Re-printed from The Coaster, Asbury Park. Chik-A-Boom played its last performance early in 2013 at The Celtic Cottage in Long Branch.
Playing in the Band for 20 Years
By DON STINE
It’s been a long but fun-filled haul for the popular band Chik-A-Boom, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Band founder John Cavallo said he started the band in 1990 after his former band, Joey And The Works, broke up. “Members of the band started going their separate ways so I put this band together. It felt like the right time to form a new band and do my own thing and, here it is 20 years later, and we’re still going,” he said.
Chik-A-Boom plays upbeat songs from the 1960s to the 1990s, including new, alternative, reggae, oldies, and cl assic party rock.
“Whatever it takes to get people up, dancing, and having a great time, that’s what we do,” Cavallo said. The band has hundreds of songs in their play list. Everybody in the band was originally from Neptune or Neptune City.
The band is comprised of Cavallo, (bass guitar, lead vocals, band leader), Al-Vis (guitar, lead vocals), Pat Killeen (keyboards, vocals), Bobby D’Onofrio (guitar, vocals), Mark Cavallo (drums). “The fact is some of the band members have changed over the years but we are all compatriots and cohorts. We have always been able to get players in the band and musically we’ ve always jived,” Cavallo said.
Cavallo said the main musical thrust of the band in the beginning was to play cover songs and do some originals. “But playing eclectic stuff always kept it fresh for us. We still try to find good, fun songs. We still have that fun spirit,” he said. Chik-A-Boom uses the trial-and-error method in developing their song list. “We’d start with songs we liked, even though we thought they were great, they didn’ t always play well with people,” Cavallo said.
Chik-A-Boom plays a lot of private parties and many clubs. You can usually find them performing about four times a month but more during the summer.
“We have been working steady and haven’ t solicited for in about 15 years. It’s the word-or-mouth effect,” he said.
Cavallo said he remembers one time that the band had to play two gigs at the same time, fortunately they were both in West Long Branch- a previously-booked private party and a wedding for a friend who couldn’t find another band. “But we did it. I put two bands together and then some of us drove back and forth between the two sets. It was a spectacular moment for us and it made both parties very happy but, I have to admit, I drank heavily the next day,” he said.
Cavallo, who lives in the Elberon section of Long Branch, works in computer logistics and security. His other musical credits include Joey and the Works, Dull Brothers, Acme Boogie Company, Aja, Underdog as well as numerous solo and backup performances.
Al-Vis, who lives in Long Branch, is a computer programmer and lead software designer. His other musical credits include J.P. Gotrock, Big Danny and the Power 13 Band, Cookbook, Spring, Vini Lopez and ThRejects, and Heart And Soul.
Killeen, who lives in Wall Township, is a park ranger. His other musical credits are TBirds, Pat Roddy Band, and Big Danny and the Lost Leader Band.
D’Onofrio, who lives in Brick Township, is a golf course manager. His other musical credits include Nightwing, BBR2, and One-Eyed Jack.
Mark Cavallo, who lives in Keyport and is John ‘s brother, is a graphic designer.
Other past members of Chik-A-Boom include Dusty Micale, Kevin Kavanaugh, Joe Bellia, Steve Max, and Alan Lind.
Chik-A-Boom can be reached at email@example.com.
Chik-A-Boom at Jenkinson’s Point Pleasant Beach NJ 1992. L-R: Al-Vis, Joe Bellia, John Cavallo.