Jocko Marcellino, now in his fifth decade with Sha Na Na, was the first to walk onstage “greased and ready to rock ‘n’ roll” in 1969. That same year, at age 19, he appeared with the group at The Woodstock Festival. He said he holds the distinction of performing in both the most successful music documentary ever, “Woodstock,” and the most successful musical film ever, “Grease.”
Juggling his schedule around his touring, Jocko earned both a B.A. from Columbia and a Masters in Drama from New York University.
When not with Sha Na Na, Jocko is an actor, producer and a songwriter. His acting credits include TV’s “Veronica Mars,” “NYPD Blue,” “Ally McBeal,” “The Tiger Woods Story,” “Herman’s Head,” “Good Advice,” ”18 Wheels of Justice,” “The Invisible Man,” “Amazing Stories,” and the “Gary Shandling Show,” and the motion pictures “Rainman,” “National Security,” and “Hot To Trot.”
He has written and performed songs for the films “Rainman,” “That’s Life,” and “The Night Of The Comet.” He has also written songs for the TV shows “The Office,” “Terriers,” “Castle,” “Kath & Kim,” and “Parks and Recreation.”
Jocko was born in Quincy, Mass. and toured New England with his high school band, The Pilgrims.
What brought you to La Jolla?
My wife had a great job opportunity. We had never been to La Jolla. After several visits, we fell in with this beautiful village. That was 15 years ago.
What makes this area special to you?
It’s the constant mild climate and the stunning ocean views. After living in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles, I find San Diego to be a very accessible city, close to the arts and the airport.
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?
Close off Prospect and make it a walking shopping and restaurant area.
Who or what inspires you?
Good music, a good book, a good film, good pasta. Anyone who can cut through the current polarized political landscape to get anything done. Physically challenged people who live full lives without complaint.
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Warren Buffett, Babe Marcellino (my father), Stuart Wilde, Meryl Streep, my wife Nicki, and my son Chris.
Now if it were a dinner with an available house band, the list would be the following: John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Diana Krall, Eric Clapton, Pavarotti, Nat King Cole and Miles Davis.
Tell us about what you are currently reading
“Forgetfulness” by Ward Just, a novel dealing with terrorism, revenge and the struggle to make sense of a violent world.
What is your most-prized possession?
My espresso machine.
What do you do for fun?
I play and listen to music. I walk my dog in the village.
Please describe your greatest accomplishment.
Creating and performing music. Maintaining my touring band for over 40 years.
What is your motto or philosophy of life?
Carpe diem...let’s rock!