By Steve Svetovich
The Sperazza Band has a Dunmore connection.
And that connection is this scribe’s son Ryan Svetovich, 23.
The irony is that this writer has been following The Sperazza Band around for the past decade or so, never thinking that Ryan would ever be a part of it all. The Sperazza Band had originally consisted of four family members, all amazingly talented musicians who took turns singing the wide assortment of classic rock the band performs.
The idea of The Sperazza Band, as narrated by its leader Eric Sperazza, started July 21, 2007. “I remember the date fondly,” said Eric Sperazza, “because it was my wedding. While I enjoyed my wedding immensely, a music conversation with my cousin Mikey sparked a really incredible music opportunity.
“My wife Jenny and I were gaining success as a duo, and Mikey, an incredible singer and guitarist, was interested in getting back into his own passion for music. Long story short, in that October of 2007 The Sperazza Band was born.
“In 2010, we got the wonderful news that Jenny was pregnant with our soon to be son Micky, so my father, also Mike, took over as my duo partner and continued for a solid 10 years.
“As The Sperazza Duo was seeing success, and the three-piece Sperazza Band with Mikey was in full swing, we got the inevitable question from fans, ‘when is your father going to play some songs with the band?’
“In 2012, The Sperazza Band gained not only another incredible voice, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and harmonica addition, but we gained the dedicated fans that followed his bands throughout the years. Still to this day, people constantly come up and tell us how they used to follow “Sidestreet,” “Stonebridge” and/or “Riverside” back in the day.
“This line-up remained until the pandemic hit, and we played our last show in October of 2020.
“During the pandemic, Mikey was offered an incredible new day job and left the band. Upon considering wrapping up the band at that point, I got a message from our friend and follower Steve Svetovich saying, ‘my son is very talented and would be interested in filling Mikey’s spot.’ In all honesty, when he told me his son was about to turn 22, I thought, ‘that will never work.’ Thankfully, he had every bit of talent Steve described, and despite his age, was just as into the classic rock style of music that made our band so popular as we were.
“Enter Ryan Svetovich, who we were so fortunate to find to get us where we are to this present day.
“Speaking of present day, I wrote with a tear in my eye and a literal and figurative lump in my throat, but after 15 years of The Sperazza Band, we will be taking a break after the end of November. Jenny and I will continue to sparingly play as our duo, but will primarily focus on time with our two sons, and time together while not on stage.
“I can’t thank Jenny enough for putting up with me all these years in music, and continuing to grin and bear my passion, even though she is naturally more talented than me, and one of the main draws of the band. Working with my father all these past years is a top five lifetime accomplishment for me. I can only hope to be able to do something close to that level with my sons.
“Mikey and Ryan are two of the most talented singing lead guitarists we ever could have asked for. Lastly, I know someone will scoop up Ryan as soon as this ends, but he will be a huge improvement to any band looking for a lead guitarist with great singing capabilities. Be sure to get out and see his insane talent over the final month.
“Most importantly and our driving force, thank you to all of you who have followed the band over these past 15 years. We went from praying that anyone would show up at the beginning, to seeing so many familiar faces show after show for so many years. You guys made the band. We just played the music.”
And such is the history of The Sperazza Band featuring the incredible talents of Eric and Jenny Sperazza, Mike Sperazza, original member Mikey Sperazza and my son Ryan. Eric plays keyboards, Mike plays guitar, Jenny is a drummer and Ryan and Mikey play lead guitar. All five sing.
Jenny sings Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin as good if not better than Joplin and Zeppelin. She literally howls while she sings in a unique style. No one does The Stones better than Mike Sperazza. And you would think John Lennon was up there when Eric does The Beatles. And no one is more precise and talented than Eric when it comes to sound and set up.
And then there is my son Ryan who my family knew had a talent for music when he sat at my brother’s piano at age five and began playing the Charlie Brown Christmas song on Christmas Day.
Ryan plays by ear and has been playing several instruments, including guitar, drums and piano since he was in grade school. He started performing publicly as a fill-in and added piece to my dad’s band, The Fabulous Fortunes, since age 14. He briefly started his own band at 18 performing in downtown Scranton clubs. He has branched out into singing, writing and composing music.
Ryan and I would like to publicly thank the Sperazza family for giving him the opportunity to perform with the best band in the area. It’s been an experience we will both treasure forever. And it helped this scribe make about 100 new friends as one of the oldest roadies in town.
Try to catch the final gigs this month of The Sperazza Band. It’s going to be a blast, but a bit sad and emotional as well. Savor all the music and the moments. You won’t be disappointed.
The remaining schedule is: Saturday, Nov. 5, West Pittston Moose Lodge, 8 to 11 p.m,; Saturday, Nov. 12, Holiday Wine Festival at Springbrook (Sperazza Duo only), 12 to 6 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 18, North Slope Pub and Eatery, Dallas, 7 to 10 p.m. (reservations recommended); Saturday, Nov. 19, Chacko’s Memory Lane Lounge, Wilkes Barre, 8 to 11 p.m.; Wednesday, Nov. 23, Polish American Veterans, Plains, 7 to 10 p.m., and the final Sperazza Band show Saturday, Nov. 26 at The Villa Maria Restaurant, ballroom, West Scranton, 7 to 10 p.m. (reservations recommended).
Mikey Sperazza will make a return appearance on the second and third last gigs as both he and Ryan will play a set on lead guitar.
The final appearance at The Villa Maria will mark a third homecoming there for Ryan who was raised in West Scranton just blocks from the restaurant. Ironically, Ryan’s mom, dad and brother Dylan dined at The Villa Maria the night before he was born over 23 years ago.