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The illusion, one of long island's greatest bands that lasted from 1965-1972
 which some say were the greatest years of rock & roll. The illusion will always
 be remembered for their incredible harmonies, insane light shows, raw
energy, intense mind-expanding sound effects, & great musicianship. But what
 was going on before the illusion?
       John Vinci (lead vocals) was into doo wop during the early 60's. "During
that time (early 60's) Johnny had that greecer look" says Lance Folger (illusion
roadie)."We used to call Johnny the walking stick" says Chuck. "He was about
6 ft. & very thin".  "Johnny was always very creative (says Lance) & had a lot of
 ideas that he would incorperate in to the show". This creativity would make
the illusion different from all the other New York bands.
   
      Mike Maniscalco was the most versatile member of the illusion. Mike
always enjoyed music, "He could pick up anything & play it" says Lance. 
(we'll soon have more on Mike)
      Rich Cerniglia (lead guitar) started playing guitar when he was about 10.
By the time he was 15 he was backing up the likes of the Shirelles, The
Ronettes, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, & many others.
      Chuck Alder (bass) was playing guitar by age 12, when he was about 15 he
 switched to bass. Some of the groups Chuck was in during the early 60's were:
 The Uncalled Four, The Arrivals, The Dell Sonics (where he met Mike
Maniscalco), & The Creations (where he met Mike Ricciardella).
      Mike Ricciardella was banging on drums since before he could remember,
 at about age 16 he competed in a New York State drum competition & won
(he was officialy the best drummer in New York). Mike would later meet Chuck
Alder in "The Creations".
      How did the illusion get "TOGETHER"? After the Creations fell apart, Mike
Ricciardella joined a band called "The 5 illusions" they were very "56"
sounding. "I remember the first night Mike went to play with them (the 5
illusions)" says Lance." it was at a club in West Hempstead in a little basement
 room, the place was like a little college mixer, they sounded pretty good, that
 had to around 1965". "The original line-up was Johnny Vinci, Steve Burg,
Howie Blume (Howie later became the bass player in Network under the name
 of Howard Davidson), Frank Carrillo, & Mike Ricciardella". "After a while,
Frank & Steve were leaving the band, & Howie joined the service, that's when
they brought in Mike Maniscalco, Chuck Alder, & Rich Cerniglia."
      The name of the band went through a few changes, first... The 5 illusions,
then the 5 illusion, then the illusions, then The illusion.
      The illusion's first release was a single tittled: "My Party" which was
backed with: "It's groovey time". Both tracks were written & produced by Mitch
 Ryder, the single was unfortunatly unsuccessful. Time would pass before the
band would record their first album. In 1967 the band did their first national
tour with Mitch Ryder, the tour started on March 5th, & ended some time in
November. Later, The illusion began recording their first album which was
produced by Jeff Barry.
      The album did very well, & the band had a hit with: "Did you see her
eyes?" Which went to #1 in some areas of New York & #22 in the nation.
Although the album didn't make it to gold, it did so well that Paramount
(instead of advertising the record) wanted another record from the band. The
band's new album was rushed in three days, however, it did not have the
success of their first lp.
      The illusuion always put on an incredible live show! They were ahead of
their time in many ways. The band undoubtably had fun in the studio
recording their first album, but something was missing in the recordings. That
HARD ROCK attitude that the band had on stage wasn't there.

- Dennis Folger

Chuck Alder on recording The illusion's first album

Chuck Alder

"Richie would lay down a track with a 59 Les Paul & a reworked Marshall
stack & it would sound awesome! Our producer (Jeff Barry) managed to make
it sound small & harmless, trying to appeal to those who bought the most
records; 14 year-old girls. "

      The illusion's second album was also missing that spark, but then again,
the band only had three days to record it. To compensate for what was done
with "Together as a Way of Life" The illusion were given a lot more freedom
for their third record. The end result? An album that (if advertised correctly)
should have become a gold record.

- Dennis Folger

special thanks to Lance Folger and Chuck Alder

200-2002 / Dennis Folger

The Official illusion Website