By Morgan Brizee
Standing on Pier 39 in front of the Hard Rock Cafe strumming the guitar and singing to one of Journey’s songs to strangers on a Saturday: This is what Jay Moini does on his free time.
Jay Moini is 26 years old and has met Paul McCartney, all of Iron Maiden, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, because of his love of music.
Moini can usually be seen strumming his guitar while he walks around campus.
He is also the founder of the Gamer’s Club and is passionate about making theme music for video games. While he was president of Gamer’s Club, they made the record for the most club day wins in a row. His passion has even inspired staff to start playing with their video games.
“Jay’s enthusiasm for gaming and gatherings has actually inspired me to go out with friends more often and hook up my PS3 again and play games,” said Greg Johns, LPC instructional Computer Lab specialist.
Moini has been playing the guitar for nine years but that is not the only instrument he knows. He can also play bass, drums, ukulele, guitalele and some harmonica, although guitar is his favorite. Sometimes you can see him playing his guitar, “Gypsy”, around campus.
“He plays his butt off! He has an incredible ear and ability to play many different styles,” said Ken Cefalo, an employee at Main Street Music Inc. in Tracy.
If he’s not playing his guitar or video games, he can be found reading. Moini has a love for history and if he doesn’t have a book that he is interested in, he’s reading articles online.
“Usually, I like to read the kinds of things, like history. Because the kind of music I like to do is I like to tell a story with that. And if I can incorporate something I have learned from history for a story for a song, then it works out,” Moini said.
Some might think that with his musical abilities, he would be arrogant. Friends say that’s not the case.
“He’s nothing like that at all. He’s very humble,” said Ian Jones , LPC Express copy editor.
Moini’s humility comes from experience playing on the road for others and practicing to get better as a musician.
Moini was in a band eight years ago called Jokers Die Last with some of his high school friends. They performed in San Francisco, at the Shoreline and at colleges throughout California.
One of Moini’s favorite memories during the band’s college tour was stopping at rest areas and playing to people coming and going.
“We would stop at the rest stops and get our set up all set up and play for people at the rest stop and that kind of got us attention,” said Moini.
Upon graduation, Moini and his bandmates went their separate ways. After the band broke up, Moini was able to record as a solo act.
Moini got contracts with Halo Custom Guitars in Cupertino, California, and Dark Sky Records until they closed. Now he is signing with Sunny and the Black Pack.
“I think Jay is strong-willed and determined to get the things out of life that he wants. When he sets his mind on something he usually finds a way to achieve his goals, and does so with all of his heart,” said Jason Northum, an employee at Main Street Music Inc. in Tracy.
Moini is constantly working on getting better with his vocals and guitar performance. When he’s not taking classes at LPC, he’s out in Livermore or San Francisco practicing in front of strangers.
He has made a lot of his money from playing on the streets in his free time.
In a one-day sitting, he made about $500 in Sacramento from just his voice and the strumming of his guitar strings.
“All of my books this semester were paid for by going out to the city or going to downtown Livermore and getting money,” said Moini.
His favorite spot to play in Livermore is Panama Red, where he makes an average of $30 for four hours of playing. When he plays in San Francisco at his favorite spot, Fisherman’s Wharf he makes an average of $200 for eight hours of playing.
That’s how Moini is able to pay for textbooks and any extras he needs.
He also works at his family’s business, Rosie’s Day Care in Tracy to pay for the bills.
If he had to pick, “I guess the best place would be the senator’s office because all of the senators always ask me to play for them,” said Moini.
Moini has been asked to perform by the Peace and Social Justice Club at their Peace and Love Festival.
If you can’t make it, there’s a big chance, you will see him around campus strumming his guitar for fellow students.