Over the years Joe played bass guitar in the garage, he worked as a roadie for local club bands, and hired bands to perform at the Vaccarino's family owned restaurant.
Joe's own groups barely got out of the basement, while the ones he worked for as a road manager (Sage and Bandit) worked extensively at clubs, teen centers, proms, frat parties, pool parties, concerts, etc.
As a record collector since his pre-teens Joe grew up with '60s-'70s a variety of pop-rock-R&B and listened to WCAO, later WKTK, WAYE and 98Rock.
His mom got him hooked by bringing home old jukebox 45's from the bowling alley where she worked, until he could buy records with his own money. Throughout all the years of collecting he was always intrigued to find records by local artists. Even as a teenager Joe saved memorabilia (band cards, photos, etc) from bands that he knew, bands that played his teen center and high school dances.
Around 1974 he befriended the local band Sage and
became a road manager. Working the circuit during the mid-'70s Joe remembers multiple bills with groups such as Appaloosa, Royal 5+1, Joshua, Wintersunn, OHO... He also attended many parties and concerts with friends in local southern rock band Dragonfly...
Working with his brother Mark in the 1980s, they booked many great groups to play at the Back of the Vac: bands such as Nightshift, Gary Brown & the Doubts, the Boucher Brothers, Richard Taylor & the Ravers, the Danny Lough Band, Wally & the Weirdos, Vinnie D, Daryl Beard... the list goes on...
More recently, Joe began a quest to learn more about local artists and their recordings.
Some friends at the Arbutus Record Show began publishing a magazine as a tribute to '60s era local bands titled "Charmed Times." Joe was eager to contribute but it was around this time that the magazine folded. Still intrigued by so much local talent, Joe continued to search for information about local groups and any records that they released. His research uncovered much more of a local musical heritage than he ever imagined.
In 2004 Joe published his first book "Baltimore Sounds: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Baltimore Area Pop Musicians, Bands, and Recordings 1950-1980." The book was intended to be a living history and tribute to the rich and varied musical talents of the Baltimore regional area. Included are biographies of local bands and individual musicians - regardless of whether they released records or not.
As it is an impossible task to document every single musician in Baltimore, as a result there were omissions (none intentional), Many folks contacted Joe to add information and provide updates or correction. Eventually it was decided to incorporate all the new information into a new edition of the book...
The much expanded second edition was published in 2012. It includes hundreds of additional bands and updates from the original timeframe, as well as a wealth of information about bands/artists of the years up to and including 2000.
The second edition includes the entire updated first edition as well as the subsequent years up to 2000.
For more information, Click here to email Joe
Back of the Vac backbar
Joe with Don Lehnhoff at Jam5 2012
Joe with Tom Carson at Jam5 2012
Joe with Danny Reese of Sites 'n Sounds and radio broadcaster extraordinaire circa 2009
Tommy Vann, Kenny Hamber, Joe V, and Larry Benicewicz at the Patapsco Arena
Joe with Ernie Berger of the Stratfords
Joe with O'Donel "Butch" Levy
Oh No, not another picture of Joe!... Well here he is at the Greetings & Readings book signing December 1, 2012
John Cochran, Joe, and Charlie West (aka Chazz) - three short old guys enjoying the Arbutus Fire Hall Record Show, December 2012