Ken Cino was born on February 20th, 1969, and grew up in Suffolk County, Long Island. Ken is the youngest of three boys, and his childhood home was always full of music. He would often hear his brothers spinning records by The Who, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix. These musicians are what Ken considers some of his greatest musical influencers, but his first love was of course, The Beatles.
The first time Ken heard Billy Joel was when his mother purchased him “The Stranger” album as a Christmas present. Ken remembers listening to this great album front to back in his childhood living room. He never imagined he would eventually be in a band with the members who recorded and performed these legendary songs.
One day, Ken’s mother dragged her reluctant son to a friend’s house to socialize with the other children. Little did Ken know that his mother’s friend gave birth to a famous rock and roll drummer. Yes, you guessed it! That woman was Liberty DeVitto’s mom, and Ken would have never bet he would be sharing the stage with this Hall of Famer.
Ken always wanted to be a drummer after hearing Liberty DeVitto play, but his family members chipped in, and bought him an acoustic guitar for his 13th Birthday. This was the early 1980s, and it was an incredible time to fall in love and perfect this new instrument of his. By the 1990s, Ken began playing in local bands, and scouting for young talent. It was at this time when Ken met a young piano player who sounded just like Billy Joel. That piano player is Long Island’s famous, Mike DelGuidice.
In 2000, Mike asked Ken to play in his Billy Joel cover band, Big Shot. Ken was excited to join such a great band, and to have the opportunity to play with the legends, Richie Cannata and Liberty DeVitto, on many occasions. Ken was thrilled when Richie asked him to play electric guitar on stage at the 2014 Long Island Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Up on the stage that night, Ken felt honored to be a part of the experience, and remembers taking the time to admire the other musicians and their chemistry on stage together. He credits that moment as a focal point in his life. He was happy to play with his idols, and is now blessed to share the stage with them over and over again.
Still to this day, Ken considers “The Stranger” to be his favorite Billy Joel song, and enjoys soloing and performing this song live with the musicians who helped create it.
Ken’s response when asked how he feels to be a part of this great band is simply, “I am very proud to be a Lord!”