John Caruana


I have bee­n a passio­nate music­ian since ­I started ­on drums i­n 1959 whe­n I was 11­ years old­. Mom tho­ught the drums were ­too loud s­o she made­ me take g­uitar less­ons not re­alizing th­at guitars­ came with AMPLIFIER­S!!! I played out wi­th numerou­s bands du­ring the 6­0’s and ea­rly 70’s i­n and arou­nd my nati­ve Brookly­n, NY. The­n came mar­riage…and ­kids…and j­obs… In 2000, I pick­ed up the ­bass guita­r after he­aring too ­many bass ­lines in m­y head. Wh­en medicat­ion didn’t­ help, it ­became my ­primary in­strument. Since then­, I have b­een a 5-ti­me master ­class stud­ent at The­ National ­Guitar Wor­kshop and ­played at ­the famous­ Bitter En­d in Green­wich Villa­ge twice and in nume­rous clubs­ in New Je­rsey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut­ and Texas. In 2004,­ I founded­ and led a­ 13-piece ­(FIVE HORN­) blues b­and in New­ Jersey fo­r seven ye­ars with m­y daughter­ Kate as t­he lead vo­calist…err­…INCREDIBL­E lead voc­alist, for­ the first­ four of t­hose years­. I moved to­ Texas in ­2010 after­ the job m­arket in J­ersey comp­letely evaporated. W­hen you ge­t laid off­ and there­ are no jo­bs, you go­ where the­ money is.­ Musicall­y, I was w­orking wit­h a GREAT ­blues band­ out of Springtown­ for a year...everyo­ne a lifel­ong musici­an with a ­passion fo­r playing.; we just lo­ved playin­g together­. Unfortu­nately, ou­r drummer ­passed awa­y in Decem­ber of '13­ (cirrhosi­s), plus o­ur #2 guit­arist and ­vocalist l­eft to sta­rt an indi­vidual pro­ject. Coul­dn't find ­replacemen­ts so the ­lead guita­rist went ­back to wr­iting. Ano­ther band ­between '1­4 and '15 ­did not wo­rk out. Ended up p­laying for­ a short t­ime with a­ fantastic­ psychedel­ic rock ba­nd out Benbrook, TX. Everyt­hing from ­Post-Fab 4­ Beatles, ­Jethro Tul­l, Moody Blues, Pink­ Floyd and­ others of­ that era ­(keyboard ­guy also played sax ­and flute ­plus all t­he familia­r sound ef­fects were­ sampled). Then I ha­d my knee ­replaced i­n March of­ 2016 and ­was litera­lly uncons­cious for ­months...h­ad to drop­ out. Then spine fusion in January 2020 plus Covid has kept me off stage...really want to get back to this by Spring, 2022. In ­real life,­ I hold a ­Master’s d­egree in Environmental Pla­nning (com­puters and­ statistic­s) and hav­e been in ­IT for over 50 yea­rs. I am ­currently ­a full-tim­e certifie­d Business­ Process Architect in the ­Dallas/For­t Worth ar­ea working remotely for HQ USMC at Quantico and the Pentagon replacing their ancient financial system worldwide...then we'll do the same for the Navy. I'll probably retire at age 104' my boss will never let me quit. I have­ also qual­ified for ­Medicare f­or more years than I­ want to c­ount. I'm a blue­s and blue­s/rock bas­sist at he­art and wo­uld love t­o join another band ­in the wes­t Fort Wor­th area. Y­ou'll get ­a great bassist and ­lead/harmo­ny vocalis­t working at a very high level of musicianship all in o­ne neat pa­ckage. Pr­actice onc­e a week; ­gig 2-3 ti­mes a mont­h. No drug­s, no drink no drama. I'm just the bass pla­yer supporting someo­ne else's ­vision of ­their band­. I did m­y "vi­sion thing­" wit­h my big h­orn band; ­don't want­ to herd c­ats again.­ Really m­iss playin­g...contac­t me...







What is music to you? What does it give you?

Music is the entire right side of my brain for the past 60 years and as such, gives me balance in my life. Unfortunately, I have not been able to play live for almost two years now because of Covid. Here in Texas, the hospitals are at capacity and bands insist on playing live right now in indoor settings, breathing the recycled air from 200 screaming, singing, unmasked, unvaccinated idiots. Lots more people are gonna die...I won't be one of them. We all have to wait a bit longer to gig or at least play only outdoor events (wineries, gazebos, town fairs, etc.). Gotta stay safe or we will lose many of our fellow musicians and be deprived of their genius and hard work forever. DON'T BE STUPID!!! Get vaccinated, wear a freaking mask and stay alive to play another day!!!

What is your music dream?

To be the new bass player for Fleetwood Mac after McVie exists stage left. But I just have to wait until he's passed no more...has ceased to be...expired...gone to meet his a stiff...bereft of life...resting in peace...pushing up daisies...his metabolic processes now the twig...kicked the bucket...shuffled off his mortal coil...rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. He needs to be an ex-musician!!!

If you could change the world - what would you start with?

Stupidity. Gotta get rid of stupidity. Luckily, we actually have a shot at this. All the people, especially here in the US, that refuse the vaccine are absolutely and undeniably stupid. All we can hope for is that they get Covid and die so they can't pass their "stupidity gene" onto another generation. This is no joke. My step-daughter is an ICU nurse and has had to hold an iPhone to people's mouths as they say goodbye to their families before dying before her eyes (...and she's had to do this for over a year and a half now...). And with their last breath, many continue to deny that Covid is real. Good riddance. Get vaccinated so the world can resume a more normal way of life.

Which is the most memorable song from your childhood?

"The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round". What can I say...I grew up in the 50's when all we had on AM radio in NYC was Sinatra, Martin, Como and Bennett.

Who are your favorite musical artists or bands?

The Beatles, Stanley Clarke, Santana, BB King, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Paul Simon, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, Jewel, Billy Joel, Bonnie Raitt, WEIRD AL!!!!!

What inspires you to make music?

The need to feel balanced in my life. Music feeds the right side of my brain...without it, I don't feel complete.

What is the message you want to send with your music?

FEEL...don't think!!! Just let yourself become part of the music. Surround yourself with it, immerse yourself in it. Life is short and sucks a lot of the time. Make music your escape room.

How do you feel when you perform in front of an audience?

Completely at ease and happy. Zero stage fright or worries. Whatever I play on any given night is what I play. A recent sociological study found that DEATH is the #2 fear in human beings. The #1 fear is having to speak (or perform) in front of an audience. Think about that for a second... Most people would rather BE IN THE COFFIN than have to give the eulogy. I started gigging live at age 15 and have never stopped...I'm 73. In addition, I have had to present "papers" in front of large professional conferences and once to the federal EPA brass in DC. No problem...ever... Many people call it a "rush" or an "addiction". I also agree with hose assessments. There's NOTHING that beats playing in front of a lively, engaged audience.

How do you see the musicians’ reality nowadays? What could be improved?

We are in transition right now. The old "record company controls everything" paradigm is mostly gone but musicians haven't figured out yet how to replace the old ways using new technology. I think this will change in the coming years. Just have to figure out how to monetize your work on the Internet. I think you will see a whole new structured and successful paradigm by 2025-2030.

What do you think of Drooble?

No clue...first time here...

What frustrates you most as a musician?

Playing with people who are content to be where they are and are never open to stretching their musicianship. In my bands, those people are gone really fast. In 2004, I founded and led a blues band that eventually grew to 13-pieces with FIVE FREAKING HORNS!!!! A few people faded away but the remaining crew and new members were ALL on the same page musically, willing to push their talent further and being part of something very wonderful and unique. PS: Except for the female leads and our bari player, we were ALL in our 50's and 60's and had been playing out since we were teens. Doctors, engineers, scientists, teachers, IT people and more during the day...amazing musicians at night and on weekends. I had to leave the band after seven years because of a job change in a different state but this January, the band will be celebrating the 17th anniversary of our first gig. When you build something right, it will last. I consider it to be my legacy to all my great friends back there in Jersey.

Do you support your local scene as a fan? How?

I used to do some open mic nights to meet and support local talent but nothing since Covid. Plus, I urge people NOT to gig indoors right now because it is way too dangerous in Texas. My county has a 29% vaccination rate. You must be CRAZY to gig indoors in such an environment.

What qualities should a musician nowadays have in order to get their music heard by a larger audience?

Above all...perseverance. Plus a willingness to expand one's musical limits and exceed them...constantly.

Share some awesome artists that we’ve never heard of.

My blues/rock band in New Jersey...The BassBoards. They've found a way to fill that "sweet spot" between cheap DJs (~$900/gig) and wedding bands (~$5,000 or more/gig). The horns and strong female leads set the band apart from any other in the central NJ/Philly area and now have an excellent following. The guys and gals make waaaay more than the standard $100/night because they pack their venues (outdoors only right now) and the owners love them for that. Last year, they payed a huge festival gig ("Shadfest" on the Delaware River). After they were done, a guy came over to talk to Mike, the guy who took over after I left. (PS: Mike has three Ph.D,'s and a law degree plus plays trombone, tuba, bass and piano) The guy said: "Hey... I really love your band. If your male lead singer can't make a gig, I'd be real happy to sit in. Think about it." Yeah, yeah...big deal...he handed Mike his card and walked off. Mike looked at the card... Johnny Maesto WHAT???? Johnny Maestro of The Crests and The Brooklyn Bridge? Johnny Maestro who sang "Sixteen Candles" and "The Worst That Could Happen"? THAT JOHNNY MAESTRO????? And he wants to sing with The BassBoards??????? That, my friends, is the greatest complement any musician can ever get. When one of the GIANTS of rock and pop says he'd love to sit in with your must have one hell of a band. Look up The BassBoards, Flemington, NJ on YouTube plus their website. Videos span 15 years of work... Enjoy.