When Joe Cimino was a teenager, all that he (and most young guys his age) wanted to do was be in a band. So at 16, he picked up a guitar and began his musical career with a few friends from high school.
Decades later, Cimino, front man of 1960s/1970s R&B band “Finish This,” and his friends are still rocking out. What began 40 years ago as five guys playing music together is now an 11-piece juxtaposition of old friends and members from other bands that have fallen by the wayside over the years.
“We’re just a bunch of guys who all have jobs and love playing music,” said Cimino, who works in the Weehawken Parks Department as his full-time gig. “We never stop; we just keep going and going.”
“If you like to get up and dance, we’re the band.” – Joe Cimino
All of the guys who make up Finish This have known each other since high school, some have even been together since grammar school, Cimino said.
In 1985 they were the first band to host a rock n’ roll show at the Mayfair Theatre in West New York. Later, they became the house band for WCBS FM.
And while the ’80s were filled with the excitement of the pursuit of the rock star dreams, it’s actually more recently that the band has hit its stride. During their shows the microphones open up and everyone is invited up on stage to sing, which has led to their reputation as a rockin’ band promising a good show and a fun time to grow.
“If you like to get up and dance, we’re the band,” said Cimino. “We never do the same show in the same way twice. It just all depends [how we] feel.”
After decades in the music game, the public venues are now seeking them out and private shows are booked weeks in advance.
“People are just coming out and wanting to have a good time and get away from everything,” said Cimino. “We’re booked almost every single weekend; it’s wild. I wish this would’ve happened 30 years ago.”
Although they may not have hit the dreams of fame and worldwide stardom standard for every musician, Cimino said they’re just happy to be able to still play together and have a good time.
“We’re into it for the love of music,” he said.
Rock with roots
As Cimino and his bandmates ride high on the glory of still being able to play music together, he and his wife Cindy (who was also in a band once upon a time) have been passing on their love of music on to their kids.
Both of their sons play guitar and one is in the process of putting out his second CD.
“They know everything that we’re doing,” said Cimino. “They were born into it.”
Their other son, a history major, has been helping to do the history of townships in Hudson County – a perfect job befitting the son of two of the oldest families in Hudson County.
Cindy Cimino (nee Dally) and her family were recognized last year as the family with the oldest roots in Weehawken, tracing their existence in the township back to 1840.
Though “unofficial,” Joe’s roots in West New York go back just as far.
Fundraising for a friend
The band recently provided the musical entertainment on Saturday, Aug. 20, for a fundraiser benefitting a Weehawken resident battling breast cancer. 100 percent of the proceeds benefited Margaret “Rovito” Hernandez.
Rovito’s brother is the person who gave the band their first booking at Gennaro’s in the Shades section of Weehawken many years ago.
For more information, visit margaretsbenefit.org or contact Joe Rovito at (201) 388-1956.
Lana Rose Diaz can be reached at or firstname.lastname@example.org.