Johnny Cassera’s love of music started when he was about two years old. Before he could read, he identified his parents’ record albums by memorizing which labels matched his favorite songs. By the time he was eight years old, Johnny was playing music for his family and friends, and from the first time he got his hands on a guitar, he was hooked. Inspired by his love of music, Johnny would watch American Bandstand every day. His first gig was with a high school rock band called the Chordaires, with buddy Sev Moro, and his career officially began at the age of 14 when he played for free sodas at the Sand Pike Inn in Colonie, New York. He and Sev also performed as The Dual Tones.
After high school, Johnny continued his musical career. He taught his buddy Mike Pelton to play guitar, and together with popular singer Bobby Ippolitti, they formed a group called The Fabulous Shy Guys, with Johnny on bass, Mike on guitar, and Bobby on drums. They were voted the best three piece combo in the Tri-City area. Johnny and Bobby later joined the very popular Vinnie Jay Trio, and the rest is history.
Johnny has been playing all his life, but still can’t read a note. He’s traveled all over the Northeast, from Buffalo and Syracuse to Vermont and Massachusetts, as well as clubs in New York City and appearances in Florida. While most of his John & Carappearances have been at Ramada Inns, Holiday Inns, and steakhouses, Johnny has played with and opened for big names like Dion, Paul Anka, Freddie Cannon, Bobby Comstock, and Larry Chance & The Earls. Johnny had a chance to perform in Las Vegas with legendary DJ “Boom Boom” Branigan, but he chose to honor his local commitments to bring music and entertainment to the Capital Region.
Over the years, Johnny has entertained thousands of people. He has a style of his own, playing drums and keyboard simultaneously as well as doing his own vocal harmonies. He also plays lead and bass guitar, drums, and is currently pursuing saxophone.
Johnny has always loved everything about legendary Route 66, so he came up with an idea of incorporating this love into his driving sounds of Doo Wop era music, combining his keyboard and talent to form Johnny Cassera’s Route 66 Band. Johnny sometimes performs solo and sometimes with other talented area musicians, but wherever Johnny appears, the Route 66 Band is there. He is the heart and soul of the Route 66 Band.
Route 66 Band Members
Paul Couch – saxophone
Besides playing with Johnny’s Route 66 Band, Paul performs with the jazz trio Mulligan Stew and often appears with the celebrities when they come to the Times Union Center. Paul was also a member of the very popular Valentinos. It’s always a pleasure playing with Paul.
Vic Meister – saxophone
Vic, a sax and clarinet player, has been playing with Johnny for over 20 years.
Johnny’s Route 66 Band is so busy, he often has to turn down invitations to perform, and what a great feeling that is!