Phil Facchini’s rock and roll odyssey

July 17 — EDITOR’S NOTE – The finale of a five-part series about Albany rock and roll guitarist Phil Facchini, who throughout his career has faced, been part of, and endured the harsh realities of rock and roll life.

ALBANY – Those who choose music as a career are, in general, a bit short-lived. In the world of rock music, multiply that by a few billion.

Phil Facchini is the epitome of the rock lifestyle.

Since playing his first professional concert at the age of 10, Facchini has performed in some 17 groups (and more), nothing more than the over ten-year musical relationship he has forged with his friends. childhood, his native Michigan compatriots Nathan and Dave Heabler. In fact, some of the bands Facchini played with imploded before they even started, and some were just passing memories.

Yet the Facchini warriors continue.

Right now he’s kind of using his brilliant guitar strokes with the Kentucky band U-Turn. A mutual friend reunited Facchini with the U-Turn boys when they parted ways with their lead guitarist, and the fit seemed perfect at first.

“He fit in so well with what we were doing; we were delighted to find someone who could step in,” band leader Jamie Todd said in a radio interview after Facchini premiered. times for the group and got him out of the park. “He could help us take it to the next level.

But, with only two U-Turn concerts to his name, Facchini’s future with the band is tenuous at best.

“It’s frankly unstable right now with U-Turn,” said the guitarist, who has given well-received solo concerts in the area in recent weeks. “(The band structure) was sold to me as more than it was. I’m coming over there to play with the band, and it was a far cry from the rock star lifestyle that I was like. accustomed to living with a group.

“They do a good job at that level, but the last show we did, I’m getting there and some of the band members are in these Izod-type shirts that just aren’t rock and roll. And the The gig. was a nightmare. We didn’t really get paid, and I took half a day off Thursday and all day Friday to go do the show. And I had to drive all the way to Kentucky. “

Facchini’s confession makes the fact that Todd did not respond to messages seeking comment for this article seem ominous in regards to Facchini’s future with U-Turn.

“I agreed to stay with them,” Facchini said. “They wanted me to play another gig with them, but I told them to get their old guitar player back. They texted me afterwards and said the gig went well, but that they wanted to continue with both of us. I told them we could try it out to see how it goes. “

Meanwhile, Facchini and a few regulars in the Albany music scene got together and jam a few times, a promising start for a band they called The Trimm. But domestic problems seem to have erased this project before it had the chance to get started.

“I talked and played with another couple of my friends,” Facchini said. “We can start a project. “

Regardless of which band he played with, the guitarist didn’t regain the longevity he had when he and the Heablers played as the Black Fire Band and in projects like Cookie Monster.

“It was all so organic with us,” Nathan Heabler said in a phone interview. “The fact that we ended up living next to each other after moving to Albany from Michigan was so strange. But music was something we bonded over. We were like every other kid in it. that way we rode BMX bikes, climbed water towers, jumped in rivers … crazy boy stuff. But unlike other kids, we had music, and even at 9, 10, 11 , we took it very seriously.

Heabler, now a financial analyst who only plays occasionally, confirms that Facchini’s troubled family life was painful to watch.

“This guy had a fucked up life,” he said. “To be honest I’m surprised he’s still alive. But we were brothers in the truest sense; he practically lived with my family. And you could see when that switch clicked for him with the guitar. guy is 12, and he was playing stuff that Randy Rhoades and Eddie Van Halen play.

“And since we played together for about 15 years before we went our separate ways, there were times when, let’s just say, things weren’t that cool. But right now, yeah, we’re really cool.”

People say that the true genius is eccentric, that individuals with a singular gift often find it difficult to relate to others who do not understand the intricacies of that gift. Heabler suggests that his childhood friend sometimes has a problem with others who don’t understand – don’t understand – music like Facchini does. It then becomes revealing that out of a list of people that Facchini provided contacts to interview for this series, only Heabler and one other responded to requests. The other person? His promised comeback call never came.

However, if you spend more than a few minutes talking with Facchini, you get the impression of a man who was marked by life, but who resisted the scars with the help of his only true friend: that of his. many six-strings he has with him at all times.

“Dude, I was playing this (solo) gig at Pretoria Fields a while back, and it made me happy,” Facchini said. “Seeing the reactions of people in the audience was just overwhelming. Come to think of it, it was like I was sitting in a recliner, watching the best movie ever made.”

Corina C. Butler

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