The Music & Sound Retailer: Who was your greatest influence or mentor and why?
Joe Castronovo: My father taught me to have integrity and to be honest! Your word is your bond. You never can go wrong with the truth. My high-school wrestling coach taught me determination and the attitude to never give up.
The Retailer: What was the best advice you ever received?
Castronovo: Listen more and talk less.
The Retailer: What was your first experience with a musical instrument?
Castronovo: My parents bought a portable Farfisa organ in the 1960s.
The Retailer: What instrument do you most enjoy playing?
Castronovo: I don’t play, but love both the guitar and piano.
The Retailer: Tell us something about yourself that others do not know or would be surprised to learn.
Castronovo: I love to cook.
The Retailer: What’s your favorite activity to do when you’re not at work?
Castronovo: Wow, that is tough one. Golf, woodworking and gardening.
The Retailer: What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
Castronovo: Very hard to name, but early on, the most impactful was seeing Bruce Springsteen in 1975 in Boston’s Symphony Hall. Small venue.
The Retailer: If you could see any musician, alive or deceased, play a concert for one night, who would it be and why?
Castronovo: Another tough one. Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan.
The Retailer: What song was most memorable for you throughout your childhood, and what do you remember about it the most?
Castronovo: “American Pie” by Don McLean. Listening to AM radio on family car trips, it seemed like it was the only song that played.
The Retailer: What are your favorite songs on your smartphone/iPod?
Castronovo: “Stairway to Heaven,” and any Neil Young or James Taylor song.
The Retailer: What’s the most fun thing you saw/did at a NAMM Show?
Castronovo: NAMM shows are mostly business and entertaining both suppliers and retailers. The most fun I have is seeing all the people that are part of our industry. The show floor never surprises me.
The Retailer: If you had to select three people, past or present, to have dinner with, who would they be and what would you ask them?
Castronovo: It would just be Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. I don’t think that I could ask them a meaningful question. I would let them speak about their vision for the future of America. It’s interesting to note that many of the issues we have today in the political arena were similar to what they experienced in their times as well.
The Retailer: Tell us about your most memorable experience with an MI retailer (without naming them).
Castronovo: Generally speaking, the camaraderie with MI dealers is great! Dealer visits, golf games [and] dinners all contribute to the great memories and times I’ve had within the industry. But participating in the NAMM Educational Days of Service with local schools and seeing the impact you can have on them is priceless.
The Retailer: What is the best thing about the MI industry?
Castronovo: Passion of everyone connected for making music.
The Retailer: Who do you admire most outside of the music industry and why?
Castronovo: Steve Jobs, visionary.
The Retailer: What technology could change MI down the road?
Castronovo: The industry has been so resilient that any “new” thing would have minimal impact.
The Retailer: If you weren’t in the music industry, what would you be doing and why?
Castronovo: I would have loved to have worked at either a university or in professional-level coaching, with a progression into management. It would be an opportunity to have an impact on both myself and on the people I coach. It’s similar, but I think there is more intensity in that space.
The Retailer: Tell us about your hometown and why you enjoy living there.
Castronovo: Long Island, N.Y., has great school systems, and I live in close vicinity to a major city (New York City), the Atlantic Ocean and all sorts of outdoor activities.
The Retailer: What are your most prized possession(s) and why?
Castronovo: Pictures and memories of my family and friends, both here now and those who have passed.
The Retailer: What’s your favorite book and why?
Castronovo: “Undaunted Courage” by Stephen Ambrose. A great book written by a great historian about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. How can you not be floored by their courage for adventure?