"EXPERIENCE JANIS" is a soon-to-be-performed tribute show that highlights the careers of
two of rock's most famous musicians: the late JIMI HENDRIX, and JANIS JOPLIN.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to have access to a rehearsal for this upcoming show, which
is scheduled to make its premier at 8pm EST on MAY 7th, 2010 at the newly-renovated BOUND BROOK
THEATER, which is located at 10 Hamilton St. in Bound Brook, NJ.
Vocalist CC COLETTI (Meatloaf), and ANTHONY KRIZAN (Spin Doctors, Noel Redding Band) are
the creators and braintrusts behind this effort. These two musicians have been collaborating
since 2004, when COLETTI was asked to join in a project that KRIZAN and fellow musician TOM
MARSHALL (Phish) were working on which was called "AMPHIBIAN." The two struck up a working partnership,
along with her spouse and current band mate, bassist T.J. JABLONSKI, that is still in full swing
The concept of "EXPERIENCE JANIS" was conceived one afternoon/evening while these band mates
were "hanging on the back porch having a few beers." COLETTI, who has been performing for the
last sixteen years, lists JANIS JOPLIN as a major musical influence. KRIZAN, who spent ten years
in former Hendrix Experience member Noel Redding's band, lists JIMI HENDRIX as one of his. So
it was only a matter of time before the two decided to use their talents to pay tribute to their
Upon walking into KRIZAN's SONIC BOOM STUDIOS in Raritan, NJ, my side-kick BC and I were
greeted by a smiling COLETTI, who immediately made us feel very welcome. Once inside, we were
introduced to Mr. ARNIE WENDT, who is playing keyboards for this project, along with the aforementioned
T.J. JABLONSKI on bass guitar, and JOHN HUMMEL on drums.
Each one of these amazingly talented musicians were not only accessible, but engaging, and
very approachable. We were instantly offered a beverage and told to "make ourselves comfortable."
We were also given the freedom to roam in and out of the rehearsal room as well as all around
the studio at will. The ability to watch these players as they put together this show from any
angle that I wished was truly a site to behold.
Now, for any of you who have been reading my blogs here, or listen to ROCK ON RADIO, you
may recall that I too am a musician. However, watching this project come together was a thrill
for me because it allowed me insight from a behind-the-scenes perspective. Honestly, I have
never been privy to anything like this in my musical journey, so it was a very exciting day
as well as a great learning experience for me in many ways.
Whether it was the attention to detail on a song like "Crosstown Traffic," or the soulful
blues rifts on a song like "Little Wing," or the incredible likeness with which COLETTI does
her vocals, there was much to learn from watching these skilled artists as they prepared for
"EXPERIENCE JANIS" is an approximate two-hour show, where the band will intertwine the music
along with on-screen psychedelic images and pictures. There will also be some tales to be told
along the way. In the words of COLETTI, "We want to make this a kick-ass trip back to some '60's
rock and roll!"
I asked COLETTI how they arrived at what material to choose and her response was one that
I kind of expected. "There are SO many songs that we WANT to do, but there are songs that we
HAVE to do. Anthony and I have so many favorites, but when you are doing a tribute, you must
do the popular material. Unfortunately, this sometimes means leaving out some songs that please
us in order to please everyone."
COLETTI has her hands full with this project. Besides the music she's perfecting, she is
also the business end of the project; a fact not lost on her as she puts this all together.
"This is so much more work when you have to do it on your own. When I tour with Meatloaf, there
are business managers, tour managers, and people who handle everything. All I have to concentrate
on is the music. Doing this is very different, but playing is my passion and is very rewarding."
CC along with KRIZAN and JABLONSKI also perform upwards of one hundred shows during the
course of a year under the name The CC COLETTI BAND, most of which are of the acoustic variety.
So to say that music and performing is a "passion" of hers may be an understatement.
Her first CD, "Woodstock Lane," is a fantastic collection of blues driven rock featuring
the guitar work of KRIZAN along with the very capable, professional musicians that comprise
the band for "EXPERIENCE JANIS."
KRIZAN is handling the musical side of this tribute show. Spending ten years alongside former
HENDRIX alum NOEL REDDING has allowed playing HENDRIX to become second nature to him.
I watched with amazement how effortlessly he ripped off the rifts that made the '60's rock
icon a legend. Afterward, I spoke with him about several topics, the HENDRIX/NOEL REDDING connection
being one of them. Reiterating to me how HENDRIX influenced him musically, he was introduced
to REDDING by a friend, FRANKIE LAROCCA. The two hit it off and began to work together musically.
On and off for the next ten years KRIZAN would tour and play shows with REDDING. "Every few
months we'd bring Noel over here and we'd tour, or play some shows."
KRIZAN recalled a personal favorite show of his at a club called The Wetlands. "I'll never
forget Noel telling me that he was planning on calling a guy up on stage that night when we
played. Right before we play "Hey Joe" he calls a guy by the name of TIM ROSE. We do a version
of the song that was incredible! After the show, Noel tells me that he was the original writer
of "Hey Joe" and that HENDRIX "borrowed" it from him." KRIZAN went on to elaborate about how
ROSE never actually got the proper credit that he deserved for the song.
ANTHONY also relayed a few more stories which he heard from REDDING about "Electric Ladyland
Studios" and the recording sessions of JIMI HENDRIX. It's this type of insight, as well as playing
alongside of REDDING, that gives "EXPERIENCE JANIS" a leg up on other tribute shows. KRIZAN
learned first hand from someone who was there, was part of the "Experience," and was able to
share and show him what the real HENDRIX and his music were about. Several times throughout
the rehearsal, I closed my eyes and allowed KRIZAN's guitar work and vocals to transport me
back to a different era.
After rehearsal ended, we all grabbed a beer and sat down for an informal chat. It was here
where I got to know these amazingly talented artists. Lining the walls of SONIC BOOM STUDIOS
are gold records and pictures of KRIZAN on stage with numerous rockers. I was astonished to
find all of the different people that he is or has been associated with.
CC COLETTI and her husband of ten years T.J. JABLONSKI also joined in this very informative
discussion. I discovered that they are extremely dedicated to their music, and their craft.
JABLONSKI summed it up best when he started the conversation off by saying, "We are professionals.
We look, act, and have the "attitude" of professionals. Our goal is to make people think "I
want to be you" for that short time that we're all together."
I then asked COLETTI and KRIZAN if there is ever a struggle playing smaller venues and clubs.
I asked if it was tough to go from playing in front of 10,000 fans or better, down to a hundred
or less. COLETTI's response was simple, "In big arenas and large venues, playing to crowds that
size, you're almost "godlike," but a true performer plays the same in front of ten or ten thousand."
JABLONSKI added that in order to be a successful musician or performer "You must be TRUE
to yourself." A sentiment that was emphatically echoed by KRIZAN.
Along these lines, I asked their opinion of today's music. All three unanimously agreed that
it's "not very good." They said (and I agreed), "Too much sounds the same."
KRIZAN talked at length about new devices in the recording process that allow mediocrity
to sound good, as well as a listening audience to not be able to determine one artist from another.
"So much today, with new recording technology, allows artists to cover their mistakes. There's
no more style, it's all a certain "SOUND" that they're going for."
I remarked as to how there was once a time when you heard a brand new song from an established
artist and you knew it was them because of their style. Today, that's not the case. Once again,
it's this simple attention to detail, and dedication, that sets these musicians apart from many
others. It's also what's going to make "EXPERIENCE JANIS" a tribute show to be reckoned with.
I would love to thank Michael Martinez, ANTHONY KRIZAN, and CC COLETTI, for allowing me
access to them in such a way where I felt very relaxed and comfortable. Seeing their true professionalism,
accompanied by such down-to-earth attitudes was a true pleasure and an experience that I'll
not soon forget.
I encourage everyone to go see "EXPERIENCE JANIS," opening on MAY 7th, 2010.
For more information
Experience Janis: www.myspace.com/experiencejanis
- For press photos and music samples.
CC Coletti: www.myspace.com/cccoletti
Anthony Krizan: www.myspace.com/anthonykrizan
WHEN: Friday May 7 @ 8:30pm
Doors @ 7:30pm
WHERE: Brook Arts Center
10 Hamilton Street
Bound Brook, New Jersey
For directions go to: www.brookarts.org.
This Sunday, May 2, ROCK ON RADIO is pleased to have Flemington, NJ rocker CHRISTINE MARTUCCI
as my guest! Preview her at
Turn on... tune in... and ROCK ON!