Hazleton Standard-Speaker
Hazleton, PA
August 9, 1997
by L. A. Tarone

John Cusatis brings his music home

            You can never go home again, goes the old adage.

            Hazleton-born singer/songwriter John Cusatis hopes it’s wrong.  He’s in town to promote his new 12-original-track compact disc APRIL DAYS.  He’ll play live at a CD release party today from 9p.m. to 1a.m. at Home Court (formerly Tiger’s) on Alter Street.

            “I played around here a lot though it was a while ago,” Cusatis said.  “I hope people remember me.”

            “I played at Ron’s Office Pub for a year,” he said.  “My career really took off on North Wyoming Street.”        

            He’s also played the Roads and The Golden Cue clubs.

            Cusatis once played in a couple of bands that used to play in the Hazleton area.

            “Maurice DiBlasi (currently in the band Jimmy[s Fault) really got me started,” he said.  “Years ago, we used to be in a band called Alpha Wave.  We did (Rolling) Stones covers and that.  We lasted about a summer.”

            Later, he teamed with Dom Cassese.

            “We had a little duo called The Rhythm Method,” Cusatis said.  “He made a big impact on me.”

            Apparently, Cusatis reciprocated.

            “Then I got him doing solo stuff,” he added.  “He filled in for me at Ron’s, and not long afterward, it was him Friday night, me Saturday night.”

            In between The Rhythm Method and a solo act, Cusatis went to college.

            “I started doing solo stuff in Penn State,” he said.

            After graduating from college, music became a part-time affair.  From Hazleton, he moved to Lebanon where he taught at Cedar Crest High School for six years and played a couple of nights a week as a sideline.

            Then, he moved to Charleston, S.C., where he taught for four years.  He continued playing part-time.

            Charleston is a great place to play music,” he said.  “Everyone in Charleston supports local music.”

            Cusatis still lives there but he’s just taken the plunge to make music a full0-time venture.  He quit his teaching post but plans to return to school.

            “Right now, I’m playing five or six nights a week,” he said.  “But I want to go back to school for a doctorate and play live thee or four nights a week.”

            “Barroom rock and roll,” he says when asked t6o describe his music.  “That’s what I’ve always called it.”

            “I don’t know only three chords.  I actually know five, but only use three at a time,” he joked.

            “Lyrics are important,” he said – which is evident after a listen to            APRIL DAYS.


            “(Bob) Dylan.  He’s why I started,” Cusatis said.  “I liked to just read his lyrics.”

            “But there were lots of others.”  He cites local friends DiBlasi and Cassese among them.

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