Johnny D & The Moonlighters interview

Posted by admin On August - 14 - 20171,700 views
Where are you from?
The whole band is based in western Massachusetts in the US.

How and when did you start?
I attempted to put the band together about three years ago but it was difficult finding people that wanted to play this type of music or even understood what it was all about. It was quite the ordeal and became very frustrating. I eventually came to the decision that this would have to be a studio band. At least for now. So I found some great players who knew what this was about but do to other commitments wouldn’t be able to actually form a band to go out and play gigs.
Describe your music style.
Rock and Roll from the fifties and early sixties. All of the covers we do are from that time period and the original tunes are pretty faithful to it as well. Anything from doo wop to rockabilly to novelty tunes. Just great music from that era. Anything pre-British Invasion.
How did your love for this music start?
I was 3 years old and my Aunt had “Meet The Beatles” and I couldn’t get enough of it. The Beatles were, and are, everything. Then The Monkees showed up in my living room once a week, then The Archies, The Hardy Boys and The Partridge Family. I was a pop culture kid who loved it all. But at the same time, my Mother had Elvis and Everly Brothers records that resonated equally as much with me. It was all Top 40 music and I didn’t see the difference between the eras. They were just great songs. Then I think I may have been about 8 years old and caught “Jailhouse Rock” on TV. Now it was all Elvis all the time for me. My childhood was just all music. And then as time went on I realized the total impact artists of the fifties had on The Beatles and it all became connected for me. Oh, and my Father would always be singing songs from the fifties when we’d be in the car driving somewhere. That was a lot of fun.
Who did influence you?
All of the above. I think all of them had an equal part in me becoming a musician. The Beatles are the obvious answer because they had the first impact on me but I also have vivid memories of listening to Hardy Boys albums and just staring at the covers for hours wondering who these magical people were and how did they do what they did.
Do you write your own songs?
Yes. I have for many years. And a new album of original material will be recorded early in 2018. All with the same style and feel of early rock and roll.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I write about me and my life and experiences. We’ve all heard it a million times: write about what you know. And I try to do that.
Do you write together?
The album we’ll record next year will be all written by me but I hope after that a band will form and the writing will become much more of a collaboration.
Tell us about your latest cd.
It’s called “Playing Favorites” And Chuck Berry and The Everly Brothers are well represented! I found a great studio in Amherst, MA called Motif Music Recording Studio run by Doug Hewitt. He produced the record and was drafted as a performing “Moonlighter”. Alex Meisner on sax, Danielle Lorenzo on vocals, Glen Stegner on piano and Joe Fitzpatrick on drums. This was the brilliant unit that Doug put together and who became The Moonlighters for this record. I started out playing in the seventies music that was fine but wasn’t really to my liking. The time had finally come to do what I had always wanted to do and so The Moonlighters were born.
What are your do’s and don’ts on stage?
Be on time, be professional and know your audience. You can’t lose if you remember those things. Oh, did I mention be on time?
What’s important, musical quality or stage fun?
The ideal is both. And it’s been proven that it can be done so I think that’s what you always have to strive for.
Do you like other styles than rock and roll?
Yes. I just love great songs. It’s just all about the song. That’s why different eras of music blend together for me because a great song will always take the day.
Is there an artist you would like to work with in the future?
Well, I can’t wait to get back in the studio and make more magic with Doug Hewitt. Just an amazing musician and producer. My ultimate dream, and I hope to make this come true in the near future, is to work with Reed Kailing. He was the leader of The Hardy Boys and was a huge influence on me. He also had a good run with The Grass Roots. He’s become a great friend and we have to record together some day.
Where would you like to play?
The plan is to record and album early in 2018, shoot some videos and have a real, permanent performing band. At that point, we’ll play anywhere that they will have us. It will be a great joy to have a band together so playing this style of music anywhere will be cool.
Tell us a fun story about your band or gig?
After doing this for so many years there are too many stories to tell about gigs. When you are out in the world playing music everything happens. And it may be boring but the fun story about this band is that it was just such a pleasant and gratifying experience recording this record. Great players, great people and right at the top of my musical journey.
Do you regret anything?
My only regret would be that I didn’t commit to the music I love earlier in my life. When I started all my peers were playing Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, etc. and I just went along for the ride. Really just happy to have people to play with but I should have taken a different road. It took me some time but I finally arrived.
What are you future plans?
The big one is to have a permanent band. And by this time next year that will be the case. Along with a new album of original tunes.
Finish this sentence: We will never, ever…
…lose our passion for the rock and roll that has informed our entire lives. I’ve finally come home to where I always should have been. And thank you for the opportunity to answer all these great questions.


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