Joey and the Continentals / GTOs / Montage


Cleveland, 1961-71

Legendary Cleveland band who had several excellent local hits that defined the Cleveland pop rock-n-roll sound of the 60s. The band was started and named by Don Evans (on bass), who got together with Ray Miller (guitar) to form a band. They invited Joey Porello (lead vocals, trumpet) and Gene Marotta (drums) in the original lineup. They got a residence playing at the Green Darby and become ahot band. They added Denny Slivko on sax and vocals. This core, with the exception of the guitarists, remained together for the band's entire 10 year run! All the members were from Cleveland's east side and suburbs, and became the standard for the 'greaser' style that was prominent in that part of town.

The band released their first of five 45s in 1964, scoring a local hit with "Linda". They followed up with "No One Can Make My Baby Smile" and "Baby", probably the best of the bunch. Meanwhile, Ray Miller left and was replaced by Walt Nims (in between his time in the Starfires). Nims was replaced by Jack Godzich. In 1966 the band cut a Brian Wilson song "She Rides With Me" and was justifibly rewarded with another big local hit. Shortly after the band, which was managed by Walt Masky's General Talent Organization, changed their name to the GTOs. Although the then-new car by Oldsmobile was probably an inspiration, GTO was also the initials of their management!

The GTOs were given the job as house band on the Upbeat show, which was now nationally syndicated, in early 1967. After a few months, the name seemed dated, so they became Montage, and stayed on Upbeat for a year or so. Jack Godzich was replaced by Russ Wichert. In 1969 Tampa Lann, formerly of the Cellmates, joined on keyboards and vocals. This lineup recorded a 45 for United Artists records, and featured a more sophisticated pop sound. At one stretch, Montage played 47 straight weekends at different high schools!

Montage disbanded in the summer of 1971. Joey Porello moved to Florida and recorded a 45 in the mid 1970s before running a successful management company