THE NINES was formed in 2020 when friends Lisa Grace (vocals) and Joe Oriente (guitar) decided to break out of the COVID funk by collaborating to play some music together. After a few rewarding gigs with an eclectic setlist of songs from the '80's through the '10's, the acoustic duo decided to take the group to the next level with a full band of talented musicians who shared their musical tastes and love of performing. #TheNinesAcoustic
THE NINES is Joe Oriente, Lisa Grace, Joe B., and Jim McNamara. Joe and Lisa continue to perform together as THE NINES Acoustic, but are always looking for excuses to get THE NINES full band together for larger shows.
Some of Lisa’s earliest and fondest memories involve singing at the top of her lungs to 8-tracks of Italian music in her parents’ Dodge Swinger. Note: These are not some of her parent’s fondest memories.
Participating in the occasional Catholic school choir concert as a youth, Lisa started singing in earnest at 16 as part of Mahopac High School’s rock band, Illusion (photos 1 & 2 because the hair! The outfits!)—the highlight of which was playing a two-week summer concert series of two shows a day at the Orange County Fair in NY.
College and a career in magazine publishing then took precedence until her 30th birthday, when she put together a cabaret act and performed around the West Village in New York City for a year (photo 3), again the [fake] hair!).
Music was put on hold for a second time after a move to NJ and a couple of kids, but the ubiquitous Ridgewood music scene pulled her back in. She played with various bands in the area for ten years, until settling into the Nines in 2020 (photo 4).
When Lisa is not singing…well, actually, she’s always singing.
The first time Joe’s dad put an instrument in his hand, he cried—a wind-up Snoopy guitar wasn’t going to cut it. Three years later at age five, after a mishap with an ice cream cone, Joe’s mom took an inconsolable Joe to a guitar store in Roxbury, NJ in an attempt to calm him down—and an obsession was born (photo 1).
Over the next decade, Joe learned both guitar and bass and played dozens of high school parties, won a couple of battle of the bands, and performed at county fairs. Is there a better high school band name than Visions? I think not (photo 2).
College started a new chapter, and Joe learned the French horn for a scholarship at Valley Forge Military Academy. (Want the back story? Best you ask him for it directly.) At VF, he put together an all-cadet, gigging rock band playing the likes of INXS, Tom Petty and Journey (photo 3).
Two years later, with a transfer to Ithaca College, his musical career really took off. After hooking up with uber-popular college band Blindman’s Holiday in 1991 and writing several of the bass lines for their album Living on Credit, Joe toured with the band for two years, while also playing regular gigs in NYC as part of a duo with BMH member and friend Pat Waters (photos 4 & 5).
Like the rest of us, Joe put music on the back burner for a family and career—until 2008, when he joined the Ridgewood-famous Dads’ Night Band. During his decade with DNB, Joe covered everything from guitar and piano to saxophone and keyboards.
Which brings us to today (photo 6), 50 years since the Snoopy guitar. What do the next 50 years look like for you, Joe? “As much playing and writing as possible.” That makes us the lucky ones.
Jim’s intro to musicianship began at age 9 when he joined his elementary school’s marching band, the St. Margaret's Spirit of '76 Fife and Drum Corps. By 14, he had his first drum kit.
Voted his high school’s "most musical guy" (photo 1), Jim went off to U of Scranton and met some guys who would become his In the Pillory bandmates (photo 2). Post-college, the band tried their luck in the music scene in Atlanta, scoring a few songs in the college radio rotation.
Next, it was down to Florida for a degree in recording engineering, then up to NYC, where he worked on records for David Byrne, Simon Le Bon, and The Jerky Boys, among others (photo 3).
When he’s not playing with the Nines (photo 4), Jim practices law in NYC (yeah, he's got a law degree too), and enjoys cooking, particularly his pursuit of the perfect New York style pizza.
Bass players don’t come steadier than Joe B., but his first instrument was actually a guitar (photo 1). After a decade listening to everyone from the Partridge Family to the Ramones and from Kiss to the Beatles, Joe’s musical debut was at 15 (photo 2) with a guy named Otto and his band the Degenerates at a biker bar named Third Rail in Cortland, NY, opening for local punk heroes Wreck’N Crew. His share of the fee? Eight dollars and unlimited Genesee, and that was all it took for him to be hooked on the music scene.
Later at Syracuse, Joe’s band Penguin played the usual college basement gigs, but also had the opportunity to do some cool stuff, like open for the Psychedelic Furs and Divinyls, and play with John Cale of the Velvet Underground (photo 3). He also moonlighted as a College Marketing promoter for CBS Records, which sounds glamorous but was mostly driving around in a lot of snow to hang up posters.
Life happened as it does and Joe stopped playing for a decade, until the vibrant Ridgewood, NJ music scene pulled him back in as a bass player and harmonies king (photo 4). He played with his band Sam Goody for while, and nearly every other band in Ridgewood too, until the Nines snagged him.
Joe has a few musical regrets—he never played CBGB, can’t play the keyboards, and never got to tour—but we say there’s still time, Joe. There’s still time.