Story by Dick Hildebrand
Hall of Famer Nino Maniaci has been enmeshed in music for the past 40 years. As he tells it, he began taking lessons at the age of 15 while attending W.D.Lowe High school. “My parents, who had come to Canada from Italy, wanted me to take up the accordion,” recalls the Windsor native, “and I asked them if they wanted me to get killed in school, so I started with the guitar.” Eventually, he switched over to the bass and the rest...as the saying goes…is history. “I played in multiple bands over the years,” he says, “and I’m still on the bass.” His attitude is in the right place. As a financial adviser with Sun Life for the last 30 years, Nino is quite satisfied with his career and he treats music as a part-time gig…. “something to have fun with.” He’s pretty good at it too, having played with the likes of Rick Rock and Joe Konas. And, when he retires from his full time job in five years, he intends to deepen his involvement in music.
Trustworthy and dependable, Nino has only had one other job in his 55 years on the planet. He worked at the N and D Supermarket on Grand Marais from age 15 to 24, a job he got from his father who happened to be produce manager at the store. His band journey, however, is a different story. You could even call him a journeyman musician, having graced the stage with many bands, the latest being ‘The Mixx’, a group that grew out of ‘The Sellouts’ which had been disbanded. However, because of the number of gigs that had been booked, Nino was more or less forced to create a new group so “about 2 years ago we recruited a number of people from different bands and after undergoing plenty of changes, we ended up with the strong foursome we have today.” In fact, the players come with impressive credentials. Nino, who was inducted into the Windsor Musicians’ Hall of Fame in 2015 is on bass.
Lead vocalist Michele Moro comes armed with a degree in music and has written some original material over the years. She runs the Vintner’s Cellar on Manning Road in Tecumseh. Jay Barrette, with more than 20 years of band experience is on drums and contributes to the vocals. He’s an automation estimator at Select Tool, while Jim Kickham, a chemist with a Phd, handles guitar duties, both lead and rhythm. Four talented people putting out a remarkably huge sound. Incidentally, Nino is still a member of ‘The Source’, another popular combo in the area, so he’s on stage at least 6 or 7 nights a month.
‘The Mixx’ title is certainly no accident. The repertoire includes everything from classic rock, new country, new Top 40 and 70s and 80s pop hits. As Nino quips, “we do everything from Led Zeppelin to Taylor Swift, and Bruno Mars to Black Sabbath.” The band often plays at Average Joes on Lauzon Road and has made frequent appearances at Goodtime Charly’s on Tecumseh East and the Rockstar on Central Avenue. During the summer months, ‘The Mixx’ can often be heard at various campgrounds like Rochester Place near St. Joachim and Klondike Park in Grand Bend, at backyard barbecues and pig roasts and weddings and corporate parties. “Our song list is so huge,” says Nino “that we can adapt to almost any situation.” The band is hoping to play some festivals this summer, and Nino is in the process of making the necessary contacts.
More information on ‘The Mixx’, including regularly update schedules can be found on Facebook or feel free to call Nino at 519-965-6081. He welcomes inquiries.
The group continues to attract a growing fan base because of its wide musical range. If you want your next night out to include high-energy, fine, danceable music and just plain fun, you certainly can’t go wrong with ‘The Mixx’.