Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR READERS: As a prelude to the letter below from Joey Dee — especially for those who may have missed it — here is a letter we received and printed from Michele Sipicsky, of Holiday Fla:

"In the late 1950s and early '60s, my father, Don Passaro, played drums with Joey Dee and the Starliters. Unfortunately, he died when I was only six. Now, I would like to know if there are any recordings made with my dad as their drummer.

His name was Don Passaro, but he used Don Martin as a professional name."

Now, more on that story from he who knows best, Joey Dee:

DEAR JERRY: I am surprised and flattered that you mentioned me in your interesting column, which I read every week. I have also received numerous phone calls and copies of your columns in the mail, from friends.

In reference to the letter from Michele Sipicsky, her dad was indeed in my band. Unfortunately, though, he never recorded with me.

Since Holiday is only about 10 miles from where I live, I found Michele's number and gave her a call. We planned a meeting, at which time I gave her some photos of her dad and me — none of which she had ever seen. I also filled in some of the voids in her knowledge of her dad's musical career.

On another matter related to your column, Warren R. McClard, of Milwaukee, wrote asking if actor Joe Pesci and I are one in the same. Of course, your answer that we are not is correct.

As you indicated, my real name is Joseph DiNicola. I was born in Passaic, N.J., and went to high school with the Shirelles. It was they who got me my contract with Scepter Records, in 1960.

However, the confusion between myself and Joe Pesci may be attributed to his playing guitar for me, but only for a brief time in 1961.

Your readers may be interested to know that the first movie role for Joe Pesci — another New Jersey native — was as an extra in my 1962 movie, "Hey, Let's Twist."

Though it is not widely known, Joe Pesci is also a fine vocalist.

You keep writing, Jerry, and I'll keep reading.
—Joey Dee, Clearwater, Fla.

DEAR JOE: What a wonderful surprise that must have been for Michele. How thoughtful of you.

Also, I am grateful for the nice comments you've tossed in my direction. I am sure we will talk again.

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