Joe Vasta (Mink DeVille, Joan Jett)

To my ears, the most enduring and influential artists who emerged from the 1970s “punk” era – which was noted for its fashionable scorn of pedigree and history – were actually skilled musicians with a reverence for a myriad of musical styles.


Witness the amazing collective Mink DeVille, led by the former William Borsay, who were a staple on the New York City scene with a canon that merged a new wave stance with a profound knowledge of rhythm & blues, Brill Building pop, Cajun, and soul. Following personnel changes in the DeVille camp, bassist Joe Vasta came on board for what I consider to be Willie DeVille’s two finest releases: Coupe De Grace (1981) and Where Angels Fear to Tread (1983).


With drummer Thommy Price (Joan Jett & The Blackhearts) and Vasta in-the-pocket, along with keyboardist Kenny Margolis, sax man Louis Cortelezzi, and guitarist Rick Borgia – Willie rocked with the depth of his contemporaries Bruce Springsteen, Garland Jeffreys, Patti Smith and Billy Joel to cite a few.


Unfortunately Mink never achieved commercial success, and the late Mr. DeVille embarked on a solo career which once again achieved exemplary artistic triumphs yet failed reached the wide audience he and his various ensembles so richly deserved.


Mr. Vasta, who was borne of a music family – his dad helmed a big band and played with Dizzy Gillespie – also worked with Billy Idol, John Waite, and  Joan Jett, among many others, and is currently anchoring the Val Kinzler Band, and doing session work.


Dig Joe Vasta on Know Your Bass Player on Film Season One 2016 – New York City, Euphoria Studios