Where He Got the Beat
Its in his genes - on his mothers side, to be exact. Johns moms great uncle was a Broadway pianist during the 20s and 30s; Johns grandfather, Vincent "Pinzy" Amen, was a well-known Pittsburgh-area mandolin player; and a cousin, Ron Anthony, played guitar in Frank Sinatras band for years.
Eric Burdon & The Animals
Sly & The Family Stone
Though I began writing and recording a little later in life (early forties). I have been blessed with tremendous encouragement from so many gifted people , especially producer Buddy Hall. Actually, when I first started working with Buddy in 2001 I was more then intimidated by his resume and the never ending stream of great musicians who graced his studio and my projects. Thanks to Buddy , Pittsburgh legends Pete Hewlett (Billy Joel – background vocals), Kenny Blake (sax), Ron Beitle (Wild Cherry – drums), Jim Britton ( Billy Price – keyboards), Tim Hadley (Businessmen – guitar), Tom Bellin (bass), Scott Anderson (keyboards), and John Parrendo (Henry Paul-violin) performed on many of our tracks.
I quickly discovered that the greater the talent , the nicer and more supportive they were. Speaking of nice people , no one was easier to work with then guitar virtuoso Reb Beach (Winger, White Snake, Alice Cooper, Bob Dylan, etc). Reb has a heart of gold to go with a wonderful sense of humor. What an honor to call Reb a friend. These great friends taught me to a valuable lesson. Music has an inherent kindness that reaches out to you – no matter who you are. All you have to do is open up and let it inside you. Music will guide you toward the path you seek.
My music career stems from a very strong musical influence from my maternal family. A large portion of content was written from my uncle, Anthony “Herb” Amen. Although he highlights his acting career, he is an accomplished musician, who mastered mandolins, banjos, saxophones, and various other instruments. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “root” as, “That from which anything derives origin, growth, or support, or life and vigor.” There is no doubt that the root of my passion for music is derived from my Mother’s side of the family, The Amen’s, from Pittsburgh’s historic Larimer Avenue section of East Liberty, were a family with a tremendous musical legacy dating back to the early 1900’s. Primarily of Italian descent, the Amen family had it’s share of characters and gangsters, but it was always best known for producing great musicians.