Jack Justis: born as Jack Cruppe
Composer, guitarist, and songwriter Jack Justis was born Jack Cruppe in 1943 in Rochester, New York. A 1960's generation rock'n'roll musician, Justis was perhaps best known for his work as a guitarist on the Broadway cast album of the hit musical "Jesus Christ Superstar." Jack collaborated with acclaimed independent soft-core filmmaker Joe Sarno on many of his mid-1970's soft-core melodramas; he supplied lush and melodic acoustic guitar scores for such movies as "Confessions of a Young American Housewife," "Laura's Toys," "Misty," and "Abigail Lesley Is Back in Town." Moreover, Justis also did the scores for the more explicit Sarno hardcore outings "Slippery When Wet" and "The Trouble With Young Stuff." In addition, Jack was the music producer and provided the scores for the X-rated porno classics "The Defiance of Good" and "The Taking of Christina."His stage name Jack Justis was suggested to him by a record producer. Was a musician for 47 years of his life. Justis and his wife Teri Lyon were performing as a duo on a regular basis at the Spin-A-Mania game room in Spring Hill, Florida when he died quite suddenly of an unexpected heart attack. Along with his friend and singer Billy Travis formed the psychedelic rock band The Travis-Justis Group in the 1960's; they recorded two unsuccessful singles for the label Columbia Records. Formed a music duo with his wife Teri Lyon in the 1980's; they performed popular songs at clubs, cruise ships, and restaurants around Southern California. Picked up his first guitar at age fifteen. Jack Justis died of a heart attack at age 62 on August 1, 2005 in Spring Hill, Florida.
My friends Mario, Butch, & Mike
Pictured above: Mario Del Veccio (soon to be our drummer), Butch and Mike Boland in the neighborhood.
A practical joke by my parents in which they gave me a $10.00 guitar unknowingly sends me into a fast, exciting, and adventurous life in the entertainment business. Me at age 17 along with Mario on maracas and Butch on the left.
May 1960: After a year of playing behind us, both Butch and myself confidently strum for a family gathering at my Uncle Santo's house.
During that Summer Vince Petralis, Butch and I played many parties.
Annual Cruppe picnic. It was the first in which guitars appeared.
My First Guitar Teacher
September 1960. Both Butch and myself met one of Rochester's finest musicians in the person of Russ Rizzo. After a brief talk with him we immediately began taking lessons from him. (Russ is second from right)
First Professional Guitar and Amp
"Through Russ Rizzo's guidance I was able to choose the proper instrument which would aid me both in my career and in my playing. In December of 1960 I purchased a Gibson Stereo guitar and amp. Soon after my playing began to improve."
Holy Apostles Boy Scout Benefit
"March, 1961: My 1st job. Finally after a year and a half of playing I acquired a job in which I would be required to perform in front of a strange audience with my own group, "The Falcons" which was formed expressly for the occasion. Butch, originally scheduled to play was at baseball camp in Florida and was unable to perform. In his place I used Chuck Arnone who I met through Dick Cringoli my piano player who set up the job for us. On drums is George Casentino who I met through my cousin Mike Penello.
After much rehearsing we perfected four numbers; Walk Don't Run, Perfidia, Enchanted Sea, and Mumble Jumbo (which I wrote).
The evening was a huge success and we unexpectedly were the hit of the show and drew a standing ovation.
That evening did more than anything else to strengthen my confidence in playing and cause me to set entertainment as my future goal. It was only a Boy Scout benefit but it was my 1st big job!!!!"
Jack did not mention anything else about the group The Falcons. This must have been the only gig they had together.
The First Fabulous Counts appearance
"On Nov. 30, 1961 I played my first job at the Stardust in New York. It all came about because of my meeting with Butch Tomassi a drummer in 1961. He very much desired to play in the Stardust and knew both Larry Short and Larry Marciano who are in this picture.
After one rehearsal we played our first job. We called ourselves, The Fabulous Counts.
In Dec. 1961 we started our first job at the Club Niagara in Canadagua N.Y. We never again could experience the novelty and the excitement a group experiences when they play their first big job.
At this time I only sang two songs and although not quite ready for the big time we did pretty good.
Avery Bowling Hall
"My first New Year's Eve job brought both a good time and my first good pay as a musician. We each made $30.00 per man and were proud of ourselves. The owner got a little mad at Tomassi and Marciano when they started bowling on the empty alleys at 5:00 in the morning."
1962 - Knotty Pine Lounge
"Our 1st city job came at the Knotty Pine on West Main St. We spent 6 weeks there and met many people(mostly nurses). The most prominent figure whom we all remember was Tony the boisterous proprietor."
Club 414 Jam Session
"One of our proudest moments came when we appeared at a Jam Session at the 414 with Gene Labati. At this time the club was the hottest spot in town and therefore brought us much recognition at the Knotty Pine where we played already."