Makin Waves with Deal Casino

As always Deal Casino have awesome shows and recordings going on, and they tell Makin Waves all about them, among a few other things.

    Deal Casino have to be one of the busiest indie bands on the planet. They aren’t just making an LP or an EP — they’re making both at the same time. If you can’t wait to hear them, guess what? You can, live on Wednesdays at a residency at Langosta Lounge in the band’s home base of Asbury Park.

  I’ve heard a few of the tracks live at couple of recent shows, and I can tell you that vocalist-guitarist Joe P., keyboardist-guitarist Jozii, bassist Jon Rodney, and drummer Chris Donofrio really have come into their own as songwriters to match their arena-ready sound.

  The band also can be seen live on March 16 at Asbury Park Brewery with Modern Chemistry, Gatherers and ManDancing and March 31 at the Makin Waves 30th Anniversary Party at the Wonder Bar with Williams Honor, The Vansaders, Colossal Street Jam, Nalani & Sarina, Upstage Jam Band featuring Paul Whistler, Vini Lopez, Joe Petillo and Billy Ryan and much, much more.

STREAM Stone Pony record release show: 

What brought you to Asbury Park, when, and how has the city changed since you got there?

  When we were younger, we all played the Stone Pony, so we knew a little bit about Asbury Park; and Chris grew up in Neptune, so he was already down here. As for the other three of us, we started recording at Lake House with Jon Leidersdorff and were truly introduced to the AP scene with our first EP.  We were in college at the time, but decided to pursue this music career together. Joe P and Jon Rodney dropped out of college and moved to Belmar. Joe C shortly moved down, and we started living in Asbury Park. Not that much has really changed since we moved here. Places have closed; places have opened; more buildings are going up. All the changes are pretty irrelevant, but the music community is the same.

How has the band changed personally, professionally and musically since you got to Asbury Park?

  We were pretty young when we moved here, so naturally, we partied a lot and were distracted easily, especially being in a new town and meeting new people. Over the four to five years we’ve been here, we learned a lot about ourselves and what we want out of Deal Casino. Our lyrics are fairly representative of our general character when they were written. The earlier stuff is pretty superficial, but it has slowly evolved, along with ourselves, and the new songs we’ll be releasing soon definitely identity with our present self.

When you first got to Asbury, were you called Deal Casino or did you change the name inspired by the nearby beach club?

  Well, we knew it would be a gamble to make music a career and move to Asbury, but we said, “What the heck,” and put all our money on the music. We’re hoping one day we’ll hit the jackpot. Will you take a risk?

When you first moved to AP, did you have confidence that you would become one of the biggest local bands in the scene or did that take time to develop? 

  When we first moved to AP, we were pretty terrible. We didn’t aspire to be the biggest AP band, we just wanted to become a better band and use AP as a starting point. Luckily, The Saint hosted us every Sunday for the first three months that we were in town, which helped us become better performers. Other bands would play with us too, so we met a bunch of people during that first residency.

What do you thing the biggest factors have been in the development of your sound and your audience?

  The Wallflowers, the Tonic, The Lyric, The Needles, the U2.

How did you meet your manager, Pergo, and what has he done for the band that wouldn’t have happened without him?

We actually haven’t even met Pergo before. He’s basically our “virtual” manager. For all we know, “he” could actually be a “she.” Let us know what he looks like if you end up meeting the guy.

STREAM Calidus: 

You are on tour with your videographer Anthony Yebra’s band, Haunt Club. What do you think of Anthony’s work on the stage and behind the camera, and how did the latter help bring Deal Casino to a wider audience?

  Haunt Club and Deal Casino are like two peas in a pod. If you like a wall of vintage amps and weird noises, then go to a HC/DC show.

  As for Tony’s video work, it’s great! Have the videos helped us reach more people? It’s really hard to say. I don’t even know if people really watch music videos anymore.

You are about to release your fifth record in three years following last year’s self-titled full-length debut sandwiched by three EPs. Do you work full-time at music to maintain that prolific pace or do you fall asleep at your day jobs?

  We all lost our day jobs. We retired. Plz help. Send food and $$. Hire uz. [sic]

How are songwriting duties divvied up within the band?

  We pick chords out of a hat and cut up magazines to decide what our lyrics are. Then we mix and match until it sounds good.

When do you expect to release the next record and will it be an LP or an EP?

  We recorded a decent amount of songs, so we’ll be releasing an EP and an LP. The EP should be out in May.

When will you drop the first single? 

  Hold on, let us check with Pergo.

You recently performed several of the new songs acoustically at The Asbury hotel, and I especially liked one that I believe was about a father and a son. What is that called and what specifically inspired you to write it? 

  “Father’s Day.” If you listen to the song, it’s pretty self-explanatory.

What do you think of the Makin Waves 30th Anniversary Party and why did you want to play it?

  The event seems like a swell show to be a part of. We’re all really excited to see the other bands.

STREAM Red Balloon Acoustic: 

What else is going on with the band as far as shows, residencies, future tours, videos and the like?

  We currently have a residency at Langosta Lounge. It’s more of a practice for us, since we’re playing all new songs each week. We’re also working on everything that coincides with a new record; so, yes, new videos are in the making, as well as summer tours. 

I am going to put you on the spot with the next two questions and you don’t have to answer them if you don’t want to, but what is your favorite Asbury Park venue and why?

  Vintage Subs, meatball parm. No question.

And what is your favorite Asbury Park band and why?

  Either MOGO the Band or Ghost House.


Bob Makin is the reporter for and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at And like Makin Waves at