In preview of the opening “Joey Nite” of the Makin Waves Fest on May 17 at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, Joey Affatato chats about his deep relationship with each act on the bill: Christine Mitchell, The Carousers, The Mighty John Caseys, and The Cryptkeeper Five!
Joey Affatato is one of the hardest working people in the New Jersey music scene. He plays in two bands—The Carousers and The Mighty John Caseys—and manages others as a staff member of Dimm Entertainment. They include one of my favorite Jersey acts, The Cryptkeeper Five, whose founding front man, Johnny Ott, is Joey’s band mate in The Mighty John Caseys, as well as his uncle.
In tribute to Joey’s dedication and lovable, uplifting personality, the opening night of the Makin Waves Fest unofficially but affectionately has been dubbed “Joey Nite.” The evening on May 17 at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch will feature all three of the aforementioned bands, plus an opening solo set by Joey’s girlfriend, the lovely and talented Christine Mitchell, whose emerging duo with Joey will be a force with which to be reckoned.
Joey will play three continuous sets that night with Christine, The Carousers, and then The Mighty John Caseys, before the CK5 close out that night. I recently spoke to Joey about this performance and his close relationship with each of the performers.
How did The Carousers get together, were you in any bands together before that, and what other bands were the three of you in before The Carousers?
We met in college. All of us went to Monmouth University and studied in the music program. Cassidy (Crosby, bassist) is wrapping up her senior year!
When will you be following up your 2017 self-titled five-song EP and with what?
We’ve been writing for a long while now. Definitely have some great stuff, but it’s definitely all about quality over quantity for us. Expect a new single or two in the coming months.
You are very close to your uncle, Johnny Ott, the leader of The Cryptkeeper Five—not only as family, but also as manager of his band for Dimm Entertainment, his partner in your duo, The Mighty John Caseys, and band mates in your former band, The Ramparts Rebel. How did Johnny influence you to make music and at what age did that influence begin to take shape?
My uncle has been my biggest inspiration! He started teaching me how to play/sing/write songs when I was around 11-years-old. I’m pretty thankful for the way he taught me since it really put my songwriting first and my instruments secondary. I’d really consider myself a songwriter rather than a singer-guitar player, and it’s pretty awesome to learn from the best I’ve ever known. If ya’ have a sec, go check out the CK5’s new album, The Stronghold, and you’ll see what I mean.
What do you like most about working with Johnny as both manager and band mate?
He’s super creative. Probably the most creative person I know! He knows pretty well what he’s going for and is able to execute. Not many people can do that. It blows my mind.
What do you like most about working for Dimm?
Our slogan, “Where Artists Are Family,” pretty much sums it up.
Are there any acts besides the CK5 that you handle for them?
I help with all the bands!
Are there any other music gigs you have besides your bands and Dimm? If so, what are they and what do you do?
I’ve been dabbling in graphic design if anyone needs help! Hit me up!
For a while, you were running Lakehouse’s label, MOTO Records. What did you learn most from that gig?
Definitely learned how to wear a lot of different hats while working with a deadline. It gave me the chance to get better at my craft and develop new ones. Super thankful for the whole Lakehouse team and MOTO Records. If you have an opportunity, check them out!
Your girlfriend, Christine Mitchell, is very talented. Any plans to collaborate with her live
and/or in the studio?
(Laughs) We’ve been jamming for sure! Maybe sometime soon? We’ll keep that one a surprise.
You’re performing with Christine, The Carousers, and The Mighty John Caseys, who are sharing the bill with the CK5 on May 17 at the Makin Waves Fest, at an event I affectionately have dubbed “Joey Nite,” as a salute to your impact on the local music scene at a young age. What do you think of Joey Nite and what are you most looking forward to about it?
(Laughs) I appreciate the recognition! It’ll be a fun night for sure with a lot of great talent. I hope a lot of people come out!
If you could, what would you do to make the New Jersey music scene even better?
I’d put a soda machine in every venue!!!! (laughs). I think the NJ scene is pretty great. Adding more DIY spaces would be cool. Also, I think more networking events could be cool to help bring more musicians together besides playing gigs.
What else are The Carousers and Mighty John Caseys up to this spring and summer?
Hopefully recording. I’ve been working diligently with both projects. Stay tuned!
As the manager of The Cryptkeeper Five, what else is up with them?
We’ve got a few small tours in the works. New music cooking. Be on the lookout for a very big announcement coming next month.
For more about The Carousers, visit https://www.facebook.com/thecarousersnj/ and on Instagram (@thecarousersnj). For more information on Joey Affatato, please visit www.joeyaffatato.com.
Bob Makin has been a contributor to The Aquarian Weekly since 1988.
Contact him at: email@example.com, or visit Makin Waves on Facebook: facebook.com/makinwavescolumn