|Glenn M. Taylor, guitar, keyboards, vocals *|
Bob Cianci, drums, vocals
Ray Longchamp, guitar, mandolin, vocals
Peter Scance, bass, guitar, vocals
Chris Roselle, guitar, harmonica, vocals
Russ Crapella, guitar, vocals
Dave Hirschberg, drums, vocals
Joe Coghlan, drums, guitar, vocals
|Michael Muro, guitars, vocals|
Jeff Guenther, guitar, bass, vocals
Cliff Doenges, guitar, mandolin, percussion
Mike Garner, bass, vocals
Rhonda Grindell, drums, vocals
John Frondelli, drums, vocals
Pepe Hernandez, bass, vocals
|Christopher Bolger, guitar, bass, vocals *|
Tony Dente, drums, percussion, vocals *
Joe Alexander, guitar, vocals
Al Egizi, guitar, vocals
Keith Theall, bass, vocals
Ron Weinstein, guitar, bass, harmonica, vocals
Gary Evans, keyboards, harmonica, guitar, vocals
Jerry DeLisio, saxophone(s), flute, vocals
Brian Wiley, bass, vocals
Lenny Kirk, drums, vocals
Don Guinta, drums, vocals
Paul 'Swami' Simeone, keyboards, accordion, vocals
Scott Calvert, saxophone(s), woodwinds, vocals
Adam Egizi, bass, ukulele, vocals
Andrei Koribanics, drums, vocals
Tom DePalma, saxophone(s), woodwinds, vocals
* Indicates original Kootz / OMJ band-member; (see history)
I grew up in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey in the sixties and spent most of my youth playing baseball. My father was an outstanding musician / teacher & wanted me to learn the piano - which I resisted with all my soul. Roger Maris & Mickey Mantle were my idea of heroes and the piano was something that elementary school teachers did while singing “Michael Row Your Boat”. I wrestled with the piano for two years but I did enjoy singing. I sang “Big, Bad John” at a school assembly when I was in the 3rd grade. I got up on stage by myself… pretended to be Jimmy Dean and pulled it off without a hitch! As I soaked up the applause, I could tell that the faculty thought I had balls the size of church-bells… a reputation I rather enjoyed since I didn't care very much for school or my teachers.
I didn't know what a drum set was until I saw Roy Orbison perform “Pretty Woman” on The Ed Sullivan Show around 1965. I remember seeing the camera zoom in from behind the drummer while he was playing a “straight four” beat with his high hat, snare and bass drum. Something clicked when I saw the pedal digging into the kick drum. I knew I HAD to play the drums… and that rock 'n roll would be my music of choice. It's amazing how events like that shape your life but to this day, I'm still fixated on my bass drum. It has to be a certain size and have a cannon-like sound. Anything less simply won't do.
Joey Cass taught me the drums. He lived in town and happened to be one of the most respected drummers on the scene. Although his work with Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons was legendary, it was his patience & encouragement that meant the most to me. He always made me believe I was good… even when I doubted my own ability - which was most of the time. When I got my drivers license I'd drive him to gigs, set up his drums and just watch him play. Those were the most important lessons of my musical life. When he'd come off stage after a solo I'd tell him how great he was and he'd always say, “Yeah Tone, but if I could sing like you…”, which always made me feel wonderful.
Joey got me my first full-time gig. He was just so busy that he sent me to Barcellona's in Lodi one night to fill in with Joe Terra & his LTD Revue. Joe liked my playing & singing enough to offer ME the job… 6 nights a week! As far as I was concerned, I'd made it big! During my four years with LTD we served as house-band for lots of acts including: Bo Diddley, Jay & The Americans, The Classics, Carol Williams, Gary 'U.S.' Bonds and countless others. It happened to be a period in New Jersey nightclub-history where opportunities were endless. One night I even got to sit behind Henny Youngman & would drop 'bombs' on my drums & cymbals after each one-liner. For me, a wannabe-comedian, it just didn't get any better than that!
After graduating William Paterson College in 1977, where I studied percussion with jazz great Mel Lewis and music theory with Joe Cinderella I spent most of the 80's & 90's playing with a wide variety of NJ-based bands including: The Full Stride Band, Here & Now, The Ralph Jones Band, Nardi's Evil Ways, and with jazz artists such as: Rick DellaRatta, Vic Cenicola, Joe Cinderella, PJ Parker, Carol Hammersma, Marty Fogel, Don Giantomassi, Ray Laviere and many others. In 1999 I helped form the band that would eventually come to be known as 'The Kootz' with Glenn Taylor, David Frisch, Chris Bolger & Ben Asher - all wonderful musicians and dear friends. I also opened The Red Barn Drum Studio where I try to do for young drummers, what Joey Cass did for me. It is at The Barn where I have also pursued another lifelong passion: drum building. As Joe Walsh once said, “Life's been good to me so far!”
This little piece wouldn't be complete if I didn't name & thank some of the other people who have inspired me beyond words: My influences are quite obvious both instrumentally & vocally. Carmine Appice & Ginger Baker were two drummers that thrilled me as a kid. They were exciting to watch and generated tremendous power! Ironically, two bass players happen to be my favorite vocalists. Felix Pappalardi & Jack Bruce really motivated me to sing. Other musicians 'in my blood' are Bobby Colomby, Buddy Rich, Tony Williams, Leslie West, Felix Pappalardi, Corky Laing, Paul Rogers, Frank Sinatra, Maynard Ferguson, Ross Lomonico, Jerry Byers, Tommy Coombs, Bob Tutela, Bob Russell, as well as my sister (and most loyal fan) - Karen Olobardi… and my wife, Andrea (who has stood by me, even in my darkest hour). Yes, Andrea, God DOES love me!
Looking back, the sixties & early seventies were my time in rock! There was something for everyone… It lives 'in the present' with The Kootz! Playing the music you love is every musician's dream.