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James Chiello

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, an excellent friend of mine, ask if I wished to play bass in a garage band.  I didn’t own a bass but was always interested in playing one.  I was in high school, how can a kid working at the local gas station afford a bass and amp?  A different friend, found a Fender Jazz bass in which the tuning peg holes were miss drilled; a factory second, for $100.  I saved up for months and decide to jump in, after going almost every day to the corner music store and beating on the display models. 

Well, the garage band fell apart, but I really enjoyed playing the thing; I found it as a challenge and an escape.  I played to records, probably very poorly, almost every day.  It just seemed to fall into my hands and made me feel good.

The story continued, through many bands, made many new friends and contacts.  Even when not in a band, I continued to practice and learn; the bass seemed to be my best friend.

Decided to go to college, with encouragement from my father, in Milwaukee and studied music composition with a bass minor, needed to learn how this music stuff worked.  Graduated without issue, while playing on the weekends and learned a ton about music. 

I decided to go to UW-Madison to teach music for a living.  That was a total failure and changed to acquiring a master’s degree in composition.  I couldn’t get into school playing bass because Richard Davis had a ton of students.  Decided to pick up the trombone again, in which I hated to play, over the summer to play well enough to get into school.  I made it, and learned how to play just about every instrument plus playing piano well enough to tackle most of the Bach pieces they threw at me, but the bass was my instrument.

Skipping forward many years and moving around a lot, playing in many bands, met great people, growing up a lot, having my tunes played on the radio, completing many recording sessions, and working in the stagehands union setting up many touring events.  The last bands I played in, Bob Rocks and Reloaded, in which the later I still play in.  Still work for the stagehand union and run Power of Sound, which is Production Company, which serves many bands and events throughout Madison; in fact, ran sound for Retro Specz for many years.  When asked to play, I jumped at the chance because I really enjoyed working with everyone in the group.  I hope to create many great memories moving forward.

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