NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - The music world is filled with many famous sets of brothers-Eddie and Alex Van Halen, Duane and Greg Allman as well as Noel and Liam Gallagher to name a few. There may be one more set of brothers to keep your ear out for. Kevin and Justin Giacchetto of North Salem have rocked their way to the finals of the Ridgefield BandJam competition. They will be performing as members of the band Mr. E on Sunday, May 15 at Ridgefield Playhouse.
While Kevin Giacchetto, 17, is older than his brother by almost two years, it is Justin Giacchetto who has been playing longer. Justin Giacchetto started playing the guitar nine years ago.
“My brother started to play the guitar first,” recalled Justin Giacchetto. “He didn’t like it, but he inspired me to play.”
Then in 2010 Justin Giacchetto started to go to School of Rock in Bedford. After seeing his younger brother having so much fun, Kevin Giacchetto decided to reconsider picking up the strings. This time instead of trying the guitar, he felt drawn to the bass.
“I picked up the bass guitar and have been playing it for the past five years,” Kevin Giacchetto said. “I feel like there is more freedom with the bass. You do not have to play chords.”
Justin Giacchetto laughs as he shakes his head from left to right.
“Chords are good,” the younger Giacchetto brother insists.
Since 2011, both boys have been performing in the band Mr. E through School of Rock. Mr E is a teen band comprised of Kevin Giacchetto (bass), 12th grade at North Salem HS; Justin Giacchetto (guitar), 10th grade at North Salem HS; and three Byram Hills high school seniors: Ari Perakis (vocals); Tess Condron (drums); and Vic D’Angelo (keys).
Listing Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd as influences, the Giacchetto brothers admit to liking more of the grunge music style of the 90s such as Foo Fighters and Soundgarden.
Nevertheless, Mr. E plays classic rock songs from the late 1960s and 70s.
“When you are part of a group you have to compromise and do what is best for the group,” said Kevin Giacchetto. “We have a keyboard player and that was an important component to the music back then.”
Justin Giacchetto noted that the style of music also complemented the voice of Perakis the band’s lead singer.
“He is really good with those type of vocals,” Justin Giacchetto said. “He can do a great Robert Plant impersonation.”
In addition, Justin Giacchetto explained that the band members decide on the music based on the crowd.
“When you are playing in front of people, it really is to please the crowd,” the high school sophomore said. There are a lot of songs that are fun to play, but the crowd doesn’t want to hear them. It is more important to gear the music toward the crowd.”
The Ridgefield JamBand competition means a lot to Mr. E, because it marks the band’s last collaboration before all its members, with the exception of Justin Giacchetto, head off the college.
In order to make it to the finals, the band had to first submit an audio of them performing two songs. They then performing live at a closed and judged semi-final round, where they performed “Highway Star” by Deep Purple. At the finals, they will be performing two songs in front of a live audience and judges.
“We picked songs that allow all the members to be highlighted,” said Kevin Giacchetto.
Mr. E will be competing against four other bands that also made it to the finals: Unbothered, Orbits, Leaky Beats and The Dudes. The winners of the competition get a multitude of prizes and bragging rights.
The finals of the Ridgefield BandJam will be held on May 15 starting at 4 p.m. at the Ridgefield Playhouse. Tickets are $20/$15 for students and can be purchased at ridgfieldplayhouse.org.
Kevin Giacchetto is heading off to SUNY Binghamton in the fall. Although he will not be formally studying music, he plans on keeping his bass guitar close to his side.
“I definitely plan on continuing to play,” Kevin Giacchetto said.
Justin Giacchetto plans on pursing music.
There is still hope that these two brothers may have their music climb the charts yet.