Influences range from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin to Speed Racer, The three stooges and the Little Rascals.
Mel discovered a love for playing rock and roll in the early 80's when he joined the Living Past (an original band formed at the Rancocas Valley high school). From there Mel's musical aspirations took a back seat, but his black acoustic was always near by and played often for personal enjoyment.
In '97 Mel joined an acoustic act called Acoustic Sauce, since then has played with You,Lou & Who, Dot Com This! and The HAZBINZ.
Mel has a wide vocal range and an ability to cover many styles of music. His Led Zeppelin covers are pretty amazing.
Mel has said "as long as my hands let me I will play guitar and as long as I have a voice I will sing" On many a rocking night Mel will be found playing his acoustic for every one in between sets. With the energy of the energizer bunny and the memory of an elephant(he knows all the words) Mel just wants to Rock Your World.
To say I have been playing a long time is a understatement. I like to think that I am younger in heart and mind than my age reflects. Having experienced five decades of performing music for others, one might say ,”How is that possible”? As I continue to perform, I embrace change, and grow acknowledging the talent and youth of what will be tomorrow’s rising stars.
I took my first lesson at ten years old. From day one, I was hooked instantaneously. The fact that I enjoyed guitar was no surprise because there was a chain of musicians in my family. My father played mandolin and banjo and my mom and grandmother both played piano. They are responsible for who I became today. They supported me in private lessons for several years ongoing. I studied all of Chet Akins books ,some of Mel bays, various teachers came and went through those years. I played my first live performance in 8th grade, and performed at dances , clubs, events in high schools, at McGuire AFB, and Fort Dix with THE MYSTICS and ARAGON.
After Graduating High school , I performed at some of the biggest Clubs and Venues up and down the east coast for about ten years full time. The Penalty Box, Art Stocks Play Pen, The Satellight, Tony Marts, T. Zodiac, The D- 13, and The Carnival Room. The bands I was a part of then were ARAGON, CHASE, DRIVER, and ARCHER .We opened for the area’s top club bands and sometimes, we were the main attraction also. Back then, we were playing on the same stages as Foghat, Bruce Springsteen,10 Years After, Steppenwolf, and Savoy Brown- just to name a few. We played seven nights a week at the Satellight Lounge as ARAGON and in the band DRIVER, I remember picking up Joe Perry’s set list, tossing it in the trash as we were setting up, and being so happy that STARSHIP took our slot on a Wednesday night so we had a night off. Those were the days hundreds of people (sometimes over a thousand) attended depending on the venue. Back then, you thought you had the potential to “make it” doing this. Those days are gone and the club scene isn’t even a fragment these days of what was then.
At this point, I was thirty years old and I was playing in a band called ARCHER. We were playing a lot of Genesis, Styx , Police, and Cars. After playing music so much and playing at the Jersey Shore I fell asleep at 3:00 P.M. in the afternoon in the parking lot and walked into the doctor’s office one hour late thinking, “I am on time”? It was then I realized it’s time to quit band life, and get a real job. The whole band scene was changing anyway. Disco took out a lot of the shows, Eddie Van Halen blew everyone’s minds with his playing ( how I wish I had You Tube then). So I got a real job turning wrenches (like Jeff Beck) and hung up the electric guitar to only sit around and play acoustic at home. I turned off the radio, and turned into the stereotypical “Mr. family guy”.
Another ten years go by. I overhear a fellow worker talking about how he’s got this great singer and guitarist and can’t find a bass player. I say, “ Look I don’t play bass, but I can probably help you out till you get someone”. From there, I became the bassist for the band LOVE DRIVE.
Three years later and I am still the bass player for LOVE DRIVE - A Scorpions Tribute act. Changes and not many shows resulted in my calling back to playing guitar. During that time, I started working with David St James , renaming LOVE DRIVE into STAGE III working with Tony Marinari , Singer Rick Prieda , Mixed Blood and Suzette Dorsey. Rick and I began working a lot in the studio with Ed Robbins, (where I met a lot of friends, including my adopted brother, Chuck Mcrory) and we all did a lot of song writing.
Several years later I am 104 years old (just kidding, I was actually in my forties).I take on a job doing the monitor mix for Bob Leese (soundman for the Galaxy) and end up working under him for the band Wicked Cricket. About sixty shows a year for three years straight. The experience of working with Wicket Cricket eventually lead me to start a small sound company of my own. As I was starting up my own sound company, I joined the band RYPTYDE and near the end of a potential disbandment, I was offered a temporary position to play guitar with The Jimmie Van Zant band . My Friend and former bassist ( Mike Walker) had been playing with Jimmie about a year when I received the call. Even though the offer was only for a short period time, I still consider it to be a one of the best times I have had.
After working with Van Zant, I worked with Lori Lampkin. We worked on her originals, we played out as a duo playing at all kinds of crazy venues and places, we were even on two radio shows live, and did a show in Rochester N.Y. for the fallen soldiers in Iraq (that is also one of my fondest moments in playing). Around this time frame, I got into a country band called SNEAKIN AROUND with Steve Mullinary. It was six months of “boot scooting boogie” and the likes was a whole new experience.
The next four years, I elected to be the guitarist in the Hazbinz. I was out looking for a new band to join when I auditioned up at the “ The Barn”. At the end, I had my doubts about joining and was leaving when Julie (the lead singer) asked me to join. I didn’t really have any intentions but Julie had a way about her. From there, I turned into a Hazbinz. There were a lot of really great times with the band that I will never forget. Although in the end, cancer took Julie away and left everyone numb. To me, death was not a new face in the crowd, it was very familiar. It was the third time I lost a friend and band mate to death.
As of now, I have moved onto Dodging Mirrors (which consists of most of the original members from the Hazbinz). Dodging Mirrors has immense intentions to be a great success in the music business. On the side, the lead singer and guitar player of Dodging Mirrors (Mel) and I have paired up playing venues acoustically , delivering some original songs and covers. We have been having a lot fun and creating a bit of a buzz out wherever we go. I hope this lends some insight about me. Stop over and say hi the next time I am out and about and maybe share some past memories.
I was always fascinated with music. I would often wake up earIy and get into mom and dad’s record collection. That happened often until I broke the stereo system. It was then that I proceeded to bang on everything in the house I could get my hands on. Mom and dad bought me a snare drum around age 8 to “focus” my energy. My first live performance was as “The Little Drummer Boy” in my grade school Christmas play. I even had a backup/assistant just in case I dropped a stick or chickened out. I took lessons in grade school from 5th grade to 8th grade. My instructor was my neighbor Jimmy Quaile. His whole family was a musical family that still performs to this day.
My passion for drumming and music continued through grade school and into high school. I joined every high school band project I could. Marching band, Orchestra, Stage Band, Jazz Band…you name it. I joined my first rock band at 17, Bad Attitude, a cover band with my good friend Stevie Bunten and continued with him in many bands over the years…Prodigal Sun, Damn Dirty Ape, and Glare. These were all original bands . It wasn’t until I met The Hazbinz that I decided to get into a cover band once again. The original thing was great but it took lots of time and effort creating and arranging our songs. I really wanted an outlet to play continuously so the cover band seemed a great choice. I needed to learn about 4 hours of cover tunes in a very short time. I was originally brought into The Hazbinz to run the soundboard but was never given the opportunity because I was quickly promoted to full time drummer. The Hazbinz went through a number of drummers before I arrived but from what I am told, I was the best of the bunch. Nobody really said that but I’d like to think it. LOL.
Now the new band…Dodging Mirrors…A name that Mel came up with. First I was a Hazbinz, now I’m Dodging Mirrors. Flattery will get you nowhere. We are hoping to take the band to bigger and better things. New music, Old music, New Friends, Old Friends. We want to make a Dodging Mirrors show one big party. Your all invited!