East Meets West! Japanese bassist, Amito Hoshimo, Joins Forces With Vermont's Joey Leone

NEW YORK CITY – Let's meet Amito Hoshino, an up-and-coming bassist originally from Japan and now residing in New York City, is quickly becoming a go-to-bassist in the diverse and competitive music scene that is “the city that never sleeps.” And the word is spreading, as our friend and local bad-ass-axeman, Joey Leone, is now understanding and utilizing. But more on that later...

Article by Joe Milliken * Photos courtesy of Amito Hoshino

Born in Tokyo in 1995, Amito started playing bass at 14 and quickly channelled his influences – which include Billy Sheehan, Scott LaFaro, Jeff Andrews and the late-legend, Jaco Pastorius – into his craft, and by 17, was performing live before huge audiences in his native Japan. So, how did this young musician originally find his way to the almighty bass guitar? “At 14, I hadn't really found a direction in life yet,” Amito Hoshino said in a recent SRO interview.

“Then, one day I saw some people playing music on the street, and I thought that music would be a great thing to do, so I went to the music store and looked at the guitar. But then I thought, because so many people play guitar, there would be a much less chance of becoming famous. Then I looked at the bass. I had never heard about bass guitar and and didn't even know how it sounded... so I thought there would be a better chance to becoming famous on bass!”

Amito quickly developed his skills and played with a band called Burning Soul, as well as other Japanese solo artists including Satoshi Kawasaki, and Kouta Nakano. However, just a couple years after picking up the bass, Amito wanted more, and decided to move to New York City and follow his dream of studying and performing music amidst a larger and more diverse musical community.

“I wanted to learn many styles of music and work with others, so I decided to move to New York City, where I found the Collective School of Music,” Amito said. “The Collective School has many great programs, including Jazz, Latin, and Brazilian and I have learned a great deal there.”

Hoshino's talent and determination were clearly flourishing, as he started landing gigs and recording sessions in the highly competitive New York City market, performing and recording with such bands as Red Fusion, Grupo de Gatos, and Swedish guitarist, Christopher Amott of Arch Enemy. “I knew Chris' name for a long time, as he was really famous in Japan,” Amito added.

“One day he started teaching at The Collective School and we started playing and hanging together in the studio. Then, one day he asked me to join his tour, which was touring through twelve states in the U.S. and then going to Japan. Another band I played with, Red Fusion, is from Columbia and an Italian friend of mine, who also speaks Spanish, introduced me to them.”

Amito's rising talent and reputation culminated with a return to his homeland in 2015, performing with the band Armageddon at the Loud Park Festival, in front of 25,000 screaming metal fans at the Saitama Super Arena. “It was truly one of the best experiences of my life,” Amito exclaimed. “It was one year after I had come to the U.S., so it gave me a great opportunity to visit and play in my country.”

Most recently, Hoshino connected with the aforementioned Joey Leone, the blues-rockin' guitarist well-known throughout the Northeast with his band the Chop Shop. “I heard about his band and applied for the spot,” Amito said. “I talked to Joey a few times on the phone and then I took the audition in Vermont.”

"Amito is one of the most sensitive and special players I've ever seen in thirty years as a band leader... he has musician hands," Joey Leone said in a recent interview. "Amito is a true improviser, with a seemingly endless stream of ideas at his disposal at all times."

A year-long tour has now been booked and shows will cover twenty states, including casinos, state fairs and large outdoor concerts, as well as many city and state-sponsored concert events throughout the mid-west, upper mid-west and western United States. In more exciting news, Hoshino and Leone are also ready to begin recording a new CD together of original instrumental music titled East Meets West.

To learn more about the upcoming new CD and summer tour, visit Joey Leone's official website at www.joeyleone.com and Amito Hoshino's Facebook page. Amito is also endorsing the fretless, EEB Bass by Eastwood Guitars, featuring custom pick-ups by Kent Armstrong.