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Backstage with Elias: John Daniel Verbocy 

A couple of people had mentioned the John Daniels Band to me in recent months, so I decided to look a little deeper into the group. The music definitely caught my attention, prompting me to reach out and have a chat with principal songwriter John Verbocy.

I learned that Verbocy has been releasing single tracks this year with musicians Drew Azzinaro, and Kevin Urso – Urso on piano and producing the music.

Verbocy tells me that he first started singing in church. “I’ve been singing my whole life, my father too,” says the 34 year old singer/songwriter from Lockport, NY. “Music has always been such a huge part of our life.”

He describes the musical influence by saying, “From the day I was born, I was raised on B-side classic cuts, old school ’60s and ’70s,” and poetic influences, “My father taught me how to write poetry when I was probably 7 or 8 years old – I learned how to piece words together early on in my life, and it helped me throughout my life.”

The songwriter played music late in his teens, but soon found his way into running businesses for the better part of the next decade. His business ventures with his brother, and other partners, included a pizzeria, a café, and debt buying. It was a non stop grind, both physically and personally. “My dad taught me common sense… if you’re being lied to, you’re being lied to,” he recalls.

But he found peace in making music. He would invite his guys over, and say to them, “I’ll write some things over your licks.” They would eventually respond, “Dude, why don’t you learn to play the guitar?” That led to an epiphany. “I only started playing about a year and 3 months ago.” He says, “I always missed music once I stopped doing it. That was my biggest regret in life, was giving up, because I always knew I could write a piece of music. That’s not something that just happens, you know.”

There is something that creation does for a person’s soul, a connection to the creator, and that’s something I feel rings true in the stuff that I write.

Creating music has a deep spiritual connection for John.

“In my eyes, I feel that is part of the source, a part of creation too,” he continues. “There is something that creation does for a person’s soul, a connection to the creator, and that’s something I feel rings true in the stuff that I write.” He sums it all up with, “Creation is the holiest thing we have on this earth, God gave us that gift.”

Verbocy brought in Azzinaro to work on demos, who then brought in Urso to lay down some piano tracks. Urso was blown away by the songwriting. Right from the start, Urso felt, “This music is too good, do you want to scrap this and just go to my house?” This is where Urso took over the producing aspect.

“I’m an acoustic player that writes songs, and once Kevin and I figure stuff out, you build the blocks around it,” explains Verbocy. “Kevin is brilliant at doing that. He is a savant when it comes to producing.”

Regarding the connection with his guys, Verbocy says, “Kevin is that pure kind of person, same with Drew, those guys are a core group of amazing people. Righteous in every way, and they’ve got the best ears for music.”


Verbocy is incredibly passionate, and driven to continue to make music. “This is my purpose in life. I am a 2 time survivor of leukemia; that shaped and molded my life. I never understood it until music came back into my life.”

I look forward to hearing new material from the John Daniels Band, and certainly look forward to attending live performances once life returns to normal. Until then, Verbocy states, “Take it as it comes, if you want to push something, it’s going to succeed.”

Learn more about The John Daniels Band on Facebook. Visit the band’s website. And this YouTube channel.

Photos courtesy of John Daniel Verbocy 

Written by Elias Benavides

Elias Benavides

A goofy kid from Buffalo's lower west side who loved to play the guitar and loved live music. Has moved on to sound engineering, stage lighting, anything live music. Now he's writing about musicians on BR too. Why am I talking in the third person?

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