Albums

The Bible Unplugged

Joe Tunon

A musical summary of the whole Bible in 12 songs.

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Look Ma, No Band!

Joe Tunon

A collection of solo acoustic covers, with a couple of originals, similar to what I play at the gigs.

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D.I.Y.

Joe Tunon

Various original band songs collected over the years. I had fun multitracking the other guys' parts, hence the title.

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On My Way

Joe Tunon

A long time ago, in a bedroom far, far away, I recorded my first multitrack album. I was 21 when I wrote these. (Pictured here slightly younger)

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Bio

I was born in 1964, the year the Beatles first came to America. What does this mean? Nothing. I just think it's cool. 

In the 1970s, when I was finally tall enough to reach the keys of the piano, I started figuring out how to play the songs I heard on the radio. At 16 I got my first guitar, and I used to sit on my bed for hours figuring out the chords to my favorite songs. (Sometimes I still do.)

In the 80s lip-sync contests were all the rage, and I won enough contests doing my best Springsteen to buy myself a keyboard. I even got called to be on "Puttin' On the Hits" (anyone remember that?). I didn't want to just lip-sync, so I said no. And to think I could have been the next Milli Vanilli. (If you don't know who that is, you definitely don't remember "Puttin' On the Hits".)

I started songwriting on my new keyboard. My friend John Portuondo and I composed a song that was chosen for the commissioning of a WWII battleship, the U.S.S.Leyte Gulf. It was sung by Juan Secada (before he became known as Jon Secada), and was performed by the U.S. Navy band on the day of the commissioning. (And that's pretty much my claim to fame!)

I didn't have a band yet, so I wrote some songs and recorded my first home-made album "On My Way". The keyboard's electronic innards sparked my interest in computers, which eventually led to 30 years as an I/T engineer. On the side I was able to express my music and my faith by playing in and directing a couple of guitar based choirs at Church. John and I tried making several bands work, but we always seemed to find the most talented but unreliable musicians in Florida. So the music went into hibernation. Until...

One fateful day a friend and coworker asked if I would pull out the old 80s lipsync routine for a benefit show at the company. It was an unexpected hit and I ended up playing in and then directing the live bands for the next 5 years (see pics and archived videos). I was asked to join several bands after that, but I didn't want to go through the band drama again, so I decided to go solo with the acoustic guitar, and I've been happily gigging ever since!

I got to play every imaginable event and became at places like Jimmy Buffet's Cheeseburger In Paradise, Cafe Med at the Falls (later Bargello Bistro), Schnebly Winery, Black Point Marina (my home away from home), and several places in the Keys. (Shout out to Frank Bernstein, Iron Mike, Billie Jo, Jon Wubbena, and Connie Watson for all the work and the love over the years!).

In 2010 I won a national Ovation Guitar contest (see my winning entry on bottom of the videos page), the grand prize of which was an Adamas guitar that I got to customize myself. (Pics here).

A year later another musical dream came true when I married my soulmate Iris. How is this a musical dream? Ah! Like every musician, I dreamt of fame, fortune, any girl I wanted, and to change the world with my music. While wealth and fame have evaded me, I got the girl I wanted! (Friendly tip: the opening chords to "Drive" by Incubus are more effective than any pickup line ;-). As for changing the world with my music, that part comes later!

I had some songs left over from my band days, so I played the different parts myself and recorded "D.I.Y.", followed by an album of acoustic covers, "Look Ma, No Band!". And though I'm almost exclusively a solo act, in 2013 my friend Fernando Marrero and I auditioned for America's Got Talent as a duo, and we almost landed a spot on the show (One more round!).

In 2015 I suffered an unexpected back injury that forced me to stop performing, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, forcing the down time I would need (two years) to write and record an album that summarizes the whole Bible story (I had taught the Bible on and off for over 30 years and always wanted to do that). I finished it in 2017 and started presenting it in 2018 to different churches as my back began to heal.

Now for the "changing the world part"! In 2018 I auditioned for and got accepted to join Musicians On Call, a volunteer organization that brings live music to patients at health care facilities. It has been the most fulfilling gig of my entire life.

In 2020, after much prayer and deliberation, and with Iris's support, I made the jump and retired from my day job (shout out to my Assurant family!) to become a full time musician, and am finally living the dream!

And on that high note, this musical bio comes to a close. Thanks so much for reading!