BMHOF Class of 1995
Those who have seen Tony Scozzaro perform live, know why he is being inducted into the Buffalo Music Awards Hall of Fame. A true showman, his forceful handling of the guitar along with his quick runs and precise finger tapings are a sight to be seen.
Yet, beyond the flash is a serious musician who in 1982 was voted outstanding player of the year by faculty and students at the famed California guitar school, GIT.
"Being voted best player at GIT was the most rewarding thing in my career," said Scozzato. "There were people from all over the world there who voted."
Scozzaro credits GFF for raising his level of playing. "'That school is really what did it for me," he said. "You play guitar there like 10- 1 2 hours a day. I got five years better in one year."
The hint of a musical career began at age 8, when Scozzaro got his first guitar, which he recalls as "a piece of junk acoustic with steel strings." After his parents were convinced he really was interested in playing,
they bought him a Fender.
Throughout high school, Scozzaro was in a cover band, playing tunes by Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower, Cream and Deep Purple. Following graduation, he joined the "con- conventional work force," taking roofing jobs and a position at the Ford Plant. "It wasn't long before I realized I wasn't cut out for jobs like that," he said.
He earned an associates in art degree in classical guitar from Villa Maria College and then went on to GIT.
Scozzato now plays in two local bands, Anthracite and Rushour. With fellow Anthracite members Rodney Appleby, bass, and Gordv Rogers, drums, he plays rock, blues, fusion and jazz tunes. Joining him in
the jazz fusion band Rushour are Rick Fadate, bass, Paul Fadale, drums; and Jay Willis, keyboards.
In addition to the bands, Scozzaro gives private lessons. He currently has about 50 students. "I've taught some of the finest players in this area," he said. "And they've all been inspiring to me too."
Scozzaro has two releases, the 1992 solo release "No Brakes" and the 1994 Anthracite release "Psycogenic Fugue." Both were picked up by Audiofile Imports, an international distribution company.
His practice regime is simple - 2-3 hours a day of unfamiliar songs. "A lot of people sit down to practice and within a half hour they're just nodding," he said. "I try not to play things I already know."
For inspiration he listens to everything from Bach to local musicians Bobby Jones and Bobby Militello. He uses a Fender Telecaster hooked up to a Roland GRI guitar synthesizer hooked to a digitech Whammy 11 pedal to a Morley volume wah-wah pedal to a Rivera tube amp.
Since 1982 Scozzaro has been success, fully supporting his family (wife Trish and 4-year-old son Jake) through his guitar playing.
"I've never been totally preoccupied with being famous," he said. "It would be nice, but my first concern has always been to make a living playing guitar. If the other stuff comes, that would be great, but there's a lot
of ways you can make a living at playing guitar."
Scozzaro, who returned to Buffalo after becoming intolerant of the Los Angeles scene, believes a musician no longer has to leave home to become successful "I can't think it is as important as it used to he to live in L.A.," he said. "I really think there's world-class talent here in this town. We have like eight months of heinous weather; it produces a lot of good musicians because everyone stays in and shreds."
Scozzaro won the Buffalo Music Award for best guitarist in 1992, 1993 and 1994.
Back - 1995