By Emilie Hagen
It’s hard to say which is more impressive: Sharing the stage with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, starry-eyed Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley or singer/director/screenwriter and most recently reality television personality Bret Michaels of Poison.
Props then to guitarist John Mameli who can say he’s done it all.
Even though this Lewiston native’s list of impressive gigs goes on much longer — such as being named North American Rock Guitar Champion in 2005 and mastering the mystical illusion of guitar levitation — when rhythm and blues rock and roll guitarist John Vincent Mameli comes to play a show at Water Street Landing this Sunday, he “just wants to have fun.”
“I’ll be doing whatever comes to my head,” he said about his upcoming show. “I just want to have fun, get people on stage and make it a great party.”
And can anybody blame him?
A man with as many as resume-worthy perks as Mameli, is looking to do something most trained musicians do after busting through the technicalities, playing for the art of enjoyment, or as Mameli puts it “forgetting everything you’ve learned ... just play.”
His show Sunday is being produced and promoted by Steve Goodman, Entertainment Coordinator at Water Street Landing and one of Mameli’s high school friends. Both are ’67 LaSalle High School graduates.
“I haven’t talked to him in 43 years. The funny part is we were kids when we left each other, now we’re old men,” joked Goodman. “We’re going to get a good laugh and have some fun.”
Mameli, who currently resides with his wife in Naples, Fla., has been gone for nearly 30 years, productively spending time on and off the road with his own band “Mameli,” and making guest appearances for several big-named rock and metal bands. He frequently books shows in Las Vegas and Hollywood, gracing the stage at some of Sunset Strip’s best stages including Whisky a Go Go and the House of Blues.
Goodman has booked two local musicians to accompany Mameli on stage, popular Niagara Falls rocker Jamie Holka and Buffalo Music Hall of Fame guitarist Frank Grisanti.
“There’s a lot of great musicians in Western New York,” said Mameli. “When I get guys on stage and know how good they are, instead of being relaxed, I’m really gonna push them.”
Opening up for Mameli at 2 p.m. is funk-soul group “Higher Vibe,” five jazz majors from SUNY Purchase, featuring Jerry Livingston, originally the bass player for Rick James who Goodman deems “the godfather of bass players in Western New York.” Mameli starts playing at 5:30 p.m.
Even though Mameli has more bragging rights than most, he rarely namedrops, despite achieving the career that every musician aspires to, according to his former school mate.
“John’s made a living by just playing,” Goodman said.
IF YOU GO
WHO: John Vincent Mameli
WHAT: Performance at Water Street Landing
WHERE: 115 S. Water Street, Lewiston
WHEN: 5:320 p.m. Sunday
MORE INFO: Contact Steve Goodman at 912-2237