Story of 'Jukebox' Pasterczyk:
Irvington's Singing Police Officer
30 years ago in the ironbound section of Newark, a six-year-old
boy fell under the spell that was to last his lifetime. Smitten
by the siren of song, Edward W. Pasterczyk devoted his time to
singing along with rock 'n roll records, the just emerging American
phenomenon. He learned lyrics and practiced the melodies. His
passion for pop music earned him the nickname 'Jukebox'.
Still steeped in pop culture, Jukebox is a well-known personality in Mayfair's
Irvington Store (61), where he has been a part-time uniformed security
officer since May 1981. "Whatever the fad or the current craze,
I get involved," says Jukebox. His interest has kept him ageless
in spirit. He says, "I can have as much fun with a person 65, listening
to Glenn Miller, as with someone 10 years old, who has just discovered
The Early Years
During his years in the Newark School system, Jukebox learned to survive
without fighting. "I found out that music was the happy medium," he
says. It became his universal language. Through it, he communicated peaceably. "Music
has no racial or financial limitations," he asserts.
One day in 1961 Jukebox was vocalising on a street corner with an informal
group. Tommy Falcone, a New York record producer, caught in a traffic
jam, stopped to listen. He gave the boys his business card, and they
went to see him in Hazlet. "He gave us our start." says Jukebox.
At ages 16 and 17, under the name 'The Reminiscents', the boys had a
hit record called 'For Your Love'. The group toured the country giving
When they separated after high school graduation, several members joined
other name pop groups. One worked with The Critters, another with The
Association. Now one is with The Four Seasons and one with Frank Zappa.
Jukebox teamed up with The Four J's. Their song 'Here I Am Brokenhearted'
was a hit on Jamie Records. With another group he recorded a comedy album
'Buck and Box - Live At The Men's Room'.
During his musical career, Jukebox appeared on Steve Allen and Merv Griffin
Shows. He worked with Sammy Davis Jr., Soupy sales and The Temptations.
On the West Coast he was part of the KRLA Cavalcade of Stars with The
Beach Boys. He worked with local groups in California and partied with
Jan and Dean. "Finally", says Jukebox, he "had to face
reality and come back to New Jersey to work."
In 1972 Jukebox passed the civil service exam and joined Irvington Police
Department. The nonviolent philosophy he developed at high school is
the key to his style as a police officer. He is a peacemaker. He has
smoothed disturbances, he says, with patience, quiet conversation and
respect for humanity.
A year ago ~Jukebox began moonlighting with Foodtown. Joe Spina, acting security
supervisor in Division II, says Jukebox is "a personable guy. He
has many friends."
Jukebox says, "My average day is 16 hours, 7 days a week. My first married
year I had one day off. My wife never complained."
Jukebox met his wife Debra Lee when he was on duty in Irvington Center. While
he was directing traffic, she was stopping it. Debra holds ten beauty
titles. To earn her degree in classical music, she had to sing in four
languages. She teaches music at Jackson Academy in East Orange. Her formal
training and polish keep me going," says Jukebox. Her constructive
criticism of his music, he says, "pushes me to go out there and
On September 2, 1982, their first child, Veronica Pasterczyk, was born.
Jukebox sings lead on his latest effort, a 12-inch disco record called 'Chill
Out Girl'. Just released (1983?) on the Golly label, the studio project
required nine musicians, three background singers and a female vocalist.
The group is named 'Raheem, Jukebox and Splice Incorporated. Jukebox
says the group "took ethnic terms and put them onto a danceable
Benefit shows are planned in conjunction with the record's release. Jukebox
is scheduled to perform in October with Connie Francis, Imus and other
celebrities. Charity appearances are part of the Jukebox way of life. "It
gives me a good feeling because those people truly appreciate our shows," he
says. Flamboyant in his custom-made, three-piece, gold lame suit, Jukebox
is known for his work as an emcee. Even though he has played a saxophone
and base, Jukebox considers himself "strictly a front man."
On 'Chill Out Girl' he says, "The pieces just fell into place on this
project." Since Jukebox did the musical arranging, he says, "Hopefully,
the song will take off and give me some credence for writing, arranging and
He does not, however, foresee a career as a top singer for himself. "I
hear a lot of talent I feel is more gifted than I am." he admits. To
contribute to the career successes of those people, he plans to attend Kean
College for the formal training he needs to write arrangements for other
The artist he would most like to write for is Barbara Streisand. "For
a laid-back performer with a spotlight and a microphone," he says he
admires Sinatra or Tony Bennett. His favorite group is The Miracles.
Able to appreciate all music, from gospel to classical, Jukebox particularly
enjoys the voice of Luciano Pavarotti. His fantasy is to see Pavarotti
record "a piece the kids could relate to. A song like 'More', 'I
Believe', or 'I'm In The Mood For Love'," he suggests, would be
the medium to expose young people to sophisticated technique.
Jukebox has a generous heart that beats in harmony with the pulse of the
American people. He loves pop music because it is an expression of life
from the melting pot. He wants to return this gift with an exchange of
music. "I am looking to open that door to musical connections," he
says. With just one break he could do it.
Jukebox. An American classic.