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Domenick Ginex Musical Bio
The Early YearsWhen I was growing up my mother was constantly playing the piano and singing. She was a classically trained piano player and singer. So for many years I was exposed to opera and classical music. At the time I didn't understand it but I heard it almost every night.
I took piano lessons for a couple of years starting in second grade. As with most piano lessons given to children at that age and at that time I was not lead in the direction of understanding the music that I was being asked to play. I was just told to learn "Little Brown Jug" and "Old McDonald" and I had to memorize those songs for a recital and that was that. Well the experience really didn't inspire me to play much music and I quit the lessons after a while.
When I was about 13 years old I saw a TV movie which made a lasting impression on me. What struck me the most about the show was a scene in which a group of friends were at a park and one of the guys was playing a guitar and singing. I had seen that type of thing before but for some reason now I thought that it was so cool that someone could entertain others and himself in such a way with this instrument that you could bring with you where ever you went. I was truly inspired to try to play music again.
Soon after that I started taking guitar lessons at Paragon Music on Hillsborough Ave in Tampa Florida. My first teacher was Philip Schumaker (called himself "Flip") who was kind of a groovy cool, jazzy kind of a guy. He would play jazz for me often and at the time I just could not grasp what he was playing but I liked the sound. "Flip" taught me the basic open chords and bar chords and starting me down the path of improvising (no surprise considering his jazz background) by teaching me the Pentatonic and major scales. I learned a lot from "Flip" but a year or so into it he moved on to other adventures and stopped teaching at Paragon. I then started taking lessons from Butch Darby who had been teaching a friend of mine. Butch was more of a singer/player and so he was more song oriented as compared to Flip's solo/improvise orientation. Under Butch's tutelege I learned many songs and learned how to figure songs out for myself. He really helped with my "ear" training.
At this point I was really hooked on music. I would spend hours and hours figuring out song after song and guitar parts from albums. Led Zepellin, Ted Nugent, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, The Eagles, Neil Young, Lynyrd Skynyrd, etc. and then later it was Devo and The Cars and Joe Jackson and more of The Beatles and Elvis Costello and The Babies and the Knack and Tom Petty and on and on. Below is a photo of me in 1979 in the "music" room practicing.
Also about this time I started high school and I started to make friends with other musicians. As with most young lads at that age the thought of being in a ROCK AND ROLL BAND had a mystic and overwhelming appeal.
Below are some photos of one of the first bands I was in, namely The Wizards. The band included myself on guitar and vocals (middle in first photo), Angelo Piazza on vocals (right in first photo), Richard Coton on bass (left in first photo), Dennis Alfonso on guitar (not shown), Anthony Comparetto on guitar (not shown) and Kenny Turkel on drums (second photo). We played several parties throughout high school and were fairly popular. We had personnel changes and a name change along the way (changed to "The Officials").
Pre and Early College YearsJust before and during my early college years I continued to play parties and now bars and nightclubs with the latest variation of The Officials which included Ralphi Ghioto on bass, Anthony Comparetto on guitar and John Canning on drums. We were heavily influenced by New Wave and Punk at this time and we started incorporating original material into our sets. We would frequent the New Wave and Punk bars in Tampa such as the Buffalo Roadhouse on the corner of Buffalo and Armenia Avenues and the Red Rose Pub in North Tampa. Bands such as Zenith Nadir and The Straight Jackets would play these bars often and we would follow their performances.
From 1982 thru 1984 gigs were fairly infrequent since Ralph and I were in Gainesville and Anthony and John were in Tampa.
I moved back to Tampa in 1985 and The Officials regrouped with myself on guitar, Anthony Comparetto on bass, Dennis Alfonso on guitar and John Canning on drums. We played parties and bars but mainly we were the house band for the Act IV Lounge on Franklin Street in downtown Tampa and we would play there every week and also open for other headlining acts that would come through Tampa. At that time our main focus was on original material (Anthony and I were the songwriters in the group) although we did some covers of bands like The Cure and UB40.
Around this time it was becoming clear that we were really on the tail end of the New Wave/original music scene in Tampa that boomed in the late 70's early 80's. The Officials soon disbanded.
The CorporationAbout the time that The Officials were winding down I got involved with a band called The Corporation. The Corporation was basically a wedding and party band which included a sax player and friend of mine named Joe Teston and his keyboard playing brother Gene. Anthony Comparetto and Dennis Alfonso were already playing in the band at the time. Gene was getting ready to leave the band and they needed someone to play keyboards so they asked me to join. I really wasn't a keyboard player per se but I definitely could play songs on the piano and keyboard and I was interested in the possibilities, so I joined up.
I played with The Corporation for years. The heavy playing years were from 1985 to about 1990 but actually we still play a gig now and then even today.
At first we played mainly weddings but eventually we started playing parties and bars. When we played bars we would go by the name The Unknown.
Playing in The Corporation was a great musical learning experience because there was such a large variety of musical styles that we played. A typical wedding gig would progress as follows... Start with a "cocktail hour" where we would play jazz and light contemporary pop songs. Then we would start picking up the pace by playing contemporary and oldies dance songs. We had a 50's/60's medley that was a standard for us to play, including songs like Shout, Good Lovin, The Twist and Johnny B Goode. Then we would start getting into contemporary rock songs, for example we would get requests for Nirvana songs or U2 songs. If it was a Cuban or Spanish wedding then we would play songs such as Guantanamera, La Bamba and Morena. If it was an Italian wedding we would play the Tarantella. If it was a Jewish wedding we would play Havah Nagilah. We almost always played the Beer Barrel Polka and yes, we even played the Chicken Dance. Sometimes we would play country songs and sometimes we would get requests to play classic rock songs like Freebird. Basically we had to be ready to play anything and everything.
Once we moved beyond weddings to playing at bars it was easy. We knew how to improvise and "wing it" for hours and we knew how to get people to dance. We had a huge repertoire from years of playing weddings. Not only did we play a ton of oldies rock, classic rock and contemporary rock songs but you would be surprised to see how fired up people in a bar would get when we played a polka or latin tune. Our performances were very popular in the nightclubs.
We had several personnel changes in The Corporation but the basic core band that stayed together throughout the years consisted of myself (vocals and various instruments including keyboards, bass, and guitar), Joe Teston (sax, keyboards, vocals), Dennis Alfonso (vocals, guitar) and Jeff Spencer (drums).
Below are some photos of The Corporation. The first photo is a wedding at the Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club in Tampa. The second photo is a New Years gig. That's me playing bass in the middle, Dennis is playing the green Stratocaster to the left, Joe playing sax and keyboards to the right and Jeff on drums.
The next photos shows The Unknown playing at the Coral Reef Bar and Grill on Bay to Bay Blvd in Tampa (now named the Red Dog Bar and Grill).
The next 2 photos show us playing on a float in Tampa's Gasparilla parade. That's me playing the cream colored Stratocaster in the first shot and then in the back behind Joe the sax player in the second shot.
Liz Back on BoozeWhile we were in The Corporation Jeff Spencer and I also started playing with another band. Some friends of ours were interested in playing original alternative music. Thus Liz Back on Booze was formed, consisting of myself on guitar and vocals, Jeff Spencer on drums, Philip Booth on bass and vocals and Bryan Zink on guitar and vocals.
Liz Back on Booze was mainly original alternative rock music with myself, Phil and Bryan composing. We played mainly at bars but we also played an occasional party. One year we played for hundreds of people during Tampa's Guavaween celebration.
We also did a lot of recording in the studio and put out a tape that we sold at local music stores and outlets and also sent to record labels. The tape was reviewed by the College Music Journal and by Players Magazine, a local music publication (see the Liz Back on Booze web site). At one point Sony Records reviewed and showed some interest in the tape.
Click here to see the Liz Back on Booze web site
Below are some photos of Liz Back on Booze in the studio. The first shot is me looking in on someone in the recording booth. The second shot shows me with the sound engineer. Third shot includes (in order from left to right) me, Phil (leaning down), Robert Babalonia (also known as Bab - he was Jeff's replacement) and Bryan. The fourth shot shows Joe Teston (sitting in), Phil and myself adding some horn parts to a song.
Liz Back on Booze eventually burned out and faded away. But we had a good time with Liz Back on Booze and we learned a lot about recording music and also trying to get signed with record labels. I still jam and play parties every now and then with Phil and Bryan.
Bop CityPhil, Joe and I went on to form a jazz group called Bop City. It also included Glen Loomer on drums and Sam Koppelman on the vibraphone. For a while we played every week at Peterson's in downtown Tampa and we also played other bars in Tampa. At one point we opened for famous jazz guitarist Larry Coryell and then later for famous jazz pianist Kenny Drew Jr.
These days Phil and Joe still play under the name Bop City every once in a while.
Below are some Bop City clips from Players Magazine.
Guitar Lessons ProSo after all that music and all that time how did I come to create Guitar Lessons Pro?
What I haven't mentioned yet is that I graduated with an Engineering degree from the University of South Florida. I worked as an engineer and software developer for about 12 years. At one point I had my own Internet consulting business. Currently I am a software development manager for a company in Tampa.
I love the Internet as much as I love music. With my software development and Internet background I concieved of Guitar Lessons Pro as a way to reach out to people over the Internet and teach them what I know and what I have learned about music and the guitar. It really has been a very personally fulfilling experience to create this product and to be able to share it with people over the Internet. Hopefully you will be able to experience and enjoy Guitar Lessons Pro.
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