Phil Giacomantonio, New York, NY, 1964

Phil writes: Being Italian, there was always music around. Everybody in the family sang and played something (although not always that well.) My father started me singing literally before I could even talk, so I was always singing. As I got older I learned to play the guitar, piano and other instruments, just so I could at least back myself up, even if not the greatest.

I met Rudy Moro, who did promo for 7 UP. He was putting on a show for the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens. He was going to have a sort of battle of the bands and asked me if I would sing something as a special guest. So I got my trusty guitar and off we went to the Worlds Fair in the New Jersey Pavilion. I had given him a list of about 30 songs I could do -- all all covers -- and, to make a long story short, being there was such a great reception for me, he had me do ALL of them that night. Man, if that don’t get you high, nothing will.

As time was passing, I did manage to write a couple of songs along the way. I had an acetate demo made at Sanders Recording Stucio for about $4, and decided I would take the Brill Building by storm. The first 20 or so places I went gave me a cordial no thank you. Then I happened to enter the office of Blast Records. Therein I found Vinnie Catalano and Pete Alonzo who had, for some reason, slept over that previous night in the office. We chatted a bit and finally Vinnie said, “so let’s hear it”. I carefully took it out of the sleeve and Vinnie put it on his turntable. He and Pete went bonkers and said they had a bunch of songs that would be perfect for me. Now dig this, I only had those couple of songs and I told them I couldn’t record unless I did my own material! Is that the dumbest shit you ever heard??!! How many teens do you now that would turn down a deal??!!

Listen to Phil rock it, and marvel at his sound. Here is Half Past High


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