JJ Savage (born as Joey Pettinato) started performing around his hometown of Albany, New York when he was just 12 years old. Music was literally a lifeline for him. Mercilessly bullied due to developing Tourette Syndrome, Savage left public school after the sixth grade to be home schooled. It was while taking guitar lessons at ten years old that his family noticed his symptoms evaporated while he played.
“I couldn’t put the guitar down,” says Savage. “I remember playing for hours.”
He recorded his first song at just 13 years old—not surprisingly an anti-bullying message entitled “We Are the Brave”—and distributed it for free. While attending a National Association of Music Merchants convention in Anaheim, California, his impromptu jamming at various manufacturer booths brought him several product-endorsement offers—including one from Gibson Guitars.
On January 25, 2019, Guardians of Guitar founder Michael Molenda and Leighsa Montrose presented Savage with the Ronnie Montrose Rock the Nation Award, which salutes young guitar talent. In March 2019, his latest single, “Junkyard Dogs,” caught the attention of Molenda and Mi5 Recordings president Ted Mason, who signed the now 19-year-old guitarist and songwriter to a distribution deal.
Michael Molenda, the executive producer of JJ Savage release was the Editor and Chief of Guitar Player Magazine from. October 1997-June 2018. In 2018 Michael created Guardians of Guitar which is distributed as a label with Mi5 Recordings. Guardians of Guitar is a label set up to release guitar oriented albums and singles.
Michael also created many live events and programs that helped young and well known guitarists such as Guitar Player’s Guitar Superstar Competition, Certified Legend Award, the Ronnie Montrose Rock the Nation Award for Young Guitarists, the revitalized Guitar Player Records (Mi5Recordings), and various book projects for Hal Leonard Corporation (The Guitar Player Book, Guitar Heroes of the ’70s, Carlos Santana, Clapton Beck Page), Founder of brand extensions, such as Rumble (for teen guitarists) and MC2 (a music technology publication).