Oct. 10, 2006
Joe Cefalu was born in quiet suburbia on Long Island, New York. When he was 11, however, his family moved to the mean streets of Brooklyn, and into an apartment above a nightclub owned and operated by the mob. Cefalu witnessed many strange and interesting sights from his second story bedroom window—such as bar fights that spilled onto the sidewalk, brazen gun play, and random beatings. One night, his older sister and mother were accidentally dragged into a street brawl while returning home, and Cefalu awoke to find his father hanging out the front window with a 12-gauge shotgun threatening to “send them all to hell,” if the punks didn't lay off his wife and daughter. Needless to say, the terrified pre-teen became a shut-in, passing endless days locked in his bedroom listening to music, reading science fiction, and, eventually, teaching himself to play guitar. His guitar heroes were David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Brian May, Jimmy Page, Neal Schon, and Alex Lifeson.
Cefalu spent his formative years practicing, playing gigs, and hanging around New York City recording studios. After recording a few tunes while in his early 20s, Cefalu was featured in Guitar Player's Spotlight Column. He has also appeared in Guitar FTPM and Guitar Shop, and was included on a Guitar World compilation CD.
As a guitar instructor, Cefalu averages about 40 students per week, and has been tapped by various guitar publications to evaluate and review music gear, write guitar transcriptions, do interviews, and pen instructional columns. Cefalu currently lives in the beautiful city of Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two young sons. He feels extremely grateful to be able to earn his living with a guitar in his hands.