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Mike Santoro talks Brooklyn Bowl show, Billy Joel music, Big Shot (Includes interview)

“The July 30th show will be our third appearance at Brooklyn Bowl,” he said. “This time around, we’re really excited to partner up with one of Long Island’s most sought-after musicians, David Clark and his Sting tribute. They’re fantastic! So, on one stage, it’ll be two bands, one set of Billy Joel’s best and one set of Sting and The Police music. David also has his own Billy Joel tribute up north called ‘Songs In The Attic’ which I have the utmost respect for, great band that pays homage to Long Island’s favorite son, Billy Joel.”

When asked what he loves most about Billy Joel’s music, he responded, “There’s so much to love I feel like it would be a disservice to name only one. But if I had to narrow it down, it’s the ‘soul’ that comes through. Between the feeling you get from his music, to his lyrical genius and storytelling, people relate to it because it comes from a genuine place and that’s what has made him a legend. He’s always said he’s written for himself first, and you can’t get any more real than that.”

He listed “This is the Time” as his personal favorite Billy Joel song to perform live, since it’s the newest in his show. “But ‘Scenes From An Italian Restaurant’ will probably be my all time favorite. It’s the first song that I remember hearing as a 9-year-old kid and it still resonates. Plus, it never ever doesn’t kill when we do it live,” he said.

On his future plans, he said, “Musically, my plans would be to do this gig as long as possible, and as long as I can give it the proper tribute it deserves, both vocally and as a show. The fact that people come out and pay money to see us, I’m honored to do this ‘job.’ I’m still astonished when we play to packed out theaters around the country, and I often have to pinch myself because I’ve always been a fan of Billy’s first and foremost. But besides music, my family and friends and faith are what’s most important. And of course good health!”

A few years back, Mike Santoro played with Mike DelGuidice and his Billy Joel tribute band Big Shot. “I had always been a fan of Big Shot years before I moved from Long Island to North Carolina in 2007. I had once met Mike early on in 2000-2001 at The Dublin Pub when he got the band started. Years later after linking up on Facebook, Mike and I had met up in person backstage at Billy’s show in Raleigh, North Carolina, in early 2014 and quickly became friends. Mike’s one of the most grounded and genuine people I’ve ever met both in and out of the business. The guys in Big Shot are all also very friendly and easy going people, not to mention they’re all just incredible musicians. So, one night when I was up north for a visit, they had a show at a venue in Patchogue, New York. Mike had invited me to sit in and he even let me choose the song, which was ‘Angry Young Man.’ It was such an adrenaline rush, it took me a few hours to come down from playing just that one song! So, to answer the question, playing with the band was obviously a thrill, but even more so, knowing them all on some level is much more gratifying to me personally.”

“In closing as always, sincere gratitude and thanks goes to Billy Joel, for not just being able to have this gig that I love to do, but grateful for how his music has enhanced our lives and the memories we all share as fans and as Long Islanders. See you on Sunday, July 30 at the Brooklyn Bowl,” he concluded.

To learn more about Mike Santoro and his Billy Joel tribute band, check out their official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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