A Baltimore transplant by way of Los Angeles and Virginia, Cammarata landed in what he refers to as “the devil’s armpit” about seven years ago. Playing in bar bands up and down the east coast in the late 60’s through the early 70’s, Cammarata developed...
A Baltimore transplant by way of Los Angeles and Virginia, Cammarata landed in what he refers to as “the devil’s armpit” about seven years ago. Playing in bar bands up and down the east coast in the late 60’s through the early 70’s, Cammarata developed his signature guitar chops. He also felt compelled to suck up every musical influence within aural range; brit-pop, garage rock, R&B, even (lord have mercy upon his rank soul) prog-rock. As a teen he played on two recordings on the Bay Sound label, working with legendary engineer/producer George Massenberg, although he steadfastly refuses to identify which recordings these were.
He landed, fortuitously, in L.A. in 1975, at the onset of the burgeoning Punk Rock/New Wave scene. It was a cultural besotting for Cammarata. Punch drunk with the sheer audacity of the cultural Dadaism, it was another year before he found his place. That place was helping to put together seminal pop/punk band The Zippers.
The Zips killed live, regularly selling out to SRO crowds (as if there were any other kind at the time) at The Whiskey, The Starwood, and just about anyplace they showed up. Regularly opening for the likes of Patti Smith, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Buzzcocks, and John Cale, and teaming with local juggernauts like The Blasters and The Plimsouls, the band quickly became the rather critical darlings (talk to critic/music historian/author Don Waller, and LA Times critics Robert Hilburn and Richard Cromelin) of the LA scene.
Eventually teaming with former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and publicist Danny Sugerman, the band released a six song "mini-lp" in 1980 on Rhino Records with Manzarek producing. Several of the songs have since been appropriated for use on half a dozen different punk/pop collections. An earlier single release on Back Door Man Records, “You’re So Strange”, found its way into the Dennis Christopher film “Fade to Black”. Soon after the release of the Manzarek produced vinyl The Zippers called it quits.
In 1993, after years of sludging through the dystopic musical wasteland that So Cal had become, Cammarata decided that playing in bands and subjecting himself to the abject drudgery of pandering to corporate musical entities, was the death knell to creativity. He gave up the ghost, sold his gear, and retired to Virginia. His explanation? “… somehow over the last 10 years, boring shit has replaced talentless shit. What the fuck am I supposed to do with that”?
In 2006, three years after arriving in what he calls “the most vapid cultural wasteland this side of Beatrice, Nebraska”, Cammarata had his musical fuse reignited. He doesn’t say how, why, or by whom. It just happened.
His attention now turned to writing and recording in solitude in his small home studio, Cammarata’s musical diatribes caught the ears of some long lost friends in L.A. One thing led to another, and within six months of completing his first solo album “Lemme Outa Here” he was offered a publishing/licensing deal with indie label Funzalo Records in Tucson. The intent was to hawk his “amalgam of gutter blues, spaghetti western mastications, and late night innuendo” (thank you editors of last.com) to indie film and cable TV. “It’s a slow and, so far, quite unrewarding process… the selling, not the recording”, he states.
With his newest Funzalo release “Late Night Innuendo” due for release in (insert date of choice here), Cammarata has decided that this is the time to “stand up and continue in the grand tradition of making an ass of myself”. To that end he has been one-man-banding it around town, performing acoustic shows at any venue that would accommodate his slide-washed, trailer park, blues-noire. By his measure, this means “just about any place that doesn't have a morality clause pinned to the door”.
The unforeseen payoff is thus… Armed with musical miscreants, skin-slapper Lou Larue, thump-humper Mickey Campbell, and no-creative-adjective-needed keyboardist/saxaphonist Mike Hennesy, Cammarata, as part of the entity known as The Lost Souls, made their debut at The Rhythm Room in Phoenix on January 31st.
They are committed to making the musical waters totally unsafe for public swimming. The walls will be shakin’, the ground may well open up and swallow the band like Jonah, but to paraphrase a well known, dead drunk rock singer “no one here will get out alive”… metaphorically speaking that is.