Local musician part of band opening for Primus

FORESTVILLE – Local resident Jon Yerico is a relationship banker at First Niagara by day. He also works part-time at Chautauqua Health and Fitness. His third job is a drummer for the band The Beggar’s Best. It’s this job that is allowing him to “make a dream come true.”

On Sunday at 5 p.m. at Gratwick Park in North Tonawanda The Beggar’s Best will open for Primus. The free concert is part of Cornerstone’s “Niagara River Rocks.”

Now nearly 30, Yerico described his younger years.

Yerico’s father, John, is also a musician on a part-time basis. Jon said he grew up admiring his dad’s music.

“He would come home after working long hours, only to load up his music gear and head out until early the next morning to play a show. He always came home to the family and always with cash in hand. It paid for my diapers, formula or just brought groceries,” he said.

Yerico watched his father perform at places like the Chautauqua County Fair and the Festival of Grapes and soaked up what he saw and heard.

He said, “I spent a lot of time in my teens in my bedroom playing the guitar along with cassette tapes, the radio, and later CD’s. This was the peak of the grunge era and the beginning of what later was labeled the alternative music scene. Bands were becoming more creative; marketing had changed dramatically. MTV was now a household staple for most, and with the internet spreading like a wildfire it was easier than ever to find new bands to diversify your musical palate. There were many, but one sticks out to me that a childhood friend introduced me to: Primus. I would listen to their early records and dream about what it would be like to jam with them, or be on a huge stage in front of thousands of people. If you would have asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said rock star and sincerely meant it.”

In his 20’s Yerico switched to drums. In early 2007, he was recruited as a replacement drummer by Dan Kolb and Joe Marshall of The Beggar’s Best. Over the last six years, the band has seen increased success, playing in large clubs and theatres and big outdoor stages with well-known acts. The band has released music on iTunes, launched a website www.thebeggarsbest.com a YouTube Channel, a Facebook page and employs other social media.

Jon now realizes he has followed in his dad’s footsteps. “I have a daughter of my own, Sydney (2 and a half months old), and only weeks after she was born I found myself out all night playing an out-of-town gig (after working all day) to make a few extra bucks for diapers and groceries.”

Yerico’s dad played in a “cover band” and is still active. Yerico calls The Beggar’s Best an” original band” meaning that they create their own songs. Kolb and Marshall do most of the writing. Jon says he works mostly in arranging.

Describing his dad’s music and his own, Jon said, “Dad played rock and roll covers successfully for many years. These days he has toned it back a bit and focused more on the classics with his MAC (Musicians Against Cancer) band project. I will say, I saw him recently and the ‘ole man’ can rock, but he is more conscious of the audience perception than I am. I know not everyone will understand or like what I do, and that’s OK with me. If you walk away from a TBB show perplexed, you walked away thinking about it after the fact and that’s good.”

Asked if his Dad likes his style of music, Yerico said, “Yes, Dad is proud that I have come this far; he both appreciates and respects what we do. He loves seeing my musical career advancing in ways different than his. We have a few songs that he really likes, but typically I don’t expect to see him head-banging to our heavier songs. My dad told me how much he is looking forward to the show. I look forward to seeing my daughter on his shoulders in that sea of people at Gratwick Park on June 9. I don’t think much about what doors will open for me, but I do hope that some will for Sydney if she someday follows in my footsteps. I hope she never gives up on her dreams. With some hard work, patience, and perhaps a little luck, anything is possible.”

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