‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 117, No. 10October, 2017

John Montagna

I’m a bass guitarist and Brooklyn native. I first joined Local 802 in 1999 after landing my first major-label recording session. Within a few years, I was doing classic rock touring gigs almost exclusively, so I resigned from the union in good standing. But now I want to stay home with my family and maintain a strong musical presence in New York. After joining a club date office that works with a union contract, it only made sense to rejoin 802 and reap the many benefits of union membership. My immediate musical goal in New York is to launch my own band and explore my potential as a bass-playing lead singer and frontman. I also crave gigs as a sideman and collaborator that are out of my comfort zone, forcing me to stay at the top of my game. I’ve enjoyed several recent jazz gigs, working with some brilliant pianists and strengthening my chops as a soloist. I also joined the East Coast leg of last summer’s “Happy Together” tour, a perennial 60s revival show featuring the Turtles, the Cowsills, and several other legendary pop artists. We activated the sense memories of audiences from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania, and I achieved my teenage dream of playing the Beacon Theater here in New York! Despite all reports to the contrary, live music still touches the hearts of humans everywhere. It is the most sublime of art forms, and I’m proud to be a lifelong practitioner.