I began my professional career at age 14, playing drums and singing at private parties and nightclubs throughout the Tri-State area. After high school, I entered Montclair State University as a Music Education major, and also began studying with renowned drummer and technician Joe Morello, as he became my mentor and friend. In February of 1973, I became one of Frankie Vallis celebrated Four Seasons, touring the world and playing for hundreds of thousands of people. My recordings with the group became worldwide hits, including œWho Loves You", œSilver Star", on which I sang lead vocal and becoming a #1 record in England for three weeks, and most notably, œDec. '63, Oh, What A Night", on which I played drums and sang lead vocal, becoming a world-wide #1 record. The song is the greatest selling record for the Four Seasons and the longest running hit single on "Billboard's Hot 100". While with The Four Seasons, I recorded with various artists in New York and Los Angeles, recording drums for television shows (i.e. The White Shadow and The Rockford Files), commercials, original artist projects, and worked as musical director on a series of Barry Manilow television specials. In 1990, I retired from The Four Seasons and returned to New Jersey, where I completed my Music Education degree at Montclair State University. Upon graduation, I began teaching music in New Providence, NJ, where I taught for twenty years, while continuing to perform in the Tri-State area. I also became a founding member of the group "The Hit Men", touring the country while still teaching music. I retired from teaching in 2015, and now reside in Florida with my beautiful bride, native Floridian Rhea Chiles, and continue my passion for music, teaching, advocacy for the arts, and children's needs with my wife.
Most memorable Next-Level PerformanceWhile with the Four Seasons, I played a drum solo at Madison Square Garden. The 30,000 people in attendance hooped and hollered during my solo and were really into it. Playing in large rock venues inspired me to create better, more imaginative solos and always tried to keep the audience into it.
What Drives Your Creativity?The "process" of maintaining my skills and reaching for more out of my playing has always been a driving force for me. Listening to all types of music and drumming, and being inspired by listening to the master drummers of our time and earlier times, lets me know that I'm an individual and what I do is unique.
Why do you choose Vic Firth?I choose Vic Firth because of the "consistentency" of their manufacturing of sticks and other paraphernalia. There is never a question as to what I'm getting when I order equipment with the Vic Firth name on it.