Papa Joe DeMaio: How He Rediscovered His Love of Music

Papa Joe DeMaio

Papa Joe DeMaio is a musician who lost his way quite a few years back. Eventually, he rediscovered his love of music and that put him back on track. He wrote to us explaining his journey and we were very excited and happy to hear that one of our articles helped him to get back into music; it made our day! We were so excited, in fact, that we decided to share his letter here with you, followed by an interview we did with Papa Joe, himself. 


Dear Making Music Magazine,

Hello, my name is Papa Joe DeMaio. I wrote to your magazine several years back in your letters column about how your magazine helped me get back into music (along with my oldest son, a well known guitarist). It was an article that made me want to do some open mics after a twenty year lay off from music.

My letter spoke of how getting back into music became therapy for my PTSD. I would like to give you an update several years later now…

I went to a few open mics; and then started doing some benefits. I started playing a few solo gigs, here and there. As time went on, I started a band called The Papa Joe Show (we tried other names, but they were already taken…so…). We have since built a following, been asked to play at many benefits, played numerous gigs….. AND……. in January of this year we recorded a single titled “Keep Rollin ‘Long.”

It is now being played in several countries including; [Countries in] east Africa, Germany, Sweden, Slovakia, Canada, Australia, the UK, and USA (from Boston to CA) !!!! I am super ecstatic about being BACK into MUSIC !!!

Thank you Making Music, for helping me live the dream I had only dreamed about for sooooo long! Oh, by the way, I have my music being used in a movie (What’s in a Fortune), have done a few TV shows, just got another part in a movie (The Holy Maple Tree)……. ALL because I read an article in YOUR magazine.

You have changed a life for the better…

THANK YOU again,

Papa Joe DeMaio


Below is the interview with Papa Joe DeMaio in which he explains his journey, why he loves music, what brought him back to it, and advice he has for budding musicians:


Making Music Magazine: Hi Joe, thanks for taking some time to talk with us here at Making Music Mag.

Papa Joe DeMaio: Thank you, Chuck. It’s my pleasure!


MMM: Let’s get started. How did you get into music in the first place? 

PJD: I would have to say I was always interested in music, and performing. I was doing shows at five years old, singing and tap dancing; and then doing Elvis songs. My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Potter, told me to sing loud and proud… in Kate Smith manner, lol.  After that it was band, chorus, marching band, orchestra. Then of course the rock bands of the day as a teen. It just was a way of life.

MMM:  What instruments do you play?

PJD: Instruments I play, or dabble with; acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, cigarbox guitar, vocals ( primary instrument)… Ocarina, and some percussion. A few others I played before the military, mostly in school, are; violin, cello, stand up bass, drums, Eb horn (French horn to some).

MMM: What inspires you? What caused your initial interest in music before you went away from it?

PJD: As a child my parents always listened to music. My mother and her sisters were doing shows when they were young.Then television showed me different singers; Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, etc. Once Elvis hit… I KNEW what I wanted to do with my life.

MMM: What aspect of music do you think has helped you the most?

PJD: Writing music seems to be the biggest help, in a therapy manner. I love performing my music for people; I’m not sure if it’s for them, or more for me. When I play for an audience, I get to release emotions I mostly keep bottled up. Once in a while my music will help others, and THAT is a great feeling.For instance, as I began to grow  as a performer I would be asked to perform at interesting events.One Veterans Day, I was performing at a wreath laying ceremony and after the event was done, a woman and man came up to me. The woman said, “My husband doesn’t usually go to any veteran events. Since the day he came home from Viet Nam, he hasn’t associated with any veterans, or veterans groups. He wanted to come for some reason today. After hearing your song, “Lucky?” he realized he needs some help; where can he go? Of course I was choked up, but managed to tell them where to seek the help he needed ( as I went through what he was still carrying as luggage).

MMM: If you were to meet someone today who was on the fence about either learning music or picking it up again, what would you tell them?

PJD: DO IT! I would tell anyone who wants to learn, or come back to music, please do… it will never let you down.It is great for memory retention, coordination, and relaxation to top it off…. and above all it’s fun. You can do it for your own pleasure, or go out and meet some fantastic people with like interests.Not everyone is a performer, but I believe there is a musician inside of all of us; it IS the universal language for a reason!

MMM: Please share a highlight or two from your music career?

PJD: Even though my career is still getting going, it’s only eleven years old, I would say one of my highlights was doing a six show mini tour for a benefit know as Rock 4 Xmas. It had stars like; Eddie Money, Pat Travers, Joey Molland ( Badfinger fame), Terry Ilous (XYZ), Ernie and the Automatics ( a band with ex Boston members, Sib Hashian(R.I.P.), and Barry Goudreau, and Mike “Tunes” Antunes ( Beaver Brown band), Stet Howland, and others. During that tour, at a venue with about six hundred people there to see the show, I was just into my second, or third song, when a group of girls/ladies yelled out, “We love you Papa Joe!”. That was it, I am hooked for life, lol.

MMM: Neat. I know some of those folks. I played a couple of shows with Joey Molland. Super nice guy. I let him try my Les Paul GK from the original shop in Kalamazoo. Anyway…. Now that you are back into music, what is your favorite part about it?

PJD: Performing for the fans definitely! I just love to go to a show, and see people having the time of their life; dancing, singing, and laughing.Of course it’s always a fantastic feeling when folks come up to you and say they loved the show, and had a great time.

MMM: Do you know anyone else who has seen music change their life for the better?

PJD: Yes I actually do know several people who use music for relaxation. I  also know of a few who saw what I did, and realized they could too!

MMM: What advice would you give to someone just beginning their musical journey?

PJD: I would have to say, keep rollin’ ‘long (excuse the plug, lol), don’t quit the first time you get frustrated. It isn’t going to be easy all the time. If you really want it, it will come. You just need patience and determination.

Now that I’ve been back with music for around eleven years, and have my band THE PAPA JOE SHOW out and about; I want to say to everyone, “It’s never too late. I am 68 years old, and I have my music playing; worldwide on radio, in movies, TV shows, themes for TV shows, and I get to perform all over. So don’t give up, EVER! Live your dream… I am!”

~ Papa Joe DeMaio (singer/songwriter/actor/speaker)

Instead of being dedicated to one instrument, young musicians, or professionals, is a lifestyle resource for all music makers, regardless of age, instrument, or ability. We focus on providing educational articles teaching people how to play an instrument, but we also favor travel pieces, music related health articles, interesting news stories, and plenty more.

Related posts


Awesome job… thank you Making Music Magazine… it was your article on getting out and doing Open Mics, and my son Ira Black’s prodding, that brought me to where I am now!

Leave a Reply