Got The Blues Interview
GotTheBlues.com talks to Pennsylvania based artist, Tony Janflone Jr.
by Tom Branson
I had the great pleasure this evening to spend time on the phone with Tony Janflone, Jr. from Washington, Pennsylvania. Janflone, who is an excellent young guitarist and singer/songwriter, is busy these days on several fronts. I found him to be a remarkable person and he was most gracious with his time towards me.
I asked him first about the past and what it was like growing up with a Jazz guitarist and music teacher for a Father. He told me that because his Father was so active in music that “for me as a kid playing music wasn’t necessarily special; it’s just what we did. I am not only a musician but I am also an entertainer. When I was young, I was the kind of kid who would walk up to everyone in the store and say ‘hi’. I am comfortable entertaining and I prefer playing live as it is kind of like playing at home. I like being in touch with the crowd and I get energy from them.”
Janflone has a diverse style, due in part to his diverse background. “My Dad was a big fan of Wes Montgomery and John Coltrane. When we were kids, my brother and I used to sing Coltrane songs. Since my Dad was a guitar teacher, I got to hear a lot of music growing up. I have always loved all kinds of different music from Kiss, The Rolling Stones, Chet Atkins, and many others.” I told Tony that I had a similar variety of favorite artists from Hendrix to Doc Watson, who also turned out to be one of his favorite guitarists. “Doc Watson, Jerry Douglas, and Tony Rice are also some of my favorites”, he added.
I then asked him about the present. Along with playing 175-200 shows per year in support of his “Live at the Blues Cafe” CD, he also owns his own 48 track studio in which he records “my music, some T.V. and radio commercials, and material for short films”. He is producing a Jazz CD of his Father and working on new material for himself as well. He also plays a Sunday show at the Blues Cafe (where the Live CD was recorded). He said “the place is generally packed with 250-300 people”. No wonder, considering the high quality of both the music and this musician. His band is most capable and Janflone spoke highly of each of them. Tom Salyers on keyboards has played with him for about 11 years, and bassist George Elliott (a former guitar student of Tony’s Father) joined him about 6 years ago, provide excellent support to Tony’s great vocals and fretwork. “I am very much a ‘vibe guy’ and my guys are really great”. I found it most refreshing, in this day of big egos and personality clashes, to hear Tony speak so well of his band.
Not only did he speak well of the band, but was most complimentary of his wife, his wife’s family, and his own family for all of the support they had given him. “I can’t say enough good things about my wife”, he said. “My family is the most important thing to me”. Again, I found it refreshing to hear a man speak well of both his wife and mother-in-law. But, this is the kind of person he is: one who is not totally consumed by his own desire to succeed professionally at the expense of all else. He added, “It bothers me to hear musicians and athletes say that they are not role models. Just because they don’t want to be one doesn’t mean they aren’t one. I watch what I say and how I act in front of young people because we are role models whether we like it or not”.
The internet is becoming a more important promotional tool to Tony, as it is to most recording artists. “Despite all the bad things associated with it, the internet can be a great thing.” I told him that I had first heard his music on an internet station Down Home Net Radio. I emailed DHNR’s founder Mark Douglas who kindly told me about Tony. Janflone also told me that he has a site at MP3.com where he plans to “upload my first 2 CDs and create DAM recordings. I am re-issuing ‘In Time’, fixing a few things I didn’t like about it and adding some bonus tracks.” Janflone said he plans to sell the re-issued “In Time” along with “Live at the Blues Cafe” CDs at CDBaby.com, a site which he spoke of with high regard. I will also echo his sentiments, as I have bought several CDs from CDBaby.com with excellent results.
And the future? I asked him to imagine that it was 20 years from now. I then asked him to tell me looking back on his career, what would he like to see that he had accomplished? He said “I would like to see that I have done God’s will with the talent He has given me. I’d like to see that I have given people good quality music and entertainment and that I had given my best. I would like to see that I had treated people well for 20 years and that I was basically the same as I am now, only a little wiser….no, a whole lot wiser. I hope to have the opportunity to perform all over the world….that is my dream. And, oh yes, I want to still be married to the same woman!”
If you have heard his “Live at the Blues Cafe” CD, you will know that Tony Janflone, Jr. has the special talent it takes to become popular throughout the entire world. After speaking with him this evening and witnessing first hand his integrity and character, I think he just might get to where he wants to go. It surely could not happen to a nicer guy.