It's pretty hard to write
a bio about yourself without sounding too narcissistic, isn't it? I never
could understand how people write their own bios in the 3rd person...I always
get a kick out of that. I'll just tell you about me.
I started playing Piano at the age of 6. I asked my mother if I could have lessons. Back then my family was of limited means so the best my mother could do was get me "Michael Aaron's Grade 1 piano course, Book 1" and gave it to me with the words, "We can't afford lessons so if you really want to learn, you'll teach yourself." Little did I know that I was learning the most important lesson of my life - how to teach myself. Not only did I learn how to play piano, but I learned how to write, arrange and engineer music and never took a formal music lesson until I entered college. Basically I learned growing up in the school of experience and through that I learned how to be a musician.
My love of music is what sustained me through all these years, and (not including a 3 year stint as a waiter in an Italian restaurant when I was 19) being a musician is the only job I've ever held in my life.
I started working professionally at the age of 15 in wedding bands - Which taught me stage etiquette and how to play properly. From that I 'graduated' to cover bands which taught me a huge repertoire and how to play different styles. During this period I began to teach Piano lessons which was fantastic for teaching me social skills and how to talk to people. After that I started working as an arranger. I was able to draw upon the years and years of learning wedding and cover band music to apply to my arranging. Since I spent so many years copping horn lines and string lines in these bands, arranging came natural to me. From arranging I moved up to Musical Direction. This was the next step in my evolution since I had to draw upon the repertoire from the wedding and cover bands, the contacts I made with all the musicians I've played with, the ability to get my point across which I learned from teaching and combine all this with my arranging experience in order to contract and conduct bands and arrange material for them. I currently still work in all capacities - Wedding, Cover band, Teaching, Arranging and Musical Direction since I love any kind of work that involves music and I never consider myself above anything - there's still so much for me to learn.
I've been fortunate enough to have worked in a variety of situations from Major label artists to bar mitzvahs, to Long Island cover bands and everything in-between. I'm thankful for all my musical experiences since each thing taught me a skill that I was able to use in another situation. I've also had the great fortune of working with a tremendous number and variety of musicians. Some relationships were fantastic and others were greatly strained (to say the very least!) but I also learned something from every single person and I'm thankful for that as well.
That's all there is to it...I know it's not terribly exciting but at least I didn't refer to myself in the third person. If you want specific work situations you can check my resume. I can't say, "Well, at 22 I worked with this person, and at 28 I toured with this person, etc." since my life and career is so varied and unpredictable that I can be working with an international, Grammy winning artist one day, play at a bar mitzvah the next day, work with a Broadway star the following morning, teach piano lessons that afternoon and end my week playing standards at someone's dinner party. That's what I love best; each day is completely different from the next.
Bonus! - Since you read this far, I'm going to include a bunch of completely useless Frank Facts!:
I consider the two main influences in my life as a keyboardist and the people who made me really decide to be a musician to be Vince Clarke of Erasure and Vince DiCola, who scored Rocky IV and Transformers. I still listen to both regularly and still consider both to be driving influences in my continuing developement as a musician. As such, I consider the name Vince to be somewhat sacred in music as both were so directly responsible for me deciding, and continuing to be a musician. I always considered it a sign.
I have a Coach bag named after me. One of my closest friends is the senior designer for Coach handbags and she named one of her creations for me after I lamented that I would die one day and no one would remember me. She then told me, "At least you'll forever be part of Coach history!" There's a Coach bag named the Coach "Perri". So if you're one of the women out there who owns a Coach Perri, I'm the Perri it's named after. Reviews of the purse are here. My friend did a great job, if I do say so myself!
I am left-handed and a Gemini. (Other left-handed Gemini include Paul McCartney and Idina Menzel).
I've performed with both Daphne Rubin-Vega and Antonique Smith which means I've performed with both the original Mimi from RENT and the current Mimi from RENT. (At least until Antonique leaves!) It's kind of an Alpha / Omega situation for RENTheads, I guess.
I like to take photos in my spare time. I still shoot mainly in film being that I grew up using it so I stick to what I know. Mostly 35mm but some 120 6x7 use as well. If you're curious, you can see some of my shots here.
For some reason, I only sweat from my left armpit, not both.
I have some kind of an obsession with Infomercials. I would rather watch them then any movie or TV show. I actually tape infomercials so I can watch them later and I have some classics, including the original "Flavorwave Oven" on Videotape. It's amazing how the trends change over time. About 5 years ago there was an influx of auto accessories like Autofom wax, The Tornado Fuel Saver and the Z-Max Power system but now it's mostly get rich quick schemes like real estate and stock market trading. But there's always the old standbys that are still around such as the Scunci Steamer and the Dual Drill. I also love any infomercial that stars "Chef Tony" or anyone with an English accent. I also love any music in infomercials and would love the chance to underscore one. (Although they probably just buy some cheap library music I still hope of one day scoring an infomercial!)
Most people misspell my last name as "Perry", when in fact it is "Perri". I am 100% Italian (half Neapolitan, half Calabraise) and even though the majority of people don't think of my last name as Italian, it actually is a common last name in Calabria, where my father is from.
From getting my jr. driver's license at 16 to now, I've totaled 7 cars. (You don't want to know what my insurance rate is!)
I have a strong affinity for B movies. Seriously. I love any low budget movies with a passion. I love them more then any Hollywood crap because B movies don't try to be something they're not. Most people who look at my DVD collection frequently remark, "How come I've never heard of any of your movies before?!" I love the $5 DVD section in Genovese! I automatically love any movie that stars Dolph Lundgren, Rutger Hauer, or my personal favorite: Christopher Lambert. I am not poking fun at them in the least and I actually have a genuine respect for them. These are the guys who love their craft and will act and do so frequently and no matter the pay rate. These are the people that Hollywood Mega-Stars such as Brad Pitt used to be before they became self-centered, pathetic and soulless creatures. I respect any hardworking person who loves what they do. I could care less about meeting Tom Cruise or Susan Sarandon and personally if they fell off the face of the Earth I wouldn't lose a day of sleep but I'd be all fingers and thumbs if I ever met Christopher Lambert. I love all his work! From Fortress 1 & 2, to Adrenaline to Subway. Anyway, the guy is Highlander - You can't get any more badass then that. I love futuristic B movies even more such as Omega Doom and American Cyborg. Any B movie will have more creativity and risk-taking then any multi-million dollar piece of Hollywood crap - and that's what I love about them. I also hope to one day act in one as well so if anyone hears that they're filming Universal Soldier 9, send me the email address of the casting director right away.
The rate of blinking from any Nissan automobile's turn signal makes me extremely nauseous and lightheaded. I can't look at it and if I am behind a Nissan with it's turn signal on, I'll block it out with my hand in my field of vision. This only happens with Nissans.
Anyone who knows me personally will attest to the fact that I rarely get more then 3-4 hours of sleep a night.
From all the years of playing soccer and roller hockey, I've developed these abnormally huge calves and can easily lift 240+ lbs when doing calf raises when working out.
I'm allergic to shellfish
and beach sand triggers very bad asthma attacks in me.