Joe Mele: The Music Community Pulls Together for a Grieving Father

March 27th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg
Lindsay Mele, Joe Mele and Dustin Mele

Lindsay Mele, Joe Mele and Dustin Mele

Story by Don Wilcock

“Even back in my lounge lizard days when I was wearing the one-piece velvet jump suit, I’d always remember something Joe Mele said to me,” says Vito Ciccarelli, the City of Troy’s event coordinator for the last decade. “I was complaining to him that I was playing KC & the Sunshine Band and disco. We were at a Tuesday night jam session down at the Tele Tavern, and we would actually go from bar to bar on the strip and walk in with our equipment. Everyone knew us, and we’d set up if they had no entertainment going. We’d play and get some free beer or whatever, and we’d just have a good time. I commented to Joe at the end of one of these jams: ‘You guys are lucky. You’re going out, and you’re really playing music you love, and I am doing all this crap.’ And Joe says, ‘How much money did you make last weekend?’ I said, ‘$1200.’ He said, ‘I made a hundred bucks last weekend. Shut up!’ That had to be 1977, ’78. ‘I made a hundred bucks, Shut up!’”

I think it’s hard for all of us in the local music scene to get it through our heads how long some of us have been doing this. I’ve been writing about amazing Capital District music for 45 years. Joe Mele has been performing for just about as long. Mele: “People go, ‘You’re pretty good.’ I go, ‘Yeah, well I’ve been practicing for 45 fucking years, really. Thanks. My clock stopped when it went to 2000. I still have a real hard time saying 2010, 2011, 2014. After ’99, that was the end of it for me. Now I’m in this real world working with regular people which I’ve never been around. Really, I’m in the studio smoking ganja and running bands my whole life. Now I’m hanging around with politicians in an office, but I still act and say the same shit, though. They love it.”

You don’t follow your muse for as long as Joe and I have without encountering some bumps in the road. Losing a son to suicide is a personal tsunami that is beyond my imagination. As a father and grandfather, I cannot even begin to fathom the despair. At 3pm on Sunday (March 30), Joe Mele will pour his grief into the inaugural Dustin Mele Memorial Concert at Brown’s Revolution Hall in Troy. The Out of Control Rhythm & Blues Band headlines the benefit, which also features Emerald City, the Chris Busone Band, Johnny Rabb, Tony Perrino’s Killer B (featuring Todd Hanhurst of the Refrigerators and Trish Anderson of the Bluz House Rockers), Super 400, Blue Machine (featuring Tommy Love and Frank Daley) and the Ernie Williams Band. All proceeds from this, the first of a planned annual event, go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) whose slogan is “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Five Firsts: Joe Mele of Emerald City

June 4th, 2012, 11:00 am by Greg

NAME: Joe Mele
BAND AFFILIATION: Emerald City, the Ernie Williams Band, the Joe Mele Blues Band

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … B.B. King’s “Live at the Regal”

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … The Beatles at Shea Stadium


4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Probably something from the Ventures. When I was 12, my brother Dave, Denny Moffrey and I got together and played out at the Sunset Inn in Troy.


After a hiatus of many years, Joe Mele and the other members of Emerald City reunited last year, and that reunion is still going strong. Emerald City will kick off the 2012 season of Albany’s Alive at Five concert series, opening for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason at the Albany Riverfront Park in the Corning Preserve at 5pm on Thursday (June 7). Admission is free. In case of rain, the concert will move to the Corning Preserve Boat Launch beneath the I-787 overpass.

Holly & EvanCartoonist John CaldwellThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCaffe LenaAdvertise on Nippertown!Albany PoetsAustralian Cattle Dog Rescue Association