 music scene, and will continue to do so as we grow. Many forget that this station is only three years old. It’s gotten as far as it has because of multiple factors – but in the end, it boils down to the hard work of station owner Artie, who kept us afloat during those difficult days of 2020. 

   For 2022, look for the X to be involved with plenty of live shows. Our banner will be flying proudly at a surprising number of local concerts, street festivals, and major shows. We’re committed to putting RadioRadioX in front of the local line, and promise to continue bringing #RadioMagic into everyone’s homes, cars, and phones. Happy New Year to all, and to all a RadioRadioX night!!!

Tommy Love was not harmed in the composition of this column.

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