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,
energy, intense mind-expanding sound effects, & great musicianship. But what
was going on before the
John Vinci (lead vocals) was into doo wop during the early 60's. "During
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.
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
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,
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
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,
5 illusion, then the illusions, then The illusion.
The illusion's first release was a single tittled: "My Party" which was
"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
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
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
(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
in many ways. The band undoubtably had fun in the studio
recording their first album, but something was missing in the
HARD ROCK attitude that the band had on stage wasn't there.