National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum
605 East 222nd Street Euclid, OH 44123
Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA
A band leader can not make good music without good sidemen, and Lifetime Achievement
Winner, Frankie Spetich, had a great saxophone and clarinet player, his brother,
Johnny Spetich. Johnny played in the Spetich band from 1946 until he retired in 1994.
In fact, the last six years after developing a lung illness, Johnny played piano
in the Spetich Orchestra. Throughout the years with his brother Frankie, Johnny could
be heard vocalizing, playing sax, clarinet, bass, piano and drums. When full-time
drummer Frankie Zupec would play button box, Johnny would put down the sax and clarinet,
and slide behind the drums and play along. Johnny was featured along with the orchestra
as they made their way through the 1960's and 1970's at the polka hot spots in Ohio
and Pennsylvania, along with trips to Europe. They also were a favorite on "Polka
Varieties" and at the Slovene Center in Barberton, Ohio. Johnny also was a part of
over 20 recordings with his brother Frankie and the band and also composed lyrics
to a few songs including "Half and Half Polka". He was also the saxophone player
that many other polka bands wanted as a sub, but he didn't have the time to help
them out because of his commitment to his brother and his band. As the band slowed
down a bit, he enjoyed playing piano with the Magic City Button Box Showcase and
was featured in that role on their first LP in the 1980's. Johnny was a versatile
musician who also loved to play jazz and big band music, something that many polka
fans and promoters did not know. Johnny was never one who wanted to be in the spotlight.
He enjoyed being sideman for his brother and enjoyed the Cleveland-Style Polka for
almost 50 years on the bandstand.