Archive for December, 2009

My brother Joe

December 8, 2009



My Stella guitar


I miss my brother Joe tons and tons…I miss him because a year ago he passed away after a courageous battle with cancer.  Joe was named after my father, Joe Oriolo. My sister Joan was born first, then my brother Joe, then me.  I learned so much from Joe…he was an excellent artist, musician, and overall great guy.  He was his daughters’ soccer coach, and of course, had winning teams year after year.  As kids, we built and flew kites, model airplanes, took flying lessons, boxed in the PAL, and played every sport imaginable.  We lived in an old-fashioned neighborhood where block parties and talent shows were commonplace, with clambakes on labor day and our own parades on Memorial day.  Of course, we all decorated our bikes with crepe paper.  Joe played the drums.  He had a set of Slingerland silver sparkle, which he bought with his own savings.  They sparkled like diamonds because he kept them polished like mirrors…Periodically he’d add to the set, and on occasion I’d save up my paper route money and buy an additional cymbal or drum.  We started playing music together when I was around 10 and he was 15.  I have great memories of those times.  This picture below was the day after I got that bigger-than-me Gretsch Anniversary model.  It was a dream come true…a present from my father, Joe.  I remember it like it was yesterday, as I ran up to the bus stop to meet my father coming home from the city.  He was carrying one of those gray and black cardboard guitar cases.  I said, “Hey Dad….what’s that?”  He picked it up like it was light as a feather and said….”I got you a guitar case…you needed one right?”  I was stoked, because I didn’t have a case for my old Stella guitar (a guitar I was borrowing from my cousin, Judy).  You can imagine my surprise, when we got home and I opened it!  Holy Moley!!!!!  The most amazing guitar I had ever seen ….the exact guitar I dreamed of…the same guitar Bo Charles (Bob Chicino of the Knickerbockers) played, one of my local guitar heroes!  I almost fell over.  The next day, this picture was taken of my brother and I practicing in our living room in Bergenfield NJ.  Part of the deal for getting the guitar was that I play and sing for my mother’s sewing circle….INDEFINITELY!  What a deal….I took it!  I loved playing for my mother and her friends anyway, so it was a win-win.  I still have the guitar, and every time I look at it, I think back to my family, all gone now, and the beautiful music we made together as a family.  Brother Joe…I will say your name every chance I can….and you will live on and on with every breath I take.  


Don Oriolo

Joe and I, with my new Gretsch.


Felix Electric Guitar

December 7, 2009


Well…you’re seeing the premiere, Felix fans….the first-ever production made Felix the Cat electric guitar.  It’s a three-quarter size solid electric guitar with whammy bar, unbelievable pickup and a secret Felix Meowsound® switch. You’re gonna love it…As with the previous Felix acoustic guitars, both guitar players and Felix fans all over the world will want to have one of these.  The guitars will be released under the ORIOLO brand name, and will be individually inspected and given the ‘yea or nay’ by master luthier, Tony DiDomenico!!!!  How Felixy cool is that????  I actually drew the guitar and headstock shapes, and the graphics were a collaborative effort between one of our animators Aaron Repko, and I.  We used the Otto Messmer Felix design to give it a more retro look.  Tony D built the prototype for the guitar and we all played it and critiqued it before we handed it over to the factory.
…I’m probably going to write or draw something on a few of them before they’re sent out for distribution.  We did that with the acoustic guitars…I wrote little messages on the label inside the guitar…like “hope you like this guitar…if you do email me at on April 1, 2007”….and sure enough, I got an email…ha ha…it was very cool…there were many like that…Bottom line is….with this guitar…you will have both a wonderfully playing guitar and a beautiful work of art (if I do say so myself, ha-ha) to display in a prominent place that will create tons of oohs and ahs…As always, I look forward to blogging (sounds like an illness, sorry) with you all in the very near future…
Don O