Mike "Dagger" Ventimiglia - Lead Singer/ Songwriter
Born in Paterson New Jersey Started singing at 8 years old harmonizing with his brother to Everly Brothers songs. He quickly transitiioned to street corner acapella . Always listening to great singers like Sinatra and eventually Elvis and Beatles at home and singing along to all the "Pop" hits of the day.
It was when he was stationed in Alexandria,Louisiana,at England Air Force Base, that he joined a group called the Cheques. The band covered all the latest soul and R and B hits as well as some POP tunes. Recording several originals as singles the band was signed to Stax in 1969 and recorded some songs written by Memphis musicians. Unfortunately, Mike was ordered to Vietnam and the band had to shut down.
While in Nam Mike was asked to front a group that was playing the Officer, NCO and airmen's clubs on the base. "Mike and the Groovemakers" a 9 piece horn band soon were asked to perform for the Army base adjacent to his base in Tuy Hoa.
After returning from Nam, Mike returned to Alexandria and formed band called "For What", and quickly relocated to New Orleans, where they played on Bourbon street After a few months Mike was asked to join a very popular New Orleans cover band called "The Paper Steamboat". The very successful band became one of the premier bands in the area and opened for many great bands like Rare Earth, Bloodrock, Dr. John. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of invention, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Ted Nugent, Joe Cocker and many more .
In 1974 Mike decided to form an original band and set out to get into the National music scene.Mike asked OT Ware, Ronnie Dobbs of Steamboat and Bobby T Torello of David and The Giants along with Pat Rush and began forming Thunderhead ,While in Steamboat Mike became friends with Johnny Winter . Johnny spent some time inNew Orleans and frequently jammed with the band all over Louisiana.Johnny offered to produce the Thunderhead Album. So, Bleu Evans at "The Studio in the Country" co produced an album with Johnny Winter in 1974 , which was never released but enabled the band with Bleu's help, to secure a deal with ABC/Dunhill and became the first New Orleans based rock band to get a major record deal with a major label .
Unfortunately, the band broke up in 1976 after struggling with the lack of direction ,the lack of gigs and the onset of Disco.
It wasn't until 1985 that Mike got back into music via a cover band called Magic Touch, which later became the Vanguards. After 10 Years of weddings and banquets and after the experience of 9-11 followed by a bout with Cancer, gave up the wedding band and joined up with The Flamethrowers Blues Band. The band worked all over noth Jersey and finally disbanded in 2009 when Mike left to return to New Orleans.
In 2009 Bobby T and Dagger decided to reform the Thunderhead band and recruited some great New Haven area musicians to fill the guitar and bass slots. A new CD with new material and several live cuts is set to drop in mid 2012.
This year Mike has also put together a new Paper Steamboat 2012 and is back on the New Orleans club circuit doing the Classic Rock tunes from the 70's ...The gigs are listed on the Calender pages.
Rupert and The Conchords 1959
The Hi Hats 1960 to 1962 Paterson, NJ
The Cheques 1967 to 1969 Alexandria , Louisiana
Mike and The Groovemakers 1969 to 1970 Tuy Hoa , Vietnam
For What? June 1970 to September 1970, Alexandria and New Orleans, La.
The Paper Steamboat 1970 to 1974, New Orleans , La
Thunderhead 1974 to 1976, New Orleans, La
Dagger - 1980- 1981, Paterson, NJ
The Magic Touch 1990 to 1992 , Paterson, NJ
The Vanguards 1992 to 2001 , Wayne, NJ
Captain Mike and the Flamethrowers Blues Band, 2002 to 2009 , Wayne, NJ
Mike Dagger's Paper Steamboat 2012-