Artists come in many forms. You have visual artists that create paintings and sculptures. Then there are actors who perform as different characters in stage and screen. Then there are musicians who make songs and symphonies that resonate with people. There are so many different ways in which a person can pursue the arts. Sometimes the creativity manifests itself early on in their life. Other times, it just shows up when you least expect it. Life is weird like that sometimes. You don’t really know where it’ll go.
Whenever I research for this kind of post, I try to find as many sources as I can to get a picture of what their life is like. Depending on how well-documented a certain artist or band is, you may get a lot of information that you have to condense into the beats you want to go through. But it’s likely that you’re not going to get a lot of information because a lot of the sources are no longer available. It’s great that there are internet archiving websites. But it will only get you so far.
A person’s childhood could reflect a lot on the type of thing they would pursue later on in their life. I have seen a lot of musical artists who grew up in a household that listened to a lot of music. Growing up that way influences your taste in music. Sometimes that would lead them to start writing songs for themselves. Eventually they would post that on the internet. Then they’d manage to somehow go viral. And their career explodes in a way they didn’t expect. This mostly applies to the internet but most of the steps in this sort of applies to other musicians.
Take John Cafferty for example. When he was a teenager, he started a garage band called the Nightcrawlers. Judging by the name, you can kind of see a bit of that teenage angst. As John and his friends in Rhode Island grew up, the band slowly evolved into the East-West Blues Band. They did a bunch of gigs for people the same age as them. For the most part, people who are within the same range as you can relate a lot to the music that you do.
The band broke up when they graduated from high school. John went to college at Rhode Island College. There isn’t really much to be known about what degree John took up. Though you have to wonder if that degree mattered to what John Cafferty would later do in his career. He ran into an old friend of his named Kenny Jo Silva who was a drummer in a band called Luvin’ Kynd. Got to appreciate the stylized naming. Kenny invited John to be the band’s vocalist because the previous one left the band. It seems that John only spent a bit of time as a vocalist before Luvin’ Kynd disbanded in 1972.
John and Kenny decided to start a new band instead of using Luvin’ Kynd. They had managed to find of some of the best musicians you can find in Rhode Island. John and Kenny along with guitarist Gary Gramolini, bassist Pat Lupo, keyboardist Bobby Cotoia and saxophonist Paul Jackson created the band Beaver Brown. The name was based on a specific swatch of paint. They mostly rehearsed for a long time in order to find each other’s rhythms.
It was shortly after that they managed to get their first gig. Slowly but surely, they started to consistently get gigs around the state. After four years with the group, Paul Jackson left the band. But they had managed to find a new saxophone player by the name of Michael Antunes. Soon after they started going to gigs in other states. In 1980, they released their first single “Wild Summer Nights.”
It’s definitely hard self-release any kind of music. You don’t have the kind of reach that a record label has. Especially during the 1980s. Despite getting airplay in a few cities and selling a decent amount of copies of their single, it didn’t really lead them to getting signed on a label. Eventually, they were hired by producer Kenny Vance to do the music for an adaptation of Eddie and the Cruisers. But the movie didn’t really do well in the box office. It wasn’t until it aired in HBO that the soundtrack got a lot more attention.
The attention they were getting lead them to get signed to the label that distributed the soundtrack. They managed to release their first album that had a few songs make it to the top of the charts. But their next few releases didn’t do all that great. Somehow there was a sequel to Eddie and the Cruisers that they contributed to. But that sequel and the soundtrack also didn’t do well. They had managed to contribute to a few movie soundtracks after that. But the label decided not to renew their contract with Beaver Brown.
Even though they didn’t so as well as recording artists, they still got a bunch of gigs as a live act. A few changes to the lineup happened due to health issues but Cafferty and the rest of Beaver Brown seem to have still been doing shows in the 2010s. At that point, John had a net worth of about $2,000,000.