Deal Casino is back in the studio to record a full-length LP to be released this coming fall.
I first heard of Deal Casino a few years back when the band ago when they played at The Saint in Asbury Park each week throughout that summer. This gig allowed the band to build a following of fans of all ages. Each week, more and more fans were coming to see them live, finding out about shows primarily through word of mouth.
The band is made up of Joe Parella (vocals), Jozii Cowell (guitar), Jon Rodney (bass), and Chris Donofrio (drums). However, the band usually keeps to their first names when they announce themselves as a group, so through the rest of the article, they are Joe P, Jozi, Jon, and Chris.
The music was only one aspect of what they brought to the table. Their stage show was exciting, and they dressed the part wearing anything from tight jeans to furry coats. However, even with their wild style, this is a group that is tightly-knit to their jobs. It was clear where the band’s priorities lay when I started asking them about their hobbies outside of music. The room went quiet as the four men dug through their brains trying to think of a worthwhile hobby to share besides for their music together. The guys said they are all committed to making this record and have little downtime to spend doing anything else.
Deal Casino is a band that not only plays music together, but they all also live together. Their chemistry is important to not just to their work life but their personal life as well. I asked them about the dynamics within their band, which they said haven’t always been as solid as they are now. The change happened when they met current drummer Chris, who was an instant fit to the band’s vibe. His addition pushed the group to get the recording process started.
Other than Chris, the rest of the band decided to drop out of school to play music full time. They each agreed that this was a scary time for them, but have no regrets after the success they have received thus far.
Deal Casino has won a few Asbury Music Awards and packed the Asbury Park Yacht Club last summer every Sunday. Fans would spill out onto the boardwalk of the Yacht club just to hear them play. The group made such an impact at this event that they were invited back this summer to play the Yacht Club on Sundays once again starting in mid-May. If this summer is anything like last year, who knows what opportunity will present itself for 2017.
Getting to Know the Individuals
Also involved with the group is the owner of Lakehouse Recording Studios, Jon Leidersdorff, who sits in on meetings with the band and acts as a mentor for them. Leidersdorff is an important part of the group because he helps them stay focused on a progressive path with their music and schedule while making sure he doesn’t interfere with their direction as a band.
From their sound, and our meeting, it was easy to see that each bandmate has a different personality that complements the rest. For example, Chris is very talkative and outspoken in the group, while he says guitarist Jozii is an introvert who thinks bowling is fun. Then there is Joe P, who says his time spent watching science fiction movies, which he enjoys greatly, have inspired many of his ideas. Lastly, there is bassist Jon Rodney, who is always laughing, smiling, and in high-spirits.
So far, the band has about ten songs which each member took part in writing. Their process shows not only their dedication just to their music but each other as well.