Jason Santos is a busy man, but that’s nothing new.
Mr. Santos, who has been around the Northeast Pennsylvania music scene since he was a child, will be everywhere this fall.
He’s got gigs with his band, The Alpha Betas, an ’80s party group. He’ll perform with the Scranton-based Jay Orrell Band and he’ll even be on stage in the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre’s production of “Rock of Ages.”
Then, there’s the prep work for his regular winter group, Twelve Twenty-Four, a Trans-Siberian Orchestra tribute act. As if that isn’t enough, he’s working on branching out into a solo act.
It’s a packed schedule, but he’s used to it. Over the years, through his musical upbringing and professional career, he’s kept busy playing guitar and other instruments for several local groups.
Mr. Santos comes from a family with rich musical roots. His father, Rosendo E. Santos Jr., was named the Philippine Composer of the Century and was a popular music professor at Wilkes University for decades.
“Back in the day, we’d go to different places and church functions,” Mr. Santos recalled of times with his dad, who passed away in 1994. “My father would have us playing in different locations as a family. It makes me laugh when I see the movie about (Tejano singer) Selena (Quintanilla) and the father would put the family together (to play music).”
Like his siblings, Mr. Santos continues this passion for music. He hit the local club scene playing in bands like Flaxy Morgan and also helped create songs for Twelve Twenty-Four.
The creative bug bit, and Mr. Santos itched to try something new.
“I was doing the same thing for many, many years,“ he said.
Mr. Santos takes steps to do his own thing and works on his own music to develop a unique sound. This gives him the freedom to try new instruments and work in different styles than people are used to seeing him play. But, it also means trusting that his audience will appreciate something new.
“I get to be by myself,” he said. “I get to call the shots. There’s more to me than playing some of the music that I’ve been doing over and over again.”
Mr. Santos has spent recent months working on more of his own music and looks forward to showing off the new sound.
He looks forward to his other roles, too.
Being on the Little Theatre stage in “Rock of Ages” as a member of the musical’s rock band Arsenal will be refreshing. He also enjoys playing with The Alpha Betas and his fellow band members, Joe Whalen, Kevin Palmer and Frank Arcure.
Mr. Santos has a lot on his plate, but he’s been preparing for this for quite a while — since his father was setting up shows for the family.
“I like to feel that I’m doing well and following in his footsteps,” he said.