Carmine D'Amico is a studio and performance musician whose outstanding musical legacy and credits are too numerous to cover totally in this brief biographical sketch. I was fortunate to meet and get to know him through his association with my oldest brother, Richie Pratt. Carmine and Richie are still great friends and worked together often on various sessions in New York. Interacting with Carmine D'Amico is like getting a master class about the life of a musician. This is a two part musing, with the first part featuring Carmine's background. The second part will contain the artist interview questions and Carmine's quoted answers.
His skills have been showcased on stage, on records, in movie and television soundtracks, and on commercials that most of us have heard and taken for granted. As a multi-Grammy winner, Carmine represents "THE school" of music, in which the ability to successfully play one's part has been the key to outstanding performance. In today's music world, where it is sometimes sufficient to merely know a few chords and licks in order to make a recording, Carmine stands out as a true student of music and an incredible talent whose flexibility and ability are legendary!
The Early Years
"...Make each note a diamond." That's what his father, Joseph D'Amico, said to him when he was seven years old. He gave Carmine the choice of playing either the piano or the guitar. Carmine has never forgotten those words. The senior D'Amico also told him not to be concerned about how many notes he played when he would solo, but that each note must have meaning. He would sit with Carmine every night, teaching him various musical styles, reading skills, guiding him, and encouraging him to be the best musician he could be. Joe D'Amico was a perfectionist and he instilled that quality in Carmine. Sometimes it's a burden, but it's always motivating. At age 9, Carmine recorded "Who Wears Short Shorts," and it became a big hit. He was then signed to Capitol Records and went on tour. Performances included American Bandstand with Dick Clark, The Allen Fried Show, Soul Train, as well as concerts. Carmine ultimately wound up doing '50s hit records at the ages of 9, 10, and 11 with the Shirelles, Connie Francis, Fabian, Frankie Avalon, and others. When Carmine was in school, he won Academic scholarships to both high school and college. He graduated valedictorian of Trinity High School with a 99.9 average. Carmine found himself pre-med because his father was not confident that anyone could make a living in the music business. Carmine's father wanted him to be a doctor. However, when his professors found the young man composing songs during his classes, they suggested that he do what really made him happy - music. With his father's blessings, Carmine left medical school, transferred to Queens College and majored in music. Despite the fact that he could not attend classes regularly, as he was touring with a variety of performers including - Tammy Grimes, Liza Minelli and Ed Ames, Carmine nonetheless managed to graduate with an "A" average, and received his B.A. in Music Education.
Upon graduating college during the Viet Nam era, Carmine's military service eligibility status immediately changed to a "1-A" draft classification. He entered military service and was accepted into an assignment with a special Army Dance Band. He had no idea that he was going to be stationed in Viet Nam and Guam; or, that he would be working with Bob Hope and a wide variety of other performers supporting troop morale via USO shows. Carmine returned to New York upon honorably completing his tour of duty and resumed his career activities, first joining Ed Ames.
Musician To The Stars