On the board walk in Asbury Park there is a section of benches with plaques on them.
These plaques were paid for by private donations and put there by the Asbury Angels Foundation, which recognizes those musically associated figures who are no longer with us.
Towering figures such as Bill Chinnock and Clarence Clemons have plaques there, as do supporting figures such as Margaret Potter and Orchid Lounge owner Oddysey Moore.
Of the many great people honored there I have performed with several- a bittersweet honor. Better to have them still with us but I do think its great that fans and former band mates have a place where we can remember our times with them.
Here are some of the Asbury Angels who have been honored and how I was associated with them.
Kevin Kavanaugh– Kevin was the original keyboard player for the Asbury Jukes, and was with them at the start back in 1976 on their debut album. I first me him through a girl he was dating when a band I was friends with, Nightwing, was performing around the Asbury Park area.
Years later John Cavallo hired Kevin to perform in Chik-A-Boom, and we spent many hours travelling to PA, and performing at places like The Parker House, Leggetts, Bar Anticipation, The Stone Pony, the Columns, and on and on.
As late as 2008 he played a party with us and that’s when I heard about his health problems. Though he was optimistic at the time, the prognosis was not good, and within a couple of years he was gone.
Out last show together was at a fundraiser at the Headliner around 2010. Within a couple of years Chik-A-Boom itself would be history.
John Luraschi– John was our bass player in The Disco Rejects, a band that Vini Lopez originally formed to host an open jam at the T-Birds Cafe in 1989. I had just moved back from New Brunswick and Vini called me, asking me to give him a hand hosting the jam, where we would warm up the crowd and be the house band.
After our stint at the T-Birds ended we picked up James Deely on lead vocals and continued to perform at venus around the area, and the Disco Rejects continued without me after Chik-A-Boom took off.
Vinnie Roslin– Bruce Springsteen’s original bass player in Steel Mill, Vinnie’s soft spoken personality belied a powerful musical onstage presence. One of the greatest of all the great bass players, he took over Neal Schwartz’s role in JP Gotrock in 1986, and we continue to perform together in several bands into the early 1990s, when we were with Big Danny Gallagher.
You can see and hear Vinnie on several clips on my Youtube site, and hear him on Big Danny’s Love Gravy on my Reverb Nation site.
His long fight with diabetes ended in 2011 when he passed away of heart failure.
Danny “Big Danny” Gallagher– Bruce called him “The Round Mound Of Sound”. He liked to call me “little buddy” to which I would answer “OK Skipper!”
I was with Danny from the time JP Gotrock split in 1987 until around 1990, when The Disco Rejects and Chik-A-Boom started taking up a lot more of my time.
I performed on Danny’s single “Don’t Stop The Dreamin” (which you can hear on my Reverb Nation site) and I have several clips of him in action on my YouTube site, sadly none of them with us together.
Margaret Potter– Margaret was a huge figure in the Asbury Park music scene. I worked with her very closely in an organization called The Society Of Associated Performers in the early 90s, as recording secretary, newsletter publisher and editor and board member. We also jammed together at a lot of charity functions.
She is best known for owning the Upstage Club with her hustband Tom, where so many Asbury musicians got their start.
She passed away of cancer in 1994 and we held a huge memoriam to her at the Stone Pony, where many of Asbury’s elite at the time performed.
Bob Alfano– Bobby was our very soft-spoken keyboard player in the Disco Rejects. He played in several bands with Bruce Springsteen in the 1960s. One of the most gifted keyboard players ever, he can be heard on the Disco Rejects clips on my Reverb Nation site. His wife Jackie is a highly accomplished photographer and many of her photos have been displayed at places such as the Asbury Park Musical Heritage Society on Cookman Ave in Asbury Park.
Donnie Bertelson – AKA “Birdman”, Donnie was one of the most beloved singers of his age, as lead singer of The Shots and several other acts in the 1970s and 80s. The Shots were a spinnoff of the Asbury Jukes formed by Carlo Novi and Tony Paligrosi. Their gutarist was the great Billy Hector.
Donnie was a huge influence on me when I first started performing in the clubs around Asbury Park. I was lucky enough to jam with him several times, one of the all -time great Asbury Park lead singers.
1) Disco Rejects 1989 credit Jackie Alfano. LR: John Luraschi, James Deely, Al-Vis, Vini Lopez, Bob Alfano
2) Al-Vis and Vinnie Roslin 1989 Trapper’s in PA
3) Kevin Kavanaugh, John Cavallo, Al-Vis and Steve Max perform with Chik-A-Boom Manasquan River Yacht Club 1992
4) Donnie Bertelson, Steve Rava on bass and Al-Vis 1986 credit Billy Smith
5) John Luraschi 1988 J August Cafe New Brunswick
6) Vinnie Roslin, Danny Gallagher, Al-Vis and Vini Lopez Deck House 1987
7) Margaret Potter, Stone Pony 1986
I have also included a few of the most important musical people in my life who are no longer around.
Bottom Row, LR:
David Shearn Keyboard player with JP Gotrock who passed away in 1989
Helyn and Rich Chrobocinkski with whom I worked at the Clearwater Festival for 20+ years and who passed away in 2007 and 2008 respectively
John Parkhill, owner of Parkhills, one of the most beloved club owners I have ever known. Chik-A-Boom played at his club in Loch Arbour for many years. He passed away in 2004.
Sal Tortomasi guitar player with Nighwing. Sal was a guitar student of mine. He was deeply into music all of his life and his band Nightwing played alongside my band JP Gotrock a lot in the early years. He passed away last year (2013).
Al-Vis Reverb Nation:
Al-Vis YouTube site: