Joe Dell - keys, vocals

Born on July 3 1973 in a Paterson, NJ hospital, to Joan & Joseph Della Mastro, he spent a small portion of his life in Brooklyn while his mother was back in Lodi, NJ fighting cancer. His first introduction to music was his father's Elvis, Fats, Holly, and other assorted 50s rock albums. He also remembers his childhood spent at relatives' houses with family, pasta, cards, and Jazz. Joe: "I remember my great uncle Paul would be cranking his Jazz in the background while the rest of the family played cards. I was easily absorbed into it." The next major introduction to music was when he was 7 years old watching an educational show on channel 13. Joe: "I remember it was an episode on either a microscope or a spider, because that's what the show was showing and in the background there was this classical piece being played on the pipe organ. The piece I would later find out to be Bach's Tocatta in d-minor, my all-time favorite classical piece." By 1981 Joe was brought into modern rock by a schoolyard pal, Jay D'Errico, when he would crank AC/DC Dirty Deeds on the playground. Then in '82 he was introduced to Ozzy. He was never the same! Joe: "I remember hearing the intro to Mr. Crowley and getting the same feeling as I did listening to Bach. Randy Rhoads was a big reason I decided to play keys - hearing Randy play guitar like that made me feel that I would never play guitar that well, so I decided to buy a keyboard." In 1983 he bought his first keyboard. He looks back, "We were very poor. I got a job delivering newspapers for a local press. Bobby Vaughn got me in. I made 20 dollars a week. Most of my money went to lunch, but I managed to save enough to purchase a small Casio; I also bought an Ozzy songbook and learned songs from there. I also brought home a church Hymn book and learned the weekly Hymns. I would play them for my mother and sister, Jennifer, to sing along to." With Heavy Metal at its peak with bands like Priest and Maiden, Joe just became more and more absorbed into the scene. One day his cousin John Petruzzelli handed him four LPs and told him to listen to them. They were Edgar Winter, Deep Purple's Machine Head, and Led Zep I and IV. He was also told to pick up Jethro Tull's Aqualung, which he fell in love with instantaneously. Entering high school with bands like Metallica, Slayer, Manowar, Suicidal Tendencies, and Anthrax putting new energy and speed into music, he fell in that direction and also to the direction of 70's rock such as Pink Floyd, Rush, Crimson, Yes, and ELP. Joe: "I got my first piece of real music equipment when I was 16. My father was on this big HSC kick in the late 80's. Right before Christmas, they were advertising 3 different kinds of organs: Mama, Papa, and Baby Organs; Schaffer & Son was the make. I told my Father that if he bought me the Papa bear organ, I'll never ask for another thing in my life . . . what a lie! He got it for me and told me that I got it because I was a good kid . . . another lie : )" He used to come home late at night stoned and drunk and would plug his headphones into the S&S and play his heart out, not knowing what he was doing. "I would just hit notes on the bottom level, then play notes on hte top level that sounded good over them. This was the first time I was using the two hand method. The band I was in as a kid (Live Evil) was a joke - it was Anthony Pollaro on drums, Bobby V on guitar and I sang and played keys. We had one recording and all you heard was drums - thank God! Back then Bobby and I were heavily into the occult. We were too young to get the occult books out of the library so we would have his Aunt get them for us. All our lyrics came out of those books. Everything I owned had an upside-down cross or a pentagram on it. I remember one night cursing God to my mother, telling her that God never did anything for me, and then falling asleep. I had two nightmares: one of me deathly ill and one where I saw my mother laying in a casket. I woke up in a cold sweat and told my mother I wouldn't bad mouth God again. I also never fucked with that magic shit again. Seven years later I was bed ridden with mono and my Mother died of cancer." Back in 1990 he was spending all his free time learning a lot of Doors and Pink Floyd. He briefly changed over to bass in 1991 and worked on putting a project together called The Copper Nickel with Alex Julian . . . this band never surfaced. During this time Big Al advised Joe to switch back to keyboards. Joe recollects, "I was learning every Sabbath song on guitar. The major turning point was when I was cruising my cherry red '81 Firebird through Lodi listening to WSOU (a local college station) and I heard this nasty organ intro - later to learn it was Deep Purple's 'Lazy.' At this point I felt I should be playing an instrument that is capable of producing that sound!" In June of '91, he started learning piano after receiving one as a graduation gift. Joe looks back, "My father, being so proud of his son graduating High School without getting left back or kicked out, asked me what I wanted for a graduation gift. I told him, 'a piano.' He told me to pick one out and he'd buy it. Knowing that he didn't have much money, I picked out the cheapest one I could find. I ended up finding a used 1933 upright in a classified. He even brought it down to my house! For $300!! What a steal, I thought . . . but everything has a price, eventually. His brother was burned severely in a fire; I thought nothing of it at the time. I wrote two songs on it: Sympathy For A Whore and Concerto Of The Damned, which I later used in my next band Spectrum Green. There was something utterly creepy about this old piano! I used to sit there and play it while my mother would read the bible in the chair next to me. One day she asked me how I got good so fast; I told her I didn't know, things just flowed when I sat behind that piano. Within the first 2 years of owning that piano, my cat died, my Grandmother died, my Mother died, I got Mono, my sister became anorexic, and we were flat broke at the end of it all." At this point in 1993, Joe was eating peanut butter & jelly sandwiches three times a day and didn't have a pair of pants that fit. He drove in an old beat-up station wagon that was about to fall apart. At this time it was probably used mostly for drug runs. The only time he ate a good meal was when he was with his friend Johnny Nards who can be heard on the intro to Pay the price on Goin Over. Joe ended up meeting up with friend & mentor Joe Lami. He started working again for a while. He worked in a record store in West paterson, which followed his work in the Lodi record store 'Disc-count Records'. There he absorbed all the great music he could. In a time where records were cheap and openly availible. He would practice intensly while behind the counter. He has alot of offers to be in bands. You see it was extremely hard to find a keyboard player back then. Eventually he burned himself out and had to take a 6 month break from the keyboards due to tendinitus in his hands. He would start off playing a million miles per hour with out warming and learn. 1995 found its way in. Joe, back in the groove behind the keyboard, felt it was time to start the wheels in motion...seriously involved. He ran into an old mate by the name of Gary Luhrman. Later to be nicknamed Soldier. Soldier had broken his toe at the time. They discussed putting a metal band together. Near the end of 1995, Joe and gary started jamming and putting some pieces together. They celebrated New Years 1996 in the legendary 'pink' room. Gary on guitar and Joe on the Keys. Joe was using a fatar 1100 hooked up to an ESI-32. Joe was one of the first 10 people to buy one at the time along with The Rolling Stones and ELP. They started of with the track 'Ol' Reliable' which was a piece written earlier. It was later titled 'Consequential Departure'. They worked on another song that Gary wrote that never surfaced that was titled 'the epic' . The song 'Sympathy for a Whore' started to develope. Gary and Joe worked together their first composition 'Corporate Pig'. Which was a fast prog metal song. To put in a note for those who weren't aware of the music at the time. The area was over run by Grunge, Punk and Goth bands. The only other band that was being developed at the time that was in the same Prog Metal vein was a central Jersey band by the name of Symphony X. Both bands shared a mutual friend by the name of Ronnie "ACE" Acerra. Back in the pink room, Gary and Joe went through 1996 jamming and developing a sound for a year. It was decided by late 1996 that Gary should move from guitar to bass guitar. They put out an ad for a guitarist. The first guitar player to show up was Mike Allen, later to be nicknamed Triple B...Blind Blues Boy. Mike came down for the audition and was baked beyond belief. He walked in the room and tripped and fell right into Gary's bass amp. Mike plugged in his guitar and started to wail! Probably one of the 5 best guitarists in New Jersey at the time! The trio jammed til 6 o'clock in the morning! They knew they found their man. The 3 would jam 7 days a week. Eventually they were tight on their own and decided to put an ad out for a drummer. The add stated they were looking for a drummer to help the band to change the face or rock. Enter John Brezenski, later nicknamed "The Breeze", a play on his last name along with the fact he had the fastest hands a drummer could have! The four built together a list of songs: Ol' Reliable, which was a good warm up song, Corporate Pig, a strong, fast Metal song. Changing Thoughts which was penned by Gary, Joe, Mike and John. The only song written by the entire band. Sympathy for a Whore, Concerto of the Damned and The Jester. The Jester's music was written entirely musically by Mike Allen, with lyrics by Joe Dell. At this time the band would practice 5 days a week 5 hours each day. Joe would practice 11 hours a day! 4 hours early in the morning, another 3 hours with Triple B and his friend Jay DePalma. They would jam to the drum machine in Joe's organ. Then 4 to 5 hours with the band at night. The band recorded several practices. The tapes were bootlegged and were surfacing all around the area. It was the "Jerky Boys" version of rock. The band was looking for 2 things: A name and a singer. Joe Dell would watch a tv show when he would get in 6 in the morning after working at Tederboro Airport all night. The show was Captain Scarlet. In the theme song there was a term "Spectrum is Green" thrown in there secretively. Joe came up with the idea to name the band Spectrum Green. It fell well with the band so there was the name. Next was lead singer. They wanted a powerful lead singer to head this band of virtuosos. Unfortunatelly there was none to be found. So, the band moved Gary to lead vocals and brought in Nick Otvos on bass, former Burning Cross, M.O.D. bassist. Eventually the band was drained by Nick's presence. Triple B left the band and was replaced by Tom Catuosco. Later nicknamed Junior. Nick left the band and Gary went back to bass. The various changing of musicians and dragging the feet in mud. John Brezenski decided to leave the band. Drudging the like of various hopless drummers, Junior brought in old band mate John Zambri. Nicknamed Number 3, because he was the third John to play drums in the band. Following the irresponsible Johnny "Madflaps". The band played the famous 'Brighton' which launched Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi on Sept 6th 1998. Later that year they recorded a full length album at Iron Bound studios in Newark, New Jersey. A famous R&B, soul, gospel studio. Joe wanted to record there because it housed a genuine Hammond B3 organ. They recorded 9 tracks: Man of a Thousand Faces, Sympathy for a Whore, Faith in a Friend, Changing Thought, Groan Away From Home, Consequential Departure, Corporate Pig, Ready to Kill, and Concerto of the Damned. Due to lack of heating, while recording in December. After listening to the mix down, the band decided to trash the recording along with the band. Junior and Number 3 would later build a new band started by Soldier called Border Patrol, which recorded a 3 song EP. After Soldier's departure, due to creative differences, the band would eventually become 'The Vengeful Few' and record a full length CD. Burnted out and fustrated Joe very briefly decided to call it quits, give up music forever and get a day job. After watching a Deep Purple video from 1970, Joe broke down in tears. He relized that music is in his blood. Despite the trials and tribulations, along with the mainstream music industries constant drive to put out weak, boring , lame commercial garbage, Joe hoped back on the horse. He briefly joined 2 bands; Haight and Eternity X. The latter gave Joe extremely harsh and uncalled for treatment. A disappointed Joe Dell relized that he had to build a new band. He ran into bassist/singer Dan Castiel in a local market Spring of 1999. Dan had just left Thrillseeker. They spoke about putting a band together. Joe had Dan come down along with a friend who played guitar. After the jam. Joe decided to work with Dan, but felt they needed a better guitarist. They put an ad out for a drummer and got a call from the girfriend of drummer Frank Melick. Frank was just leaving his band US Bandit. They started to work on new material. Out of the Mist would be the first song the band would ever write. They later would auditioned 2 guitarists, one was a virtuoso, the other was Matt Schwarz. Although the other guitarist had flash. Matt showed up with heart! He had long hair, which fit in with the rest of the band. Matt would later be nicknamed Mole. Matt brought in a guitarist he was working with named Rod Brazil. Though the band loved Rod as a person, he didn't fit in creatively. The band searching for a lead guitarist, and found Jeff Patchiel, an aspiring young virtuoso. They played several gigs, and recorded the lost Mutino tapes. They found time to put 4 song recordings together. Jeff was later kicked out of the band because of his obnoxiouly loud sound that would drown out the rest of the band live and an anoying father that would follow the band around. The four songs planned for an indie soundtrack, later became the legendary EP. The band would play out every weekend. The strain of constant gigging and building friction between Joe and Dan started to run Joe to the ground. Frank started to ween away from the band. He planned to quit, so the band put an ad out for a drummer. Gary Rinaldi eneded up aswering the ad. At this point Frank decided to stay, so Joe introduced Gary to Soldier, Junior and Number 3. He joined their band eventually and recorded the Border Patrol EP and The Vengeful Few LP. Joe would become fustrated with the unprofessional attitude of Dan and Frank. They would show up late for gigs, which would cost them soundchecks. This especially upset Joe at the very important Limelight show in New York City. During this time Matt and Joe wrote the epic about a drug addict titled 'Goin Over'. The only segment written by the full lineup was Blast Off. Joe decided to Finance the next project titled 'Goin' Over'. Joe only planned this as a filler album and didn't plan to sit on it for 5 years. Frank stayed for the recording and 1 more gig. Dan was in for the recording and 2 more gigs, one of which the drumming of Gary Rinaldi was called upon. Joe, fustrated with the mixing process, was loosing his mind. He had problems with this project from the get go. It was a dark time and showed through the darkness of the album. Joe does not look back fondly at these times. Joe eventually got the album released in 2004. He met a beautiful young lady by the name of Annie Rowland, who he fell madly in love with and would eventually marry on April 1st 2007. The insanity that was developing during this time is reflected in his song titled 'I'm Insane'. Mole and Joe would put together an acoustic set consisting of traditional songs, old Sleepy Hollow tracks converted to acoustic pieces and newly written tracks such as The Wander, Nadia's Song and I'm Insane. Joe would play out with Mole as acoustic Sleepy Hollow. Then drummer Deve Guzman entered the scene. They played out and still spread the name. Unfortunatelly not to many gigs were recorded from this time. In 2005 Joe's father fell deathly ill. Being a good Italian raised son, he stepped away from the band to care for his father until his passing in Sept 2005. This fustrated Deve so she abruptly left the band. Matt and Joe recruited Gary Rinaldi once again. Gary played out with Sleepy Hollow as a three piece. Matt, planning to move to Colorado, decided that the band should record all the music that never made it to tape. Joe, in agreement, backed the idea. Late 2006, the band started to work on 22 songs! Joe was stressed again, between caring for his aged grandmother, preparring for a wedding, and working on the songs. Joe found legendary Producer/Engineer Bob Both. Now the cards were stacked! They were ready! They started recording the backing tracks in early 2007. Taking a brief break in April for Joe's wedding to Annie. The band was banging out tracks with very little practice with an intense fury! Matt and Joe had planned to do this the right way for once. They were going to take their time. They wanted to show the world that they were capable of some of the best music every written. They want to call the album 'Legend', in homage to the old but introducing the new and what will be. They recorded songs from their whole past, the early songs, songs from the Goin Over sessions, their acoustic songs, and the new pieces written recently: Out of the Mist (first songs ever written) The Mirror (acoustic days) Cousin Katie (Joe wrote in Spectrum Green) The Wanderer (Goin Over session) Come with me Melina (Goin Over session) Too Late (post Goin Over) Nadia's Song (acoustic era) Soldier's Lament (acoustic era) Butterfly Queen (Goin Over session) Sorrow's Might (new track) Armageddon (Early song) Farewell to Wilderness (Early song) Un-Self-Concious (Early Day) Joan (Acoustic) Trouble X (half early day, new middle section) For the World is Hollow (and I have touched the sky) early session La Femme Arme (Early Song) I'm Insane (Acoustic) Aristotle's Lantern (Early Day) Ursula's Nightmare (new song) Night-Shift Blues (Goin Over session) Taciturnity Blues (Goin Over session) Matt worked with bassist Tony Renda, who fustratingly never made it to 1 rehearsal. Some of his bass parts are present on 3 tracks. Joe had Mike Allen lay down bass and backing vocals for 2 tracks. The backing tracks were finished by Sept 2007. Gary made his way out to LA, Calf. Matt continued to record vocals along with a slew of other instrument. Sleepy Hollow brought in 3 female vocalists. Hired a professional violinist. They were driven to make this the best album to date by far. Joe took time off to morn the passing of his grandmother/1st piano teacher. She taught him Iron Man by Black Sabbath when he was 11 years old. Joe decided to put down the keyboards for 6 months, to learn the bass again. He layed down the final bass tracks for the rest of the album. He called upon Gary Lurhman to lay down the track for Un-Self-Concious. Gary used his $5000.00 Dawk custom made Joey DeMaio bass. Joe used it for 2 other tracks as well. After all the tracks were complete. Mole flew in, to mix in Oct 2008. Joe continued to mix with Bob Both. Joe decided on making a pre-release album titled 'The Lazarus Project'. He came up with the title, figuring it would represent the ressurection of the band. He took the heaviest side of Legend. Every track is a different mix. All the acoustic bits mixed out. The artistic pieces replaced by leads. Joe being completely happy with the final mix of The Lazarus Project and truely proud, has decided on a bonus. He has 6 hidden tracks placed on the album. They are from the rehearsal tapes of Spectrum Green, which were circulated in the mid 90s and of poor quality. Along with a narrative into by Gary Luhrman accompanied by Joe Dell on piano. Joe feels this album is the closest he has come to his dream from the beginning. He wanted to mix the heavy keyboards of the early 70s with the heavy guitars of the late 80s. The Lazarus Project will give the listener over an hour of music. First nine tracks of heavy metal: Troubled X Armageddon Out of the Mist For the World Is Hollow (and I have touched the sky) Soldier's Lament Proverb 14:12 Night-Shift Blues Sorrow's Might Aristotle's Lantern Then the 6 lost Spectrum Green rehersal tracks: Ol Reliable Corporate Pig Changing Thoughts Sympathy for a Whore Concerto of the Damned The Jester Joe was getting those feelings of nestalgia when he and Soldier were going through the archives and picking out what to use. He looked back and saw through the eyes of a young man looking towards the future of what he felt was going to be one of rock's greatest bands. Now, seeing through the eyes of a fustrated musician in a mainstream world, still not ready to accept true creative music. What the future will bring Joe Dell, only God knows, but as long as there is a breath in his body, he will continue to bring his form of music to the world.