Pam Taylor Interviews Evan Moscariello

In my line of work, I am blessed to cross paths with some of the most amazing people, all interconnected by the love of music. In the fall of 2018, I traveled to the Boston area to play a Women in Blues showcase at the prestigious night club, 9 Wallis in Beverly, MA with Ilana Katz and Rae Gordon, where I met the most impressive young man, by the name of Evan Moscariello.

 

After a short conversation with him, after the show, I asked if I could give him a hug. He seemed hesitant, but if you know me, I don’t take no for an answer when it comes to giving out free hugs. I could tell he wasn’t 100 percent comfortable but allowed me to hug him nonetheless.

It wasn’t until later that I learned he was “differently-abled” as Evan likes to call it. I was even more impressed with his composure and maturity as he graciously entertained my antics. See, Evan has a high
functioning form of Autism called Asberger’s which he was diagnosed with at the age of four. The more I learned about Evan, the more impressive he became. We immediately became friends.

Evan (left) and Barry Goudreau, original guitarist for the band Boston
Evan (left) with Deric Dyer, saxophonist for Joe Cocker & Tina Turner

Just like me he uses his love of music to cope with the unique challenges of his daily life. Whats more is Evan has his own music blog called Greater Boston Music Reviews where he writes about the artists that play 9 Wallis, where he now works, assisting owner, Peter Van Ness with various tasks.

At only 15 years of age, he has a unique and refreshing perspective on music and a way with words that far exceed his years. You can read his review of my show and other shows he’s reviewed at 9 Wallis here, including his first review of my latest single, “House of the Rising Sun”.

Over the past year Evan and I have kept in contact, and I’ve enjoyed watching him grow
as a human, a writer, and now as a musician himself. Evan plays drums in his band, Family Tree, which performs around the Boston area. I just had to share Evan’s story with the readers at Virtuosity Worldwide because, to me, Evan is the epitome of a virtuoso who has turned “differently-abled” into “extraordinarily-abled”. Read the full interview below…

Evan (left) and legendary guitarist Johnny A

Read the full interview below…

Tell me about your first experience with music.

That’s actually really funny. My father told me that when I was a baby, I would throw a tantrum every day at 4 PM. He said it was the strangest thing, same time every day. He said there was only one thing that would calm me down. He would bring me into the basement and play WZLX, Boston’s best classic rock radio station. That was the only thing that would calm me down, so I loved music before I even knew it.

How old are you?

I am 15 years old.

Tell me more about your autism:

I have high functioning Autism, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as a child. Every person with Asperger’s is completely different, every case is unique in its own way.

When were you first diagnosed?

I was diagnosed at age 4.

How has it been a positive aspect?

A big positive was that I matured very quickly at an early age. That happened because part of my brain develops too slowly, while another develops much too quickly. That part that develops too fast gives me the maturity of someone much older than me. Because of that, I’ve been able to get along with adults extremely well, which is extremely helpful.

How has it been a negative aspect? 

I find it difficult to get along with a lot of other children my age because of it. I find that I’m very different from a lot of kids. I have found some great kids that I’ve become friends with, but I have a lot of friends that are much older than me. Another negative is the curriculum in school. The curriculum is designed for the “average” brain, and the “average” brain doesn’t exist. I don’t know what the “average” brain is, but it’s definitely not an Asperger’s wired brain. My teachers have helped me a lot, but they have zero control over the curriculum and cannot change it.

How has music helped you cope with autism?

Music is my way of letting out pain. All the pain I’ve ever been through in my life I let out when I play music. The musicians I listen to let out the pain they’ve been through. I’m somewhat of a technical listener but I mostly listen for the emotion in music. I very much am an emotional listener.

Who is your most influential artist and why?

That’s a tough question, I aminfluenced by a lot of artists. My favorite artist is Aretha Franklin. She makes you feel a way only her music makes you feel. Muddy Waters is one of my biggest influences. He was the master, no other way to put it.

As a musician, I try to play with emotion, and nobody used emotion in their music like BB King did. He made his guitar cry. I love all of those classic soul and blues artists. Sam Cooke, Mavis Staples, Albert Collins, etc. I have way too many influences to mention.

What was your favorite live show and why?

That’s another tough question, I can’t pick just one. Your show with Rae Gordon & Ilana Katz Katz last year was definitely one of them. I’ve seen Mary Bridget Davies three times, and she blows my mind every time I see her. Tower of Power was absolutely incredible when I saw them, those guys are really tight. Mud Morganfield I’ve seen twice, and both times I felt like I was seeing his father in the ’60s. I love guitar, and my favorite players are technically great players that also play with emotion. Carolyn Wonderland, Ronnie
Baker Brooks, Davy Knowles, etc.

Possibly my favorite current band may be Mad Dogs Unchained. I’ve seen them three times and they are always killer. I’ve become really good friends with all the members, and they are some of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. Those are just some of my favorites, I can’t list them all.

What got you started writing?

My boss, Peter Van Ness, suggested I start writing reviews on the shows I saw at 9 Wallis. I tried it and liked it, so I kept doing it.

When did you first create Greater Boston Music Reviews?

I started in the spring of 2018.

What are your long term goals with Greater Boston Music Reviews?

That’s still something I’m trying to figure out. I’m starting to do interviews, I did my first one with my friend Eliza Neals a couple of weeks ago. It was anquick interview, I didn’t want to do a long one to start out. I currently review mostly live shows, I haven’t done a ton of CDs yet. I reviewed your new single and a friend of mine asked me to review his new record, so I’m doing a few but not a ton. I’m just gonna continue doing what I’m doing and I’ll see where it goes.

How has working at 9 Wallis been a factor in your musical taste?

I’ve been introduced to the great talent they’ve had there. I’ve really liked almost
all the shows I’ve seen there, and I wouldn’t know any of these people if I didn’t work there. I most likely wouldn’t have been exposed to it, and I’m extremely glad that I have been.

What instruments do you play?

I play one instrument, drums.

Tell me more about your band.

My band is called Family Tree. I joined Family Tree after the band’s instructor, Randy Leventhal, happened to be in the audience at a festival my school’s jazz band was playing at. He came up to me after we played and told me that he works with a band that needed a new drummer, and he wanted me to fill that spot. The band is made up of all kids my age, and I knew some of them before I joined, so I was thrilled to get the gig. We play rock music. All of the members are influenced by completely different kinds of music, and
we bring all of our influences together in our music.

What do you like that has nothing to do with music?

I love history, I think it’s fascinating. There are components in every historical event that people don’t know about.

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

I want to be in the music business, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be playing music. There are so many jobs in the music business besides playing music. My friends tell me I’m very persuasive, so maybe something in marketing
could be a possibility.

Tell me about your family.

I live with my mother, my father, my dog, and my sister. My mother is a stay at home mom. My father works at Kayem Foods, a company that makes meat products. Kayem makes the famous Fenway Franks sold at Fenway Park. My dog Jasper has helped me get through difficult times for many years. My sister is 13
years old and also has Autism, but her’s is much more low functioning than mine. She goes to a special school for children with ‘disabilities’.
Yes, ‘disabilities’ is in quotes on purpose. I absolutely hate that word and how it’s used. Neither me or my sister are disabled, we’re differently-abled.

Where do you get your musical abilities from?  Family members? School? Church? Other?

Definitely not from my family haha. I was raised in a baseball family. Both my parents played baseball, my uncle is one of the
greatest high school baseball coaches in the history of Massachusetts. Nobody in my family ever played music. My parents both like music, but they never played it. I am the first musician in my family. I started
playing drums as many people do, smashing on pots and pans. My parents bought me a children’s drum set when I was in 3rd grade (give or take), and they got me a great drum teacher. I am still working with
the same teacher.

Tell me something interesting about yourself that no one knows (answer if you
dare)

I don’t dare.

I would like to thank Evan for sharing his story with Virtuosity Worldwide. He is one of the bravest, well-rounded and extremely talented folks I know. We all have challenges in life and I like to believe that it’s not the challenges we face that define us, but how we overcome them. I hope that Evan’s story educates and inspires us to rise to those challenges with confidence and grace, just like him. Sometimes what we think are disabilities are actually important attributes and assets that can catapult us into a life we never dreamed possible. If anything, let Evan be an iconic reminder of that.

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