THE AMERICAN RELICS: Amazing Band Steppin’ Back in Time

Cover Story, Music News

THE AMERICAN RELICS are an anomaly. While they grab their influences from echoes of the past their music fits perfectly fine in the present. Band members are: John Gitano “leader of the pack” on guitar and vocals, Adrienne Dugger singing her heart out as a former touring opera star on vocals, Patty Jarman on guitar and vocals as well, illustrious bassist Nelson Montana, Josh Salant banging those drums and Neal Lazar on lead guitar. All outstanding musicians in their own right and all loving the music of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

The songs of THE AMERICAN RELICS are an intoxicating blend of romance, a simpler way of life, a spirit coaxing one to stop and rest and a genre bending boundary. TRV Countdown traded questions and answers with guitarist Neal Lazar regarding the groups songs and philosophy…..

What is the history of THE AMERICAN RELICS as best you know it?

Well, I guess technically the history of the American Relics started when I met Patty Jarmen in my 6th grade class in PS19 in Brooklyn.

I told Patty (circa 1963) I said “60 years from now we will either be married or in a rock band”.

We were both better off with the latter.

Then we skip a decade or so to where I met John Gitano. He came to my house looking for guitar lessons. He was gorgeous, sang like Stevie Winswood, wrote songs like Paul McCarthy and played in a real melodic guitar style.

(I looked at his beautiful blue eyes and told him to “get the fuck out of my house”)

Then fate had John and I do two recording sessions together in 1972.

Those songs still sound good today and had the beginnings of the “Relics” sound.

John and I played together again with other musicians at my 2012 birthday party.

I invited John to play upstate at my annual Labor Day party. He finally did it in 2022 with Adrienne and Nelson (playing bass and hitting a base drum at the same time) The 3 of them sounded terrific.

They were so good that I asked Patty, who had recently moved back to NY, to audition for the band and I went with her. (By then Josh was playing drums, so Nelson could free up his leg).

The result of this audition was that Patty and I both joined the Band and that is how it ended up with this line up today. So, the American Relics right now are: John Gitano, Adrienne Dugger, Nelson Montana, Josh Salant, Patty Jarman, and me, Neal Lazar.

Only 60 years in the making and overnight sensation.

Since the band has a huge catalog of songs written by frontman John Gitano what does the process of choosing one to release look like?

John wrote hundreds of songs, and he usually picks the ones we release (although there is usually some discussion back & forth.)

My personal favorite of his songs is the “Eyes of 1969”. It captures the spirit of the 60’s and 70’s. In essence it’s the theme song of what we try to do with the music. The only change I’d make to the song is to put a longer guitar solo at the end.

Where would you like to see the band in five years?

In the future I’d like to see us at bigger venues opening for a legacy act, before all the baby boomers have exited the planet. I’d love to open for the Stones, Keith, or Clapton or Santana.

If you could have the band open for anyone on the planet who would it be and why?

I’d love to open for the Stones, Keith, or Clapton or Santana. A band with a 60’s vibe whose music has withheld the test of time and has found new generations of fans.

Hey Paul McCartney …. Need an opening band?

What makes the band stand out against the rest of the music industry?

At the end I think what helps us stand out are three things:

1. Johns’ songs – timeless & catching.
2. John, Patty, Adriene’s harmonies (sometime with Nelson) – Not a lot of great singing out there today.
3. And, the tightness of the rhythm section in terms of Josh’s drumming and Nelson’s bass playing.

With the two of them driving the beat of John’s songs the crowd easily gets won over in a heartbeat.

The official website for THE AMERICAN RELICS may be found at

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