On July 29th from 11am to 8pm, Soulsational Festival will be celebrating music and wellness for its 7th year at Veterans Park in Bayville, NJ. This free community event will feature "live music, local health and wellness businesses and practitioners, giveaways, a silent auction, and lots of opportunities to give back and unite the Jersey Shore community." One of the event's live music acts will be "American Roadhouse-style rock 'n roll" band SLIM CHANCE & THE GAMBLERS. Enjoy this interview with Mario "Slim Chance" Casella (Lead Vocals/Guitars), below:
What's your name, where are you from, where are you based now, and what do you do?
My name is Mario Casella, (Slim) of Slim Chance & The Gamblers. I live in Brick, NJ. I am a full-time musician.
What's your background? What would you like people to know about you & your work?
I grew up in East Orange, NJ. In 1970, I left home to play bass in a full time band called Gunnison Brook in Sunapee, NH. The only other band in town was a band called Areosmith. Of course we became good friends and played together often at local schools and festivals.
I moved to Boston around 1973 to study voice from Dante Pavoni. In early '74, Aerosmith had an apartment on Commonwealth Ave and I used to visit regularly. They would invite me to rehearsals and shows around Boston and at one point, Steve asked me to give Tom Hamilton a few bass lessons to help him along as he was still relatively new to the instrument at that time.
I came to NYC to record with G.B at Good Vibrations studio, home of the Fania All Stars. There I had an opportunity to meet some of the Icons of Latin Music and began to discover the beauty of world music.
By '76 I found myself back in Jersey, this time living in Point Pleasant and playing the top NJ clubs with a band called Borzoi lead by Kim David and Cliff Nivison, formerly of the New York Rock Ensemble (Atco).
In 2010, I joined the Asbury legendary "Blackberry Blues Band" with George Meyer, Pamela Moore, David Meyers, and Jim Verdi.
I had my 2nd big writing spurt in 2010 and wrote over a 100 songs between then and now. I needed a band to play some of them. This is when I formed Slim Chance & The Gamblers. The name derived from the truth. Success in the entertainment biz is a Gamble.
We recorded our 1st self-titled album with Steve Jankowski at Jankland in Belmar and our 2nd album (Jackpot) with Gary Oleyar at Sonoma Sound in Clark. The members are Eric Greene, Steve Murphy, Jimmy Grant, Randy Ledet, Johnny G. Reo, and Gary Oleyar.
How did you hear about Soulsational? What can we expect to see/hear at the festival, and what are you personally most looking forward to?
Michelle Leonard and Gina Leigh reached out to me about the possibility of my band being part of this event. Our style of music is American Roadhouse-style rock 'n roll. I will be performing with PK Lavengood of John Eddie's band on guitar & vocals, Jimmy Grant on bass, and Steve Murphy on drums. We'll play a mix of original music from our 1st two albums and covers by Thorogood, SRV, Skynyard, Traffic, Santos & Johnny, maybe Dylan. There is a midwestern blues based flavor to our music. Goes great with BBQ & Beer.