Minichello’s musical legacy remembered one year later

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First Posted: 4/8/2014

When The Weekender talked to Bryant August last year about the unfortunate passing of local drummer RJ Minichello at the age of 39, he recalled a vivid dream in which he spoke to his friend and bandmate again. The random dreams have continued, he said, and so have other occurrences that remind him of RJ. According to medical records, August’s son was conceived the day before RJ’s passing.

“It could be a coincidence, or is it?” he questioned thoughtfully. “The past year went by fast. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since RJ became heaven’s angel. I’m constantly reminded of him. It pushes me harder, musically.”

It’s also pushed him to bring back the successful Concert in Memory of RJ Minichello, a show held at three different venues last year that raised money for the education of Minichello’s two young daughters, Abigayle and Skylar.

“Both of RJ’s daughters seem to be strong. They are both mature, incredible young ladies. He was very close with both of them. I know they miss him dearly,” August shared. “Last year, the event was a huge success. I decided the event should be annual, to remember RJ and to help his daughters with academic assistance. Everything helps.”

August played with Minichello in The Switch for about a year, but the drummer was already established in the area for performing with over 30 bands, including Calm Waterz (also known as Gemstone), Newpastlife, Bliss, Spitshine, Destination West, and Simon Sez. He also did drum tech work for Tantric, Fuel, and Fosterchild.

“RJ left a huge musical legacy behind,” he emphasized. “It’s living on today with this annual concert.”

Held a year and a day after he passed on, the Sunday, April 13 event will not include raffles or 50/50 baskets this time, instead relying on $5 donations at the door of each venue, though additional donations are encouraged.

“I wanted this year to be more of a memorial to remember RJ. It’s about everyone being together, not about prizes,” August noted. “Most of the same bands are performing again this year.”

August himself will be one of many musicians performing in several bands throughout the day, just as Minichello would have wanted it.

“If RJ was here today, we would be working on something musical together,” he said. “This year, I’m just looking forward to everyone being together, taking a day to remember RJ. It’s not just about people coming to the event – it’s also very special to the musicians playing the event.”


Waldo’s Tavern (406 Green Ridge St., Scranton)

(21+, smoking)

4-4:30 p.m.: Asialina & Bryan Banks

4:45-5:15 p.m.: A Green August

5:30-6 p.m.: The D&E Experience

6:15-6:45 p.m.: Tom Flannery

7-7:30 p.m.: Breathing Easy

7:45-8:15 p.m.: Dem Guyz

8:30-9 p.m.: Calm Waterz/Gemstone


Thirst T’s Bar & Grill (120 Lincoln St., Olyphant)

(under 21 until 9 p.m. accompanied by adult 25 or older, non-smoking)

4-4:30 p.m.: Graces Downfall

4:45-5:15 p.m.: Diamond City Trio

5:30-6 p.m.: Dashboard Mary

6:15-6:45 p.m.: The Switch

7-7:30 p.m.: Q-Balls

7:45-8:15 p.m.: Omnitial

8:30-9 p.m.: Turning Point

9:15-9:40 p.m.: Drive

10-10:30 p.m.: Russello Project

10:45-11:15 p.m.: The Fallen

11:30-midnight: The Lo-Fives


The V-Spot (906 Providence Rd., Scranton)

(21+, smoking)

4-4:30 p.m.: Fake Uncle Jack

4:45-5:15 p.m.: Jigsaw Johnny

5:30-6 p.m.: Nowhere Slow

6:15-6:45 p.m.: The JOB

7-7:30 p.m.: Silent Arms Race

7:45-8:15 p.m.: Destination West

8:30-9 p.m.: ViceGrip

9:15-9:45 p.m.: The Switch

10-10:30 p.m.: Five Second High

10:45-11:15 p.m.: Green Light Go

11:30-midnight: Simon Sez