Musicians Come and Go But Great Music Lives On
I can’t remember who it was that first made that comment but it is certainly very true. I wanted to create this website to remember some of the talented musicians or bands who we have enjoyed so much over the years but for one reason or another they have dissapeared from the stage.
These may be local bands such as John Salamone Band who have been playing to their local followers in Towns or Cities throughout America or they could be highly sought after bands or musicians who have been playing to global audiences throughout the World. At times it seems to me that in many cases we only remember
the tragic cases where a popular figure has died from illness or been tragically killed in an accident. Obviously there are the big names like Elvis Presley(The King) who died on August 16, 1977. Several years of prescription drug abuse severely damaged his health, and he died at the age of 42. Elvis is still regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll”, or simply, “the King”. Elvis Presley is said to be one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of the 20th century. Commercially successful in many genres, including pop, blues and gospel, he is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music.
Buddy Holly is another young singer who died tragically in an Aircrash on the night of February 2, 1959, he was only 22 at the
time and although he was popular for only a short time his brand of music and his trade mark hiccup when changing tempo helped to make his music stand out. He was barely out of high school when he opened for Elvis Presley in 1955 and he toured around the states tirelessly until the accident which killed him.
Then there is Jimi Hendrix who died from a drug overdose on September 18, 1970. He was only 27 years old when he died in his girlfriends flat in Notting Hill, London. the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music” But his talent with the Guitar still inspires many kids to pick up a guitar and learn to play, but his music too, still remains popular and you can hear his tracks being played on a daily basis wherever you are. In fact there are many days where you can hear these three examples of Popular or Rock Legends who have been taken before there time, but the cause of any band splitting up doesn’t have to be tragic. Bands can stop playing music together for any reason not just the tragic ones. It is just that a tragic death will always take priority over an amicable departure. It’s as though we have been cheated out of one of our heroes, so we feel the need to immortalise them along with their music.
The John Salamone Band are an example of a band who simply disbanded by choice back in 2012 for reasons of their own, but I’m sure that their fans in and around Philadelphia will still miss them just the same. John Salamone was also known for his Guitar and Vocals, you can sea and hear a couple of clips from youtube below.
Johnny “Guitar” Salamone, guitar, vocals
Born in 1950, “J-Sal” (a.k.a. Johnny ‘Guitar’ Salamone) hails from the Northern-NJ Township of Belleville, where he spent most of his musical youth.
Johnny hungered for rock ‘n roll.. the young-‘John Salamone’ set-out to teach himself how to really play the music of his passion and pretty soon joined forces with similar minded kids “The Del-Rays”. They preferred to play a mix of Ventures, Jr. Walker & The All-Stars and Motown-classics. They also scored a few gigs at their local school and CYO dances, as well as other parties and battles-of-the-bands.
By the time John reached high school in the early ’60s, he’d honed his craft well-enough to be sought-out by several-different local-music-groups. The musical-menu was comprised of mostly Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, James Brown and other R & B-hits… For a time, some typical-distractions of ‘the teenage-years’; sports, girls and cars distracted him, but that changed in August of 1969 when young-Johnny attended the iconic Woodstock Music and Arts Festival in upstate New York… Upon his return-home from Bethel, Johnny decided to add the word ‘Guitar’ to his name… It was ‘Rock ‘n Roll’ from that-point on.
Over the next several years, ‘J-Sal’ continued to self-educate, courtesy of the collective-inspirations of Eric Clapton, The Allman Brothers and Carlos Santana, to name but a few. He learned not-only their classic ‘licks and tricks’, but also worked-constantly to improve and develop his ‘tone’. At about the same time, John enrolled in engineering school, attending NJIT; but the desire to become a ‘full-time-rocker’ won-out. Much to his (previously-encouraging) Father’s-chagrin, John left the classroom… and headed for the stage, teaming up with the band ‘East Coast’, which toured all-around the tri-state area, concentrating predominantly on the Greenwood-Lake club-scene.
By the early ’70s, ‘Johnny-Guitar’ had played with more local and touring bands than he could remember. A few that he CAN recall are; Bobby Dee and The Dream band, which performed on the Murray the ‘K’ oldies-tour circuit. One personal-highlight for John was getting to play with Sam the Sham (Woolly-Bully) at the famed Stanley-Warner Theater in Jersey City, NJ. Says John, “It was one of the most exciting gigs I ever did. The place was packed, the sound system was great and Sam was a fantastic showman”. Sam gave JS a generous-lot of solo-spots that evening, allowing him to… “just let it rip”. He had a blast!
Shortly thereafter, in 1976, Mr. Salamone joined The Max Romeo Band, a reggae group that toured as the opening-act for the legendary Peter Tosh. While with the Romeo-outfit, John got to perform at some legendary venues, including The Palladium in New York City, The Capitol Theatre in Passaic and The Park-West in Chicago. All very-thrilling for a young man of 26… After just 6-intense-months on ‘perpetual-tour’ with Max, John decided ‘get off the bus’ to mellow-out a bit.
Working-out as a solo-act, JS hit the local-pubs and taverns for a couple of years… but he soon-tired of playing alone. He joined the club-date band, “The Blast”, in 1980. At one-point, this ensemble was grinding-out over 100 wedding-gigs a year! Jokingly, John muses, “Sometimes, I wonder how many of those couples are still together”… After a 10 year-residency with The Blast, Johnny ‘Guitar’ decided he needed a break… and transformed himself into Johnny-‘Golf’, for a short-time (he claims his game STILL needs a lot of work).
Soon-thereafter, a long-stint ensued with the classic-rock outfit ‘Midlife Crisis’ (that lasted over 20 years, starting in the early-90s). John then-decided that it was time to get-back to crafting his own music compositions. In the Fall of 2013, after a 33+ year hiatus since his previous studio-effort, John rang-up his old pal Glenn Taylor at Taylor-Made Productions/Recording. The two had collaborated on a ‘JS-original’ project in 1980… Once-again, they were laying-down tracks together. GT was so impressed with John’s musical-diversity all these years later, that the offer to join-forces in ‘The Kootz ‘was tendered… Johnny-‘Guitar’ accepted, proclaiming; “This is gonna-be GREAT!”… ‘The Kootz’ think so too!!!
The main information was taken from an article here entitled The Kootz
John is happily-married to his lovely wife Diana and they now reside in Nutely, NJ with their grandson Justin.