Playing more than 70 shows in a year will often catch the attention of the right people.
Max Muscato, through fundraising and promoting his Rock Autism Foundation, embraced almost every gig: solo bar gigs, shows with his father on percussion, full-band sets opening for the likes of Theory of a Deadman, and a memorable performance with his autistic brother Sonny at the inaugural Rock Autism Music Festival.
Muscato's work ethic forced the local music community - and beyond - to take note, with former Buffalo-area classmate Dawn Rzeznik, now a promoter for pop star Aaron Carter in Los Angeles, among the first to act.
In February, Muscato will embark on his first major tour as support for Carter, the former pop prodigy, younger brother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and native of Jamestown, NY. Rzeznik, cousin of Goo Goo Doll Johnny, kept tabs on Muscato's performances and officially reached out following the Williamsville native's gig before TOAD at Town Ballroom on July 13.
Muscato's eight-date tour leg with Carter begins Feb. 23 at Revolution on Long Island. See all the dates at the bottom of the story.
"I was very shocked at the reaction on social media - a lot of people were happy and proud," said Muscato, who will play solo on tour. "I never thought in a million years I'd be jamming with Aaron Carter."
When asked what he admires about Carter, Muscato focused on the musician's "experience, journey and persistence," as well as his rebound from the drug use that briefly derailed his career.
"People forget that [Carter] was a huge child star," Muscato said. "That changes you. He's been on the biggest stage in the world at one point."
Muscato will take his Rock Autism charity on the road, too, with two associates and a collection of merchandise in tow. Rock Autism has raised more than $20,000 and supports one of the nation's first all-in-one multimedia education programs for autistic individuals.
The program, a joint effort with O'Shei Children's Hospital and Squeaky Wheel Media, finished its first semester in December. The next goal for Rock Autism, Muscato says, is to open its own facility.
From a local standpoint, Muscato's next gig is as an opener for Finger Eleven at Men's Day at Holimont in Ellicottville on Feb. 1.
Max Muscato's tour leg with Aaron Carter
Feb. 23: Revolution in Long Island, NY.
Feb. 24: Toad's Place in New Haven, Conn.
Feb. 26: Moonshiners in Haverhill, Mass.
Feb. 27: Le Poisson Rouge in New York, NY.
March 1: Hard Rock Cafe in Pittsburgh, Pa.
March 2: Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Mich.
March 3: Rumba Cafe in Columbus, Ohio.
March 5: Elbo Room in Chicago, Ill.