Frank Amato was born in Cleveland OH on February 19, 1955 to Frank and Jeanette Amato. Frank Sr. was a recording artist, fireman and real estate broker and Jeanette was a successful real estate agent. It was the Amatos sense of duty, business and love of music that would formulate the future of their oldest of 3 sons, Frank Jr.
Frank was a good athlete and a good student, so it was a quandary that he just didn’t like school. In fact, St. Joe’s asked “politely” that Frank not return in his senior year because he was “wasting his parent’s money.” That suited Frank just fine…he didn’t like the uniform anyway. What he did like, however, was rock and roll.
Frank was famous for cutting class to sneak into Coffee Break Concerts, and once, even climbed through a bathroom window to slink into a Bruce Springsteen concert. He spent all of his free time in record stores, listening to the radio and driving his parents crazy blasting his stereo while he sang along. He knew that one day he would be the one that the kids would creep to see.
Frank’s first band was “Liberty,” a group of his high school buddies who did rock and roll cover tunes. It proved to be a great training ground for Frank to develop his considerable vocal skills. His parents gladly allowed the kids to rehearse in their basement. (Of course the band thought it was great to have a place to play; little did Frank know that his mother wanted to keep an eye on her Rock-Star-In-The-Making.) His dad was very proud of his son wanting to follow in his musical footsteps. It just seemed natural that Frank would want to be a performer, so both of his parents were supportive from the start.
In the late 70’s, Frank formed an original rock band, called “Thrills ‘N Company.” The band was truly unique for its time, having members of various races and creating rock/funk fusion…a mixing of two totally different musical styles. Some of the members went on to greatness: Neil Geraldo, currently guitarist and husband of Pat Benatar, Gary Jones who is currently a music attorney in Cleveland, Rodney Psyka who played with Jonah Koslin and Breathless, and now plays with the Michael Stanley Band. Thrills ‘N Company actually had a professional manager in Victor Perotti, who became one of the record industry’s stand-outs, VP of Promotions for United Artists and Polygram Records.
It was at this time that Frank made the acquaintance of drummer Tommy Amato, no relation, through his friend, Neil. Neil was in a band with Tommy: “Lover’s Lane.” Having the Cleveland Rock scene in common, the 3 became quick friends, hanging out at Hennessy’s, the Phantasy, the Cleveland Agora and other hot rock spots around Northeast Ohio. Tommy and Frank had the opportunity to perform together in a band called “Task Master,” and later with “Savoy Brown,” with legendary blues guitarist Kim Simmons.
As bands often do, Task Master was a revolving door of performers. Before Tommy Amato played drums for the band, the kit was employed by none other than current Kiss drummer, Eric Singer. Eric left when he was suffering marital problems and decided to move to California to seek fame and fortune. He did, and his friendship with Frank remains to this day. Tommy, too vacated the drummer position, opening up a chance for Cleveland drummer Jimmy Clarke to join the band. The one staple in the band besides Frank, was Mike McGill, guitar player. Things were going great until the band underwent some internal problems, and finally split.
Minus Frank, the remaining members of Task Master decided to regroup, adding Frank’s brother, Tom. Eric Carmen suggested that Frank sing with Tom, so Frank jumped back in. Frank introduced the guys to their future keyboardist, Dennis Lewin, and “Beau Coup” was born. The band was actually formed as a recording project at Agency Recording, upstairs from the legendary “Old Agora,” where Frank was working as a recording engineer, but the chemistry was overwhelmingly apparent, so they hit the stage.
Beau Coup enjoyed success in the early 80’s, again plugging in various players here and there, with the constants being the Amato Brothers (Kid Leo of WMMS used to call them “The Sinatra Brothers,”) Lewin, and Bill March on bass. After drummer Jimmy Clarke left, he was replaced by Don Krueger. The guitar position saw the most action: first Mike McGill, then at least a dozen others until Billy Sullivan, of Gary Lewis and the Playboys, became the most regular man at that post.
They played concerts, festivals, and other shows, got airplay support from local radio (WGCL even hired them to do their jingles!) and had Jeff and Flash of WMMS open for them at The Front Row. Soon, Beau Coup was being played all over the country with their first single “Still in My Heart” boasting the most mentions by Gavin Magazine and the song “Sweet Rachel” charting on Billboard’s Hot 100. The band also redid their “Born and Raised on Rock and Roll” to support the Cardiac Kids: “Born and Raised on Cleveland Browns,” to this day is a cult favorite.
Meanwhile, Frank continued various recording projects, working in studios in Cleveland and Detroit and even got a part time job with his cousin at a waterbed store. It was at the store, during a WMMS promotion, that Frank met his future wife, then Buzzard personality, Lisa Dillon. It was a rock and roll romance, to be sure, and the couple got married after 2 years in 1992.
Currently, Frank fronts Beau Coup for various special events and concerts, owns and operates Amalon Entertainment, manages and produces upcoming talent, works as a freelance audio engineer, appears with his wife in “The Best Damn Karaoke Show Ever” 5 times a week. As if this isn’t enough, Frank is developing a new TV Series called “Axe to Grind” that should be on the air in 2009.
Frank and Lisa have 4 children and live in Mayfield Heights.
Frank Amato Bio