ALL ABOUT THE FILLET OF SOUL BAND
Back in the late 60’s there was a group of friends singing and playing instruments on street corners and in basements. But where it all really started coming together was at Hackensack High School in an Acapella Choir Group. These friends formed the Soul Survivors. The band consisted of Ike McKinnon, Douglas Pintka, Steve (Moon) Long, Gregory Barnes, John Mafaro, Nick Knuauer, Greg Kershian, and Charlie Vassili. They entered a Battle of the Bands contest and won! Subsequently, however, they had to change their name because another band named The Soul Survivors released a hit record. Steve (Moon) and Doug were discussing a new name while getting something to eat. They wanted the name to symbolize the best of soul music, hence the name the Fillet of Soul.
With the change of name came a few changes in the band members, which consisted of: drummer, Steve Barnett, bass player, Ron Kelly and guitarist, Andrew Acquaviva, keyboardist, Gene Bono, horns, Butch Bassano and John Iucalano.
The Fillet of Soul was a ten piece soul band and became “America’s fastest rising R&B group!”
They performed many times at their own high school in Hackensack and many other high schools and churches.
In 1968, the Fillet of Soul entered the Amateur Rock Contest at Palisades Amusement Park. Over 200 bands entered. It was Hal Jackson who announced the Fillet of Soul won first place!
Also in 1968, the Fillet of Soul signed a deal for an eighteen-day tour of the British Isles. They played all over Scotland and for a children’s hospital.
The Fillet of Soul played on the same billing with many famous groups such as The Temptations, Sly and the Family Stone, The Brooklyn Bridge, and The Delfonics and Kool and the Gang.
In 1970, the Fillet of Soul signed a record deal with Mercury Records. They released such hits as “Swinging on a Love Vine” and “Don’t Touch the Sun.” They became the number one musical attraction!
When Steve and Ron left the group they added Bob Palino on drums and Bob Leone on bass.
Some other venues the Fillet of Soul performed in were: Playhouse on the Mall in Paramus, A Special “In Concert” Performance presented by Michael Levine; Montclair College; Hackensack High School for President Richard Nixon; Englewood Cliffs College; The Lincoln Theater; Jersey City College and The Fox Theater.
In the early 70’s the Fillet of Soul split up, much to the distress of their loyal fans. Out of the Fillet of Soul grew Stonehenge which consisted of 7 of the FOS members (Doug P., Gene B., Andrew A., Butch B., John I., Bob P., Bob L.) and three new members, Joe Esposito, Don McCracken and Barry Sachais. They performed at the same concert with Delanie and Bonnie as well as appearing at Jersey City College with Richie Havens.
When Stonehenge split up in 1971, Doug P., Gene B., Bob P., and Bob L. formed another group called Jeremy.
After Jeremy dissolved, the guys decided to get the Fillet of Soul back together. Some members did not return and some passed away. That is when James, JT, Taylor was brought in on vocals (he later joined Kool and the Gang), Joe Murray on guitar, Jack Leibowitz and Walter Warn on horns. Their loyal fans were very happy!
As time moves on, so did the guys - all in their own separate ways. They remained very close friends and always talked about maybe one day getting the Fillet of Soul back together.
In the summer of 2010 Doug Pintka, after jamming with Todd Nielson, was once again inspired and gathered the guys together to discuss a Fillet of Soul reunion including Doug P., Ike M. Gene B., Bob P., Bob L., Don M., Joe M. and Todd N. It had been about 35 years since they performed together. Word spread quickly that the Fillet of Soul was back together, and their loyal fans all showed up and new ones as well!
The band decided to add new members along the way: Terry Kearney, Mel Taylor, John Berry, Yvonne Taylor, Debra Hayes-Bono, Lynda Hayes, Daniel Francisco, Keith Maclin, and Aubrey Maclin. They played numerous venues, such as Hackensack Street Fair, Hackensack 4th of July, Liberty House State Park, Lyndhurst Park Street Fair, Court House on the Green and many more.
On March 2, 2016 the Fillet of Soul lost their brother Doug Pintka. Their sadness was overwhelming. With remarkable courage, and knowing Doug would have wanted them to “play on”, the group decided to continue performing. Mercilino Zee Aroyo filled in for a little while and now John Moultrie Jr. and Doreen Washington have joined the FOS.
Ever since the 60’s, the members of the Fillet of Soul have been touching the hearts and souls of people with their music and continue to do so.
In Memory of:
Andrew Acquaviva, Steve (Moon) Long, Charlie Vasili, Steve Barnett, Butch Bassano, John Iucalano, Doug Pintka, and Daniel Francisco.
Current Band Members
Debra Bono - Vocalist
Lynda Hayes - Vocalist
John Moultrie Jr. - Vocalist
Doreen Washington - Vocalist
Bobby Palino - Drums
Bobby Leone - Bass
Joe Conti - Guitar
Gene Bono - Keyboard
Aubrey Maclin - Sax
Keith Maclin - Trumpet