THE STORY SO FAR
Born in 1972, Brooklyn Native, Beatles-obsessed child. Tries piano, drums and guitar, then picks up the bass at age 12 under the spell of the Mount Rushmore of British Rock (Paul McCartney, John Entwistle, John Paul Jones & Jack Bruce) and the bass-heavy radio pop of the early 80s (White Lines, Every Time You Go Away, Borderline, Wanna Be Startin’ Something).
Accepted to LaGuardia High School Of Music And Art, pounds tympani in the orchestra and bass guitar in the jazz band. Studies with bass guitar guru Anthony Jackson. Plays in student combos that win Downbeat Magazine awards. Has out-of-body experience playing with LaGuardia Gospel Choir. Plays Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and CBGBs.
Berklee College Of Music in Boston, eats sleeps and breathes bass, plays on everyone’s recording sessions and in everyone’s recitals. Joins a band, 12 Strung Gypsy, with fellow Berklee students. 12 Strung Gypsy records a CD, “Trial By Fire,” in 1993 (when making your own CD was a big deal). Turns 21, joins the workforce via the Irish pub circuit in Boston and Cape Cod, learns how to control a crowd of drunk Boston hipsters with 4 strings and an attitude.
Back to New York in 1995, immediately gigging around town. Records and tours with singer-songwriter Francis Dunnery. Also works every catering hall and hotel ballroom in the Tri-State Area, learns how to control a crowd of drunk New York wedding guests with 4 strings and an attitude. Records a solo CD, “Enjoy Your Dessert,” in 1997 (when making your own CD was still kind of a big deal). Sings on a pair of kids' TV themes: “Oobi,” and “Kenny The Shark.” More local gigs, private events, songwriting demos, lather rinse repeat.
Jams with guitarist Godfrey Townsend (ex-John Entwistle Band) in 2002. Godfrey, drummer Steve Murphy, keyboardist Manny Focarazzo and JM are recruited by legendary producer/engineer/recording artist Alan Parsons; the "Alan Parsons Live Project" tours the world and elsewhere from 2003-2010. APLP rhythm section also gigs in NYC as the Godfrey Townsend Band, and as the house band on many “Hippiefest” and “Happy Together” tours backing dozens of legendary artists: Todd Rundgren, Micky Dolenz, The Turtles (featuring Flo & Eddie), Chuck Negron (ex-Three Dog Night), Mark Farner (ex-Grand Funk), Mitch Ryder, Denny Laine (ex-Wings), The Cowsills, Felix Cavalerie (ex-Rascals), and others.
Marries Jill in 2005; sings The Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe” at the ceremony (nails it), and has lyrics to The Beatles’ “I Will” written in icing on the wedding cake. Wedding guest Alan Parsons asks the groom if there will be any music at this event that he WASN’T involved in. Releases solo CD “Senza” in 2007; Bass Player Magazine calls it “the blueprint for a bassist/singer/songwriter's place in a world usually occupied by guitarists and pianists.” Track 3, “Stone In The Water,” appears in an episode of “Key And Peele” on Comedy Central.
Daughter Francesca born in 2008. December 2009 JM hears Marc Maron announce on his then-new “WTF With Marc Maron” podcast that he’s accepting submissions for a new theme song. JM puts baby Francesca down for her nap, turns on the computer and cranks out “Are We Doing This?” in an hour, and emails Maron an mp3 of a rough mix. Maron emails him back a month later: “You win. How do you pronounce your last name?” Video of JM recording theme song racks up thousands of views, and his sister calls him a “micro-celebrity.” Records a dozen more bumpers for “WTF.” Releases “The WTF Album” in 2011.
Launches Radio418 podcast in 2013. Interviews “Happy Together” tour principals; legendary artists open up to JM in lengthy in-depth conversations. More interviews follow with tour principals on the road and NYC-area colleagues at home. Releases solo album “Late To The Party” in 2016 as a free digital download; Bass Player Magazine calls it a “smart collection of pop songs.” (Good press is still kind of a big deal.) Begins writing about music and pop culture for CultureSonar, finally making good use of creative writing skills and strong opinions. Continually gigging ass off in NYC. Co-hosts and co-produces "Breaking It Down with Jeff and John" podcast for CultureSonar with veteran NYC bassist Jeff Ganz. Assembles Montagna Band with guitarist Tristan Clark, keyboardist Ado Re and drummer Rich Zukor, begins playing shows around NYC and finding his voice. Releases 4-song solo EP #goingdirect as a free digital download on Nov 20, 2019, the day Mercury went direct after a lengthy retrograde.
Locks down for COVID, profiled by Bass Magazine's "Lockdown Check In" but otherwise watches gigs disappear. Keeps writing and practicing, waking up every morning remembering that the obstacle is the way and plans next moves...