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Makin Waves with Anthony Krizan: Roots Run Deep

By Bob Makin

originally published: 06/17/2024

Makin Waves with Anthony Krizan: Roots Run Deep

Anthony Krizan has released his sophomore solo LP, “Cool Shade of Blue,” which features drummer Chad Cromwell (Neil Young, Mark Knopfler) and the Dave Matthews Band horn section, as well as collaborations with songwriters Larry McCoy, Alan Glass (Aretha Franklin, George Benson), Sam Tate (Waylon Jennings), Tom Marshall (Phish) and horn and string arrangements by Don Hart (Trey Anastasio).

Singer-songwriter-guitarist-producer-studio owner Anthony Krizan’s roots run deep.

He was lead guitarist of Spin Doctors, penning five of the songs on their greatest hits album and opening 15 dates for The Rolling Stones with audiences of 70,000, as well as opening for The Allman Brothers Band.

He also played guitar with Noel Redding, legendary bassist for Jimi Hendrix, one of Anthony’s greatest influences. Known for rocking the big stages and getting audiences on their feet, Anthony is an original member of Amfibian with Phish lyricist Tom Marshall. He has penned rock-soul staples, such as “Stand by My Woman” with Lenny Kravitz, as well as the themes of the “Spin City” TV series and Howard Stern’s “Miss America” TV special.

Recently, Anthony co-wrote and produced the title track to British rock singer John Waite’s 2022 EP, “Anything,” as well as three other tracks. They followed their collaboration on the title track to Waite’s “When You Were Mine” LP on Mercury Records.

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The owner of Sonic Boom Studios in Raritan Borough in his native New Jersey, Anthony is the 2013 recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Jay Gorney Award for “Home Don’t Feel Like Home,” which he co-wrote with celebrated children’s artist-author Cheryl Daveiga.  Anthony also penned and produced the Alabama bicentennial state song “Something in The Water”, which includes some of the legendary Swampers on the track.

His true passion lies in his solo work, which most recently was featured on sophomore LP, “Cool Shade of Blue,” the long-awaited follow-up to the 2016 full-length debut, “Dust & Bone,” the title track of which was recorded by country singer Gretchen Wilson and blues guitar legend Pat Travers. Anthony recently released his sixth single and/or video from the 13-song album with “Six Feet Under” to coincide with the LP’s release.

Having celebrated the release at The Dunellen Theatre, Anthony Krizan Band next will play July 13 at Green Knoll Grill in Bridgewater, August 4 Bethlehem Music Festival at Steel Stacks, Sept. 7 for a veterans benefit at Bridgewater Elks, and on a fall tour. The band features drummer John Hummel, bassist Muddy Shews, keyboardist Rob Clores, percussionist Fred Macarone, and the horn section of trumpeter Tony Perusso, trombonist Benjamin Clapp and saxophonist Paul Vigiano.

Other “Cool Shade of Blues” tracks include “All Coming Back to Me,” co-written with Waylon Jennings producer Sam Tate, and Hendrix-inspired “White Lines.” Other singles/videos are “Into the Groove,” featuring Neil Young drummer Chad Cromwell, “Strawberry Wine,” “Forbidden Voodoo,” “The Night You Stole My Heart” and “Sweet Divine.” All are at and all other streaming platforms.

The following chat with Anthony, the Makin Waves Artist of the Month for June, chronicles his career, as well as his new album.

How did growing up in North Plainfield impact you musically?

Growing up in North Plainfield was a great experience for me. I’ve been playing gigs since I was 11 with my brother. I started on the drums at the age of 9, but at age 13, I started playing guitar and writing songs. Playing self-promoted dances at churches and schools to packed houses and getting a great response from my songs at such a young age made me realize this is what I was born to do.

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I also started playing with (fellow North Plainfielder) Jim Leahey and had a band called Purple Earth. We had a CD out on Polydor Germany. I learned a whole lot off of Jimmy. He’s such a great guitar player. I was coming from the rock side. He was coming from the jazz world, and it helped mold and shape my influences into a more sophisticated guitar style and head for improvisation.

We had great chemistry right off the bat. Jim and I wrote songs that were on the Purple Earth record, and both played some good stuff I’m thinking about re-releasing. I’ve been trying to put a show together with Jimmy, but our schedules haven’t lined up yet. I will make it happen.


You studied guitar with Jimmy’s father, Harry Leahy. What was the most valuable lesson Harry Leahey taught you?

Harry Leahey was one of the greatest guitarists in the world. His knowledge was incredible. If there’s such a thing as a master of the guitar, Harry was absolutely a master. You would leave a lesson with Harry Leahey, and it would take you six months to really figure out everything he showed you and wrote down. But for me, I focused on the modes and chord inversions. One of the things Harry said to me always stuck in my mind. He said one gig is like 10 rehearsals, and it’s so true. People could sit in their basement and go over and over the same songs, but when you get in front of people, it’s sink or swim. I’ve learned that being an entertainer of a show as much as being a great player.

What did you enjoy most about being in Spin Doctors?

Being in the Spin Doctors was such a great time of my life. It was something that happened very quickly, and I had a week to learn the whole catalog. The first show was in front of 20,000 people and then on the Jay Leno TV show. It was a great feeling to play in front of large audiences, getting to jam and improvise in front of massive crowds and have such a great response. The highlight of that band for me was doing 15 dates with the Rolling Stones on the Voodoo Lounge Tour. It was a surreal experience getting to talk to Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood in front of the crowd and then sit back by the soundboard and watch their show. Amazing when I first met Charlie Watts. He came out to our sound check and said, ‘Come on back and meet the guys. Welcome to the Voodoo Lounge.’ He brought me up to meet Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. They were in ‘the tuning room,’ so they called it. Ronnie Wood handed me the Martin acoustic, and I think Keith offered me a Guinness (laughs).

Makin Waves with Anthony Krizan: Roots Run Deep

Anthony Krizan, far right, is pictured with Jimi Hendrix bassist Noel Redding and Frankie LaRocka, an Epic Records A&R rep, producer and drummer.



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How did Frankie LaRocka impact and influence you and your career?

Frankie LaRocka was such a big influence on me and impacted my life in several ways.

Number one, we became best friends. We first met when our band NYC got dropped from Chrysalis Records in the late ’80s. Polygram picked us up and the record. But the problem back then was if you signed a deal with the president, a year later he got fired. Somebody else came in. That’s how the records all got lost in the shuffle.

We were co-managed by Alan Kovacs, who had Richard Marx, and Lewis Levin, who had Michael Bolton and Extreme. They set up a meeting with Frankie, who was A&R from Epic Records. Frankie signed Mr. Big and Spin Doctors and produced their first two records.

Frankie also was a great drummer. Some of his credits were Bon Jovi on “Runaway,” Bryan Adams and John Waite. Frankie liked our band and took a liking to my guitar playing, songwriting, and productions skills and experience. Frankie passed on the band but started using me on records and development projects, such as the Henry Lee Summer record, which was me and Earl Slick on guitars, Stan Lynch on drums, Tom Petty’s drummer.

When Eric left Spin Doctors, Frankie got me the audition. Me, Frankie and Noel opened for Wasabi at The Wetlands, which was Eric on guitar, Aaron Comes (Spin Doctors drummer), and John Popper. They saw me play that night and remembered me.

Aside from all the great things that happened, Frankie was honestly like a brother. We were best friends. It was so hard on me when he passed and still always on my mind. If there was a picture of an A&R guy in the dictionary, it would be Frankie LaRocka (laughs).


What did you enjoy most about playing with Noel Redding?

It was so great to play with Noel Redding. He was such a great guy. Sometimes I would look over and be playing ‘Stone Free’ or one of the classics, and you would just realize that’s the guy that played with Hendrix on these records, and it was a very powerful feeling. Noel was just a regular down-to-Earth guy, super nice and humble. I miss him and Frankie LaRocka as musicians but even more as friends.


How and why is Jimi Hendrix an influence on you?

Jimi Hendrix just resonated a chord in my soul. I still hear those records, and there’s just something raw, cutting edge and so inventive about them. Also, his singing and lyrical subjects are outside the box and heartfelt. It’s amazing what he did with the guitar that was so different than anybody else at the time. The records still stand up and always will.


Are there any other artists or acts who are as big an influence on you as Hendrix?

I always loved soul music. Al Green vocals were an inspiration to me. Also, Sly Stone. I like Chris Stapleton a lot. It’s soulful Americana-type stuff. The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Prince are also some of my favorites that influenced me.


How did you meet and come to work with Tom Marshall?

I met Tom Marshall after Scott Metzger and the original Amfibian split up.

Tom started working with Chris Metaxas, and they had the start of a great record. I started putting guitars in on the songs, which led to lives shows, some of which Phish members would show up.

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Makin Waves with Anthony Krizan: Roots Run Deep

Anthony Krizan is songwriting partners and Amfibian band mates with Tom Marshall, Phish’s lyricist. Pictured from left to right at The Stone Pony are Trey Anastasio, Anthony, Tom Marshall’s wife, Lea-Lea, Tom, and the Dude of Life, another of Trey’s songwriting partners.


Is Amfibian still a band or are you and Tom just songwriting partners now?

Tom and I still write and are great friends. I’m not sure if there will be another Amfibian record and tour, but Tom and I talk about it.

We really do have great chemistry together writing. When we were making ‘Skip the Goodbyes,’ we would get together at my studio and write two songs in a night. Tom really has a great lyrical approach, which is different from other lyricists. His lyrics and melodies are very unpredictable. I am blessed to have him as a friend and a writing partner!


Out of all of your songs that have been recorded by other people, which recording makes you most proud and why?

I would have to say ‘Stand by My Woman,’ the Lenny Kravitz record. When I hear that record, I think about how the song came about. Lenny called me up personally and was going through some emotional stuff with Lisa Bonet, but Henry Hirsh, the producer, and I laid the track down. I played drums on it. The song came together very fast. Like all the old soul records, if you just hear drums, bass, guitar and keys, it sounds cool, but once you add the strings and horns, there’s some magic on that track.


What is the oldest song on ‘Cool Shade of Blue,’ when did you write it, and was that before or after you released ‘Dust and Bone’?

The oldest song on this CD is ‘Sin and Redemption.’ I think it was after ‘Dust and Bone.’ I always liked the track, and I felt it would fit nice on this record.


What inspired in each of the songs on ‘Cool Shade of Blue’?

I feel there’s a soulful thread that runs through this whole record. There are a few edgy songs, but everything has an emotional, soulful feel to it, which is part of my roots.  All of my songs are inspired by my life and sometimes the music I’m listening to at that time.

‘Into the Groove’ was co-written with Alan Glass who’s written and produced songs for Aretha Franklin, George Benson, and other soul legends. That also features Chad Cromwell on drums, who played with Mark Knopfler, as well as Neil Young on the ‘Harvest Moon’ record. ‘All Coming Back to Me’ was co-written with Sam Tate who managed produced and wrote some of Waylon Jennings’ best songs.

‘Lonesome Train’ was co-written with Tom Marshall.  Don Hart, who does all Trey Anastasio’s horn and string arrangements, wrote the string and horn parts for this track, which also features the Dave Matthews horn section.

One of the singles, “Six Feet Under’, has a heavy rock-soul edge. This record will take you on a musical journey from deep soul to rockin’ Hendrix-like grooves to Americana, but all have a cohesive thread that ties into the roots of Anthony Krizan. All songs will be streaming and will be released individually coming soon.

How did you meet Sam Tate, and what did you enjoy most about writing ‘All Coming Back to Me’?

I went to Nashville for a few days to clear out a friend’s apartment and drive a U-Haul back. My friend, Dave Gibson, who’s also another great songwriter, is good friends with Sam Tate. Dave lived in the same apartment complex, so we all got together for a few days. We’re drinking and writing songs, and this song came out. There’s something about this song that’s very honest, and it’s reminiscent of an Otis Redding record with the horns. That’s the vibe of the track.

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How did you meet Chad Cromwell, and how did he come to play on ‘Into the Groove’?

I met Chad Cromwell during the sessions for the Missing Cats record by JoJo Herman from Widespread Panic. I wrote the whole record with JoJo and Sherman Ewing. Jon Randall from Nashville produced it. Chad Cromwell was on drums. Also, Mike Mills from R.E.M. on bass, Sam Bush (New Grass Revival) on mandolin, Luther and Cody Dickinson from the North Mississippi Allstars. (Nashville guitarist) Guthrie Trapp also played on that record. That was a great experience. Me and Chad stayed in touch, and I still use him for sessions.

Who else plays on ‘Cool Shade of Blue’?

On this record, I have my horn guys, which I use live. Benjamin Clapp writes all my horn charts. He plays trombone. Tony Perruso is on trumpet and Chris Fitzgerald is on sax. Rob Clores played most of the keyboards. John Ginty played on ‘Sweet Divine.’ John Hummel played drums on some tracks. Muddy Shews (bass) played on a few. All the other tracks, I played drums, bass and guitars. Arne Wendt played keys on ‘Sin and Redemption.’ The Dave Matthews Band horn section played on ‘Lonesome Train’: Jeff Coffin on sax (also Emmanuel Echem on trumpet and Ron Agee on trombone).

You’ve released several singles and videos from the album. Will you release any more singles and videos from ‘Cool Shade of Blue’?

Yes, we will be releasing singles every few weeks to the digital platforms with videos coming very soon.


Which video from the LP do you like best and why?

I like the video for ‘Into the Groove.’ My trombone player, Benjamin Clapp, did that video in a very short time. He’s very talented and creative.


What are your tour plans in support of the album?

We have some shows coming up. Musikfest in Bethlehem on Aug. 4 and some out-of-town dates coming in the fall.

Makin Waves with Anthony Krizan: Roots Run Deep

Anthony Krizan Band is pictured at the June 1 release party for “Cool Shade of Blue” at the Dunellen Theatre.


Who is in Anthony Krizan Band, how did you come to work with them, and what do you enjoy most about working with them and why?

My band mates are and have been for years: John Hummel on drums, Muddy Shews on bass, Rob Clores on keys, Freddie Macarone on percussion, Benjamin Clapp on trombone, Tony Perruso on trumpet. Sax is sometimes Joey Stann and Paul Vigiano.

It’s easy to play with my guys. They just get what I do. We have chemistry without having to work too hard. It feels very natural. John Hummel started playing with me in Amfibian. I met Rob Clores in a taxi in Austin, Texas at South by Southwest (laughs).

Makin Waves with Anthony Krizan: Roots Run Deep

Anthony Krizan is pictured performing with Jersey Shore jam band Dogs in a Pile at The Stone Pony.



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How did you come to work with Dogs in a Pile, and what are you doing with them?

Dogs in a Pile is such a phenomenal young band. Tom Marshall has had them on his podcast and became friends with the band. Tom sent them a song he and I wrote called ‘You Didn’t Hear It from Me.’ They love the song and started playing it live. I believe it’s going on their (next) record. I think they’re also cutting a song called ‘Glass’ Tom and I wrote. They invited me up to play at The Stone Pony, which is very nice and a great experience. I’m really proud of those guys, and will be a part of their journey in any way I can.

How long have you owned Sonic Boom, and why did you choose Raritan Borough as a location?

I’ve owned Sonic Boom for over 25 years. When I was living in North Plainfield, it started getting too much to have the studio in my house. I have people coming from New York. I had to find a place outside of my house, so I met Lenny Grasso, and we built the studio out in his building that used to be a wood shop and was a warehouse originally. I’m blessed to have such a cool viby room, and the drum room sounds unbelievable, which is a big part of the studio. It’s also right next to the legendary DeLucia’s Pizza!


Other than your own two albums, what is your favorite project you’ve done at Sonic Boom and why?

Over the years, I’ve had some amazing people in my studio, like Robert Randolph, Phoebe Snow, John Waite, Bernie Worrell. That’s a tough question.

I really enjoyed the way Danielle Illario’s ‘Peach’ record came out. She’s a jazz singer. She did a version of ‘Lover Man.’ I also played bass on it. It was all cut live. There is magic on that recording.

Also, the John Waite sessions were fun. We wrote and recorded the songs on the spot.

I really enjoy the whole creative process in my studio. I learn a lot from young and old talent. It keeps me on my toes and avoiding the obvious as a producer.


What projects are you working on now and in the near future at Sonic Boom?

I’m writing and producing the new Billy Walton Band record, which has been a great experience. We have some really cool, fresh new songs that I’m proud of being a part of. Also, Robin Tricker, she’s a great writer and artist. I’ve been doing her records for years. She always ends up in the Top 10 on the trop pop stations. And Todd Markewicz, I’m almost finished with a full record with him. It’s in the vein of Roy Orbison with a rockabilly twist.  Renee Audrey is a great female artist that is an amazing piano player and songwriter, that has a voice reminiscent of Adele.


Are there any artists whose band you’re in live and/or in the studio?

I’ve also been playing drums and singing in an Eagles tribute band called Best of the Eagles. I never thought I’d be in a tribute band, but these guys are really great, and I love the music of The Eagles. Joe Vadala (Joey & the Works) and I have some new music coming out in July with the band.

Thanks so much, Bob, for this interview and digging deep into my roots. I’ve always been a big fan of your writing, musical tastes, musical articles and passion for the arts! You are a big part of helping the arts and music scene on all counts and spreading the word with new talent and well-known artists.

Bob Makin has produced Makin Waves since 1988. Follow Makin Waves on Facebook and contact Bob at



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