With Brick Roots, 'Shorty Long' Is a Huge Inspiration

Party band is a consistent local favorite

Ten years ago, John Kern harbored reservations about starting a party band with Ricky “Shorty Long” Tisch.

Kern enjoyed jamming with Tisch, but the fragile, wheelchair-bound keyboardist, who was born with a severe spinal condition and brittle bone disease, did not fit Kern’s idea of a crazy rock-and-roller.

“I wanted to be in a chick magnet band, though I probably would have been the ugliest guy in the band,” the amiable bassist-vocalist said in a recent interview.

“But we started joking around and never stopped and we formed the band and named it after him," said Kern of Tisch, a 1995 graduate of Brick Memorial High School.

A decade later, Shorty Long & The Jersey Horns have entertained thousands of club goers in Ocean County and beyond, winning over a legion of fans with dynamic, high-energy performances featuring the band’s inspirational, 3-foot-tall namesake.

The band still calls the Shore area its home base, with weekly shows in Seaside Heights and regular performances in many nearby communities.

From the outset, Kern said that rather than worry about his disability, Tisch and the band embraced it. Known as the Jersey Horns’ “Party Master,” Tisch has played keyboards dressed as Santa Claus, a leprechaun and Rocky, making his grand entrance onstage using various power-wheeled vehicles and modified wheelchairs.

The result, Kern said, is a band that gives club patrons a full entertainment experience to remember, as opposed to being faceless musicians simply providing background music.

Shorty sings and raps. He works the stage and works the crowd,” Kern said. “We want to give the fans the best entertainment experience and win the crowd over so that everybody who comes to see this band walks away wanting to see us again.”

Kern said Tisch has served as an inspiration to band and fans alike. He was born with spina bifida, a birth defect in which the bones of the spine do not form properly. Tisch also suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, which leaves bones extremely fragile.

The disease stunted Tisch’s growth and weakened his body, but not his spirit, Kern said.

“He really is one of the most courageous and talented people I’ve ever met,” he said. “You’ve got to hear him on the keyboards.

While Tisch’s showmanship has played a large part in the band’s success, Shorty Long & The Jersey Horns is not a novelty act. They are a group of seasoned musicians who can play anything from current pop hits by Carly Rae Jepsen to classics by The Commodores and Prince, to Van Halen and Metallica. The band also has a stockpile of about 30 original songs and plays three to four in each set.

For example, a comedic tribute to Atlantic City, "The Jitney Hit Me," is a crowd favorite.

The current lineup, together since 2007, is rounded out by singer Dee Farace, guitarist Mario Frasca, trumpeter/saxophonist Frank Benjamin, trombonist Neal Perkins, drummer John Hawes and percussionist Carl Stives.

“Playing with this band is the most fun I’ve ever had,” Farace said. “The band members are amazing, good-hearted guys. The audiences pick up on the vibe and are the same way, and everyone’s inspired by Shorty.”

In addition to playing shore hotspots, the band also performs at casinos, corporate events, weddings, fundraisers, birthday parties, and bar and bat mitzvahs.

“We’ll play any event, anytime, anywhere,” Kern said. “We promise it will be unforgettable. We like to say that people won’t remember the rubber chicken, they’ll remember Shorty Long, and that the event was epic.”


For more information: www.shortylongrocks.com


If You Go:

Aug. 17: Surf City Hotel, 800 Long Beach Boulevard, Surf City, $10, 609-494-7281 or http://surfcityhotel.com. 10 p.m.

Aug. 23: The Beachcomber, Boardwalk, Seaside Heights, 10 p.m.

Full schedule.

tgidlta August 17, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Ricky Tisch!!!!! Went through middle and some of High School with him. He was an inspiration even then. I have seen the band a few times on my sporadic visits back home and this article hits it on the head. Shorty Long ROCKS! Congrats from Texas Ricky on the marriage, the new baby on the way and all of your success.
Notbricktrash August 17, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Ricky tish is one of the nicest people I have ever met. I went to school with him, he's a great guy who always had a smile on his face. It's nice to see an article about him and his band. I wish them much luck and success!
So Much to Say August 17, 2012 at 04:47 PM
I've seen them dozens of times. ALWAYS A GREAT TIME!!!!!!
Joseph Woolston Brick August 17, 2012 at 09:17 PM
If there was ever a reality show that should be made, it should be about Rick Tish. He's been a figure in our area of Brick for a very long time and NOTHING gets him down. A show about him would be uplifting and inspirational.
TaterSalad September 01, 2012 at 11:15 PM
#1 in the box office and yet the liberal press doesn't mention this documentary that Barack Obama does not want you to watch. I wonder why? http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2012/09/01/Box-Office-Spet-1-2012


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