Carmine’s brother, Chris, was four years younger than he. Chris started on guitar, then changed, first to the upright bass (it was taller than he was), and then switched to one of the first Fender Precision electric basses. They formed a band with 2 horns, a drummer and a girl singer. They called themselves “The Glens”.
They worked at local parties, bars and weddings. They even joined the musician’s union before they even reached their teens! When Carmine was 9 years old, he and his brother Chris decided to ditch school to go to the Brill Building, the mecca of music in NYC, and recorded a demo.
There, they met Teddy Randazzo, composer of “Goin’ Out Of My Head.” That was a very exciting time for them!
Now imagine Carmine being 9 years old and his little brother Chris being 5 1/2 years old and seeing the inside of the Brill Building and not letting that overwhelm them at all. They were not scared at all to go and knock on composers, producers and very well known celebrities doors and ask them to listen to their demo! All along this had been Chris’ idea and Carmine was the one that they ended up choosing to join the Royal Teens. It upset Chris that he was not asked to join but then you have to remember he was practically still a baby by age. It had nothing to do with his musicianship, in fact Chris became one of the tops studio Bassist in NYC. Now Chris would go to all of the rehearsals with Carmine that would last 3 to 4 hours at a time and he would eventually fall sleep on the chair. Carmine’s mother Rose would send little Chris with him because she didn’t want him going alone on the subway train.
At that time, Teddy Randazzo suggested that Carmine and Chris go and see a man down the hall, named Leo Rogers, who listened to some songs that Carmine had composed. He told Carmine that he was putting together a band, called The Royal Teens. That’s how Carmine came to record “Short Shorts,” and it became a big hit! He was then signed to Capitol Records and then The Teens went on tour. They did American Bandstand with Dick Clark, The Allen Fried Show, Soul Train, as well as concerts. Leo then called Carmine’s parents and asked for permission for Carmine to travel to Europe with the group. His mother Rose said, “No.” Leo even offered to hire a tutor to travel with Carmine so that he didn’t miss school, but the answer was still no. Carmine wound up doing “50’s” hit records at ages 9, 10, 11 with the Shirelles, Connie Francis, Fabian, Frankie Avalon, etc. Carmine and Teddy remained good friends and they continued corresponding. Teddy was the one who arranged for Carmine to be called for the movie Saturday Night Fever and Walter Murphy’s Fifth of Beethoven.
While Carmine was in school, he won scholarships to both high school and college. He graduated valedictorian of Trinity High School with a 99.9 average. He found himself pre-med because his dad, not confident that anyone could make a living in the music business, wanted him to be a doctor. However, when the professors found Carmine composing songs during their classes, they suggested that he do what really made him the happiest, which was arranging, composing, and performing. Carmine’s dad never anticipated that he and Chris would become two of the top studio musicians in NYC.