From t-shirts to touring: Jon-Erik Pantorno’s rise to Dr. Acula’s lead singer

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Jon-Erik Pantorno.

Dr. Acula, a deathcore band formed in Long Island, N.Y., is not your traditional metal band. With a name derived from a joke from comedian Mitch Hedberg and songs based on Goosebumps books, it makes sense that one of their earliest singers didn’t take the traditional route to joining the band.

Jon-Erik Pantorno, a native of Howard Beach, Queens, didn’t audition for his role in the band. Instead, he worked his way up from selling merchandise for Dr. Acula after hitting it off with the band members while on tour with a friend.

“I wanted to go on a trip so I said sure I’ll sell merch for [my friend’s band],” Pantorno said. “We met Dr. Acula and they asked me to come on tour with them to do merch, and that’s how that started.” Continue reading

Bloodline guitarist Kris Wong leaving his mark on Berklee and metal music

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Eastchester, N.Y. is a quiet, suburban town known for its schools, its family-friendly atmosphere and their golf courses. So it may be surprising that one of the impressive recent graduates of Eastchester High School is a music student – studying heavy metal.

Kris Wong is a junior at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. where he is studying and working on perfecting his craft of guitar playing, a hobby he picked up around the age of 12 after learning the violin.

“The violin is so black and white, and as a kid you’re given this music and you play it exactly as it’s written,” Wong said. “I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to write songs. I felt guitar was the purest form of expression.”

Now at Berklee, Wong has studied guitar under some prominent figures in the music industry, and the experience has been “a dream come true.” At school, he has run into John Petrucci from Dream Theater and legendary bassist Victor Wooten, and has also helped form a progressive metal band, Juno Descent. Continue reading