You might not know his name, but if you're a classic rock fan, you've probably listened to Joe Vitale's work every day since the '70s. Vitale, a Canton-based drummer, recounts his 40-year career in a new book, Backstage Pass.
The unusually low-key rock memoir — as told to wife Susie Vitale — presents the human side of the iconic artists he's worked with, including the Eagles, Joe Walsh, and Crosby, Stills and Nash.
"We wanted to write the stuff that you never hear about," says Vitale.
Born in Canton, Vitale quit Walsh College in 1969 and moved to Kent to join its nationally respected music scene. Vitale recalls the Kent State riots, then offers a lighter episode: After a show in Cleveland, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant followed opening act the James Gang to Kent. There they played a late-night jam at JB's. Impressed with the fresh new faces, owner Joe Bujack offered Page and Plant a steady gig at his bar. (Amused, they politely turned him down.)
Vitale met Joe Walsh in Kent where, in 1971, Walsh asked him to join his post-James Gang project, Barnstorm. Vitale would play on all Walsh's solo records and follow him to the Eagles (he was their touring drummer). But first, he got a call from Ted Nugent, which led to work with Dan Fogelberg, a steady position with CSN (he's been the drummer for 33 of the band's 40 years) and a collection of a dozen gold and platinum records. The hardcover book is a breezy read with dozens of candid pictures.
Vitale will sign the book and his latest solo album, Speaking in Drums, from 7-9 p.m. Friday, March 20, at the Medina Borders (4927 Grande Shops Ave.). Also from 3-5 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at the Strongsville Borders (17200 Royalton Rd.), and 3-5 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at the Cuyahoga Falls Borders (335 Howe Ave.). Learn more at joevitaleondrums.com.
Apt. 213 ringleader Steve Makita (also of Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Lockweld) has launched a monthly festival of extreme multimedia terror. Audio/Visual Baptism hosts local and touring noise and experimental acts. Cleveland power-electronics ensemble Quell will return for the third session at 9 p.m. Sunday, March 22, at Now That's Class (11213 Detroit Ave.). "AVB has an old Speak In Tongues feel to it," says Makita. "Come out and be a part of a new unwritten history."
Chimaira has released "Secrets of the Dead," the first new single from its upcoming album, The Infection (due out Tuesday, April 21), via iTunes. Take a free listen at myspace.com/chimaira.