I met Tony Basillicato in 1980. Tony had just returned from Hollywood where he had worked as a puppeteer on the first Muppet Movie. We quickly became friends and Tony was a favorite special guest performer at my shows. Eventually people wanted to hire the two of us together, and "KrackerBeat" was off and running. Not everyone who saw our show will remember Tony - he's such a great puppeteer, he meant to be "invisible"! But they will never forget Mildew, Julius LaGrossa, Grandpa and the many other characters that he created. Years afterwards some fans would say to me, "I laughed so hard at that 'Big Green Frog'...". That's 2/3 right! They were big, often green, but they were Trolls not Frogs!! I guess a lot more drinking was done back then! So, for over a decade I enjoyed having a Solo Career AND a Musical-Comedy Act going on at the same time...it was all a lot of fun! I'm happy to say that I am still having lots of fun, along with everyone who comes to my shows!
You can find more videos of KrackerBeat on the "Vintage Videos" page.
Goin' Upwas my first LP released in 1987. Fans just couldn't wait for the vinyl to come out so we (TNA Records) put it out on cassette. The cassettes sold well but the vinyl didn't; vinyl was out, cassettes were popular and most people still didn't have CD players. Lyrics for the title song were written by Janet Vollenhals & I wrote the music. I'm playing and singing all the parts.
The lead guitar on A Sixties Song is played by Cub Koda ( From Brownsville Station- Mr. Smokin' In The Boy's Room)
What is MIDI? It stands for "Musical Instrument Digital Interface". It means that all the keyboards, drum machines etc. no matter who manufactured them would all work together.
Putting together a song with all it's parts this way was no quick and easy task! It could take up to 10 hours to put together a 3 minute song.
In 1985 I started to transform my act to MIDI. I even added more lights and controlled them through a MIDI controller. Take a look at the video to the right filmed by my good friend Tony Damian. I put this song together and played all the parts.
As time went on Karaoke became more and more popular. Now, people would look at what I had been doing all along and say "Oh, it's Karaoke"! Also, many musicians who had bands became single & duo MIDI acts. The market was changing! DJ's became more and more popular; Karaoke and MIDI acts were everywhere. And while the market was filling with more and more acts, the number of performing venues were on the decline. Mom and Pop restaurants and bars were becoming less popular - Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Chilies, Ruby Tuesdays, Applebees etc. were everywhere - restaurants that don't have entertainment!
It's time to re-invent the act!
And that's just what I've done. If you'd like to read more go to: What I Do