Canonsburg man spends time making music and movies

April 1, 2013
Canonsburg Mayor David Rhome, left, stands with Tom DeJohn, center, and Chuck Corby, stars of the newly released independent film “The Mob Boss and the Soul Singer.” The film recently premiered at Hollywood Theater in Dormont.

Tom DeJohn of Canonsburg is neither a mob boss nor a soul singer but he stars in a recently released movie about them.

By day, the semi-retired DeJohn can be found driving a school bus for Canon-McMillan School District.

By night, 63-year-old Canonsburg native takes to the stage performing on guitar with the Chuck Corby and Quiet Storm Band that has been entertaining audiences in Southwest Pennsylvania for decades.

“We’ve been together since 1975,” said DeJohn, who along with Corby, the group’s lead singer, and keyboard player Walt Laughlin, star in the movie “The Mob Boss and the Soul Singer.”

The movie is about the band and a mob boss club owner played by Bruno Sammartino. It tells the story of a 40-year struggle of a working band with a lot of twists and turns.

Also appearing in the film is Debbie Rochon, an actress who has been in 200 plus films – mostly horror. In 2004, Rochon was inducted into the B-Movie Hall of Fame.

The film, which premiered earlier this month, was written, directed and produced by John Russo of “Night of the Living Dead” fame.

According to DeJohn, Russo, also of Clairton, has long followed Corby and the band. Over the years, he accumulated real-life stories and decided to put them into a movie.

Costing only $125,000 to produce, the movie was fully funded by Joe Tabasco, also of the Clairton area. In fact, Tabasco’s home was among the local sites where the movie was filmed.

DeJohn said while the band has been in several other movies, but he likes being the star.

“It was pretty exciting,” DeJohn said. “You know, it’s just like recording a song. You think you can sing but it’s hard when you really have to do it.”

It took some eight to nine years to finish, but it was well worth it, he said.

Canonsburg Mayor David Rhome attended the premiere at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont. He had been invited by DeJohn.

“We’ve been friends for a long time,” said Rhome. “The movie was very exciting.”

Corby and Quiet Storm have several movies to their credit. Russo also wrote and directed the first movie they were in, “Saloonatics,” in 2002. It also features Sammartino and Rochon.

“Saloonatics” is about Quiet Storm, a small town rock band playing for peanuts that gets mixed up with a ruthless gangster.

Corby and Quiet Storm have performed all over including in what DeJohn refers to as the “mob circuit,” from Atlantic City, to Florida, to nearby Youngstown, Ohio.

The band has worked for such acts as The O’Jays, The Spinners, The Drifters, George Benson, The Platters, Jimmy Ruffin, Gary Puckett, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Chiffons and Chubby Checker.

According to DeJohn, “The Mob Boss and the Soul Singer” is currently available for $15. It can be purchased off of the band’s website or at one of the band’s performances.

Linda Metz has been with the Observer-Reporter since 2000, covering Washington County courts and politics, as well as the city of Washington. She previously was employed by the Tribune Review. She is a graduate of Point Park College, now a university, in Pittsburgh.

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