From the flesh-and-blood demons I’ve tussled with, one whom took me off their CDs and another refused to acknowledge the 2 1/2 years of toil and tears I put into trying to help her career (to the point of harassing me into removing all references to her), to the Angels Of Asbury whom I shared stages with and whose memories are immortalized on plaques on that great music-city-by-the-sea’s boardwalk.
From the high school dances at St Rose and Ocean Twp, to the stages of the Clearwater Festival back in its heyday, to the stages of every major Asbury Park area venue and beyone. From the Stone Pony to the NJ Dance Party clubs of the 80s and 90s.
For those who haven’t met me yet, or haven’t know me long, or just plain forgot, here is who I am. Missing few (but just a few) details- they know who they are and they can tell their own story.
A very broad overview of the Four + Decades of Al-Vis.
This update clarifies the final chapter in Al-Vis public performing career, including Al-Vis and Friends and the Kat ‘n’ Al Radio show.
Thanks for sharing in my career and for sharing your lives with me!
The Cyrkle are discovered in Atlantic City by Brian Epstein and proceed to chart with two albums and the two hit singles, “Red Rubber Ball” and “Turn-down Day”. A very young Al-Vis is impressed to see them perform on TV’s Hollywood Palace several times and decides to take up drums like his now-famous cousin, Cyrkle drummer Marty Friede.
After a long hospitalization for pneumonia, Al-Vis decides to take up guitar in addition to drums, eventually abandoning drums altogether.
After earning the award of Class Musician for the Neptune Junior High School class of 1972, forms first band, Hot Lunch, with David Mains on Bass and his brother Michael on drums.First public performance is New Jersey State talent show, sponsored by the Garden State Arts Center, performing Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Traveling Band’.
Forms N.F.S. (disbanded 1977) with Ricky Draper on drums, Steve Bowers/Mike Kirali on bass and Paul Doeling on guitar. Plays high school dances and keg parties all over the area, along with some Asbury Park clubs.
December 1973- 1974
Joins Sticks And Bones, a lounge band that performs regularly at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park and Leggett’s in Manasquan for a while. Featured John O’Heney keyboards and lead vocals and Jim Jones on drums.
Begins three-year stint as a solo singer-guitarist at the Quack Quack while working his way towards a Rutgers University BA in Music.
The Quack Quack is next to and owned by the Stone Pony, and Al-Vis is frequently joined onstage by other up-and-coming performers from next door who sit in with him in various stages of inebriation. Life-long friends Cook Smith and Bobby D’onofrio also share their ample musical talents onstage with Al-Vis on a regular basis.
JP Gotrock, first version: Tim Cusack, guitar and vocals; John Fitzpatrick ,drum; Chris Spiewak/Neal Schwartz, bass; David Shearn, keyboards.
The band is formed after the breakup of Tim’s band Stagefright, and performs frequently at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park and The Court Tavern in New Brunswick. Also is one of the first to rehearse at the now-famous Hot Dog House studios on Cookman Ave in Asbury Park.
Kino/Variety Rocks. This group was the brainchild of local songwriter and musician Steve Betts. Kino was an original band created to perform his originals and Variety Rocks was an oldies act created to play for actual monetary compensation.
Steve was the co-writer of Clarence Clemon’s “There’s Still Christmas.”
See my sites for pictures of Al-Vis wearing a Beatles wig and also wearing a DA haircut with this band, along with stage some other rather outlandish stage clothes for Kino
Gary Cook And Cookbook. Gary Cook, keyboards, sax, vocals; Various drummers and other guest artists.Al-Vis met Gary Cook in 1983 when Gary saw JP Gotrock perform at a party. Gary hired Al-Vis to teach at his store, The Music Place in Sea Girt, NJ and over the years used Al-Vis at weddings and many other performances, including several charity appearances at local nursing homes.
JP Gotrock second version: David Shearn keys, Neal Schwartz/Vinnie Roslin, bass; Don Erdman, vocals; Vini Lopez drums.
Gotrock re-formed at the urging of David Shearn, who recruited former Hot Romance front man Don Erdman to take over Tim Cusack’s lead singer slot.
Disbanded for good in early 1987 when Vini moved out of the area and Dave became involved with playing behind Frankie Lee and Sonny Rhodes.
Al-Vis spent the better part of two decades helping to organize and run the talent for the Clearwater Festival, first at Sandy Hook, then in Asbury Park, and which is now held in Long Branch.
The Bopper Duo
Howard “The Bopper” Parker, drums, vocals.Al-Vis had met fellow Jersey Shore rocker Howard “The Big Bopper” Parker years earlier, when Howard used to sit in at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Following the demise of the 2nd JP Gotrock, Al-Vis and Howard could be seen performing regularly at such venues as Bar Anticipation in South Belmar, Christie’s in Wanamassa, The Village Inn in Pt Pleasant and the Belmar Fishing Club. Howard still sits in with Al-Vis from time to time when not busy with his own still-busy music career.
Big Danny Gallagher, various band names (Big Danny and The Mighty Whosies, Big Danny and The Power 13 Band): Steve Schraeger/Vini Lopez, drums; Vinnie Roslin, bass; Danny, lap steel, guitar and vocals.
Al-Vis recorded a few sides with Danny, including “Love Gravy” and “Don’t Stop The Dreaming”.
Al-Vis & Helyn & Friends w/ Helyn Chrobocinski, vocals. Al-Vis met Helyn at a JP Gotrock performance and through her became involved with Monmouth County Friends Of Clearwater.
Al-Vis & Helyn began doing charity performances for Clearwater and a few other non-profit organizations and worked together organizing the entertainment for the Clearwater Festival for many years.
Helyn passed away in October 2007.
Vini “Maddog” Lopez and The Disco Rejects: Vini, drums,vocals; Bob Alfano, keys; John Lurashi, bass,James Deely, guitar, vocals; various other guitarists and guest musicians.
Formed after Al-Vis moves back to the Asbury area after living with David Shearn since 1987 and joins Vini in hosting a weekly jam session at the T-Birds Café in Asbury Park.
After Al-Vis left to perform with Chik-A-Boom full-time in 1991 the band continued to perform with Rick Desarno on guitar.
David Shearn 1954-1989. David’s passing hit very hard, not only because he was a good friend and a great musician (Al-Vis was living with him at the time of his passing), but because he also left behind dozens of friends and a musical legacy and enthusiasm that is still thought of fondly by the New Brunswick and Asbury Park musical communities.
Patty Healey (now Patty Tracy) Duo
Super-talented vocalist Patty was between bands before she formed One Eyed Jack when she hooked up with Al-Vis to do various performances at some rooms around the Asbury area.
Blue Plate Special
This was a group of mostly blues backup musicians from the New Brunswick area, run by guitarist (and fellow Rutgers Alumnus) Ken Locket. Mostly played upstairs at the Court Tavern in New Brunswick but also did play a few jobs at Orphan Annies in Stirling and Jasons in Belmar,
Chik-A-Boom: John Cavallo, bass and lead vocals; Dusty Micale/Kevin Kavanaugh/Mick Seely/Pat Killeen, keys; Joe Belia/Mark Cavallo/Steve Max/Joe Vitello, drums; Bobby D’onofrio, Mick Seely guitar; Various horn players and fill-ins through the years.
Chik-A-Boom played venues all over the tri-state area, in particular at clubs at the Monmouth/Ocean shore area (see Al-Vis’ Links page).
Mystery Date, with Kim Jones. This was an original project between Al-Vis and singer-songwriter Kim. Some recordings exist, sequenced and produced by Dusty Micale, Al-Vis’ old friend from the early Chik-A-Boom days. Kim later made quite a name for herself with a band called Graveyard School as Kim Kaos.
Spring(now known as Spring Lovelle)
Frank Patrouch, Bass; Dave Ross, Drums;Spring, guitar, vocals, songwriter. Al-Vis performed with Spring at many gigs (esp the Clearwater Festival) , though he was later removed from her recordings due to a disagreement over a video that was posted without his consent. See AlvisRocks.com for a page where you can download full, unedited versions of the main recordings Al-Vis and Spring did together (for free).
Mike And Al-Vis Duo: Mike Cusack, guitar, sequencing, vocals.
Al-Vis and Mike knew each other for over 20 years when they finally got to perform together. Notable venus included the Wonder Bar, the Garden Bar and Brewsters in Bradley Beach, in addition to numerous private affairs.
Mike has performed solo and with various bands (Heart And Soul, Looking Back) since the 1970’s (see Al-Vis’ Links page).
Currently plays sporadically at Sprengels Garden Bar in Neptune and at some private affairs.
Andrew James Hughes
Al-Vis has been recording with local singer-songwriting firebrand Andrew James Hughes for the past few years, also playing several showcases in the area in and in New York City, including one at the Bitter End in 2011.
You can hear a sample here:
and his main site is here
Spring releases the highly acclaimed masterpiece CD Transforming, and gives a special concert at a church to celebrate its release. The CD features Al-Vis lead and rhythm guitar and bass on several numbers, and it the culmination of several years of planning and collaboration.
Spring releases her Acoustic Christmas CD, which features Al-Vis on several cuts. Which were also taken off the CD eventually, see above.
May 2009-July 2011
Patty Tracy, Part 2.
Patty and Al-Vis reformed for a couple of years, performing at several area venues as a duo, including the Langosta Lounge, Wonder Bar and Paramount Sessions in Asbury Park, Darcy’s in Bradley Beach, the Belmar Fishing Club and several other places. Also included plans for a 5 piece band. As of this writing Patty and Al-Vis are no longer performing together, for the time being at least.
Winter 2009- 2011
Cook and Carols Open Mike at Val’s in Rumson.
This historic jam-open mic because a mega-event on the Jersey Shore music scene. Many of the area’s top acts come to perform, hand out and just generally enjoy each other’s company. Originally started by David Crowton w/Carol, Cook Smith took over after a while as he and Carol Barbieri began hosting one of the most successful open mics the area had ever seen.
After the open mic moved to several other venues Cook and Carol parted ways- Cook continued it at McGillicuddy’s in Loch Arbour and Carol now runs an open mic at Molly MacGuire’s in Rumson with Bobby D’onofrio. Carol is also very active with the Adoption Rights movement, which includes speaking engagements throughout the country and a book deal. Al-Vis and Carol still perform together when they get the chance.
Al-Vis releases his first ever CD Road Construction. Consisting of a five song cycle that not only tells a true story also features nods to 2 of Al-Vis’ biggest influences, Big Danny and Spring Libutti. A CD release party is held at Sprengels Garden Bar in Neptune, and several of Al-Vis current favorite acts perform to a packed house. Several other venues, such as The Paramount Sessions in Asbury Park, and the monthly open mic at Julia’s in Atlantic Highlands, are booked to promote the CD. Writeups included the Asbury Park Press and Chorus and Verse online magazine, and Al-Vis also makes an appearance on Danny Coleman’s Rock On! Radio show.
Spring’s “If I Told You” was included as a tribute to Al-Vis’ decade long involvment with this major artist. Her reaction was to take Transforming off of the market and remove all of Al-Vis’ performances from her Christmas CD.
Al-Vis gives several guest performances with the great Jo Wymer, an award -winning singer-songwriter Al-Vis has admired for a while now.
Fall 2010- March 2013
Kim is a highly accomplished singer-songwriter who is based in the Trenton area, and will be releasing her 3rd CD in June 2013.
Al-Vis performs a series of shows for the Smithsonian Institute’s Where Music Lives series.
May 2011- March 2012
Al-Vis’ high school era band, NFS, reforms for a special benefit for Musicians On A Mission at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park. NFS plays at some other venues and stays together a while longer without Al-Vis but with Cole Janus Bass, Rick Draper Drums, Mike Jones Guitar and new lead singer SondraH.
May 2011- December 2012
Dale Lakata and Eden
Dale is a prolific singer-songwriter. Al-Vis appears at several of her shows and on her recordings, which you can hear at her site on Reverb Nation.
Spring (having since changed her name once again, from Spring Libutti to Spring Lovelle) attacks Al-Vis’ YouTube website: first she has a video removed that had some comments explaining how she removed Al-Vis from her CD output. Then she attempts to have all of the other videos removed with Al-Vis performing, claiming “Privacy Violation”. Finally she files a complaint with YouTube, making the accusation that the videos contain “Inapproriate Content”. All of this without warning and without explanation.
Several of Al-Vis’ performances with Andrew James Hughes begin receiving regular airplay on such stations as WKTU in NY and Orlando 106.7.
Al-Vis performs at a fundraiser and tribute to his (and Bruce Springsteen’s) long-time band mate Vinnie Roslin. Vini Lopez, who performed with Vinnie in Steel Mill with Springsteen and many other bands, and also performed with Al-Vis and Vinnie in JP Gotrock, sings several songs with Al-Vis. Also in attendance were many of the Asbury Park area’s most famous musicians, including Gary Tallent from the E-Street Band and Bobby Bandiera. Al-Vis is nominated as ‘Top Accompanying Musician’ in the New Jersey Acoustic Music Awards. Also nominated are several acts Al-Vis has performed with regularly, including Peter Prasa, Kim Yarson, Jo Wymer, Lo Kloza, Dan Hall, Mikey Butler, Cook Smith and others.
Also, Al-Vis performs at a CD release house party for Peter Prasa’s “You’re The Best Part Of Me”, which is attended by some of the area’s top performers.
April 7 2013
Al-Vis is nominated as Top Instrumentalist for the second year in a row in the NJ Acoustic Music Awards (JAM). The show will be held on this date at the Jersey Shore Arts Center in Ocean Grove and will feature many acts that Al-Vis has performed with.
Al-Vis performs at one of the first of what will become the “Al-Vis And Friends” showcase, at the Dragonfly Music and Coffee in Somerville NJ. This will be a monthly event starting in July and will feature some of the best original acts Al-Vis has performed with and also some of his favorite area songwriters.
Al-Vis keeps busy freelancing with such notable acts as Carol Barbieri, Kim Yarson and Interscope recording artist Andrew James Hughes. Also has some private performances with Mike and Al-Vis.
June 2013- July 2014
Kat ‘n’ Al
In the summer of 2013 Al-Vis teams up with Kathy Monahan for an acoustic duo. Kathy, though just under the radar for much of her career, has been steadily building up a repertoire and formidable stage presence singing with such acts as the Brue Crew.
After an appearance at an open mic at the Wonder Bar in July their Facebook page takes off, with dozens of new fans over night.
Kat ‘n’ Al performed at such venues as Molly Maguire’s in Rumson, Maggie’s in Lakewood and at the Al-Vis and Friends showcase, which is currently (as of March 2014) at Espresso Joe’s in Keyport.
In December of 2013 they release the single “The Leaving”, which is recorded with Danny Coleman on drums at Cook Smith’s L.A. East studio. Split in July of 2014.
January 2014 – Current
Al-Vis And Friends at Espresso Joe’s
Al-Vis moved his highly-successful Al-Vis and Friends showcase to Keyport’s Espresso Joe’s, on the seecond Sunday of each month. The show was now drawing dozens of attendees over a five hour slot of acts. Future TBD.
February – May 2014
The Kat ‘n’ Al Radio Show
In February http://www.40FootHoleStudio.com debuts the Kat ‘n’ Al Show, 2 hours of interviews, live performances and segments on the current and past music scene of the Asbury Park NJ area. The guests on the first show are Matt Scuteri and Jill Cagney. Todd Goldin provides commentary on local up and coming events, and Al-Vis has planned to host several guests from Asbury Park’s Golden Era for the Four Decades segment, to talk about the current and past music scene.
The show ended inexplicably after four episodes. No archives of it are known to exist
August 10 2014 – Current
Al-Vis’ final announce public performance, singing a version of Dylan’s “Tears Of Rage” at the August Al-Vis and Friends show at Espresso Joe’s on August 10. Some private shows are planned for the time being with the Mike and Al-Vis Duo, along with sporadic fill-in backup performances and a few open mic appearances,
The future of the Al-Vis and Friends showcase, the last project left at this point in time, is TBD.