Next of Kinn 1966: L-R Steve Brajak, Paul Softich, Jerry Centifanti, Joe Centifanti
The Next of Kinn was started by Joe Centifanti and his younger brother Jerry when Jerry was about 6 1/2 years old and Joe was the senior citizen - of 10! At first Joe played accordion and Jerry was on guitar, with Paul Softich (from Boardman) on drums. The band was initially called the Heartbeats until they made the logical change to Next of Kin. Joe moved to guitar and Steve Brajak (from Struthers) joined on bass.
The group played rough local steelworker bars....no, they played school dances and clubs. The Centifanti's dad came to every job. Although they were probably the youngest band in Youngstown, they gained fans and the respect of the music community. These relationships came in handy when the group decided to record a couple songs at WAM in the fall of '67. By this time Joe was 14 and Jerry 10, and the other members were 13! The Pied Pipers' bassist Pete Pompura helped the band write two songs, "Nosey Rosie" and "A Lovely Song", which were recorded with Pete's bandmate Dennis Sesonsky singing backgroud vocals.
"Nosey Rosie" featured a feedback intro and outtro that was played by Joe on his Gretsch guitar, and spliced in by producer Gary Rhamy. Jerry sang lead on both sides. However, at some point the song was considered to be "too wild" and the group returned to WAM and recorded the Buffalo Springfield song "Mr. Soul" with Joe singing vocals, and released this with the original recording of "Lovely Song". Fortunately an acetate survives with the incredible "Nosey Rosie"...a blistering combination of guitar and passioned vocals that would be considered nothing short of classic. "Lovely Song" is equally great, a more sophisticated melody and arrangement that's memorable enough to have been a hit. The band's name was truncated to 'Kin' by the pressing operation.
The recording did well enough to sell out the pressing and the group continued to play while the Centifanti brothers grew up and attended Wilson High School. In all the Next of Kin lasted for 10 years until all but Jerry graduated high school. Frank Elisir replaced Paul Softich on drums for the last couple years of the band.