It’s been a rough few weeks for folks in the Rhode Island music scene. The community has lost some talented musicians who left a positive impact through their craft and more importantly through their friendship. One of those people was Coventry resident and Milford, Massachusetts native Mike Schiavone who passed away at the young age of 39 on February 28. People might know him as being a sales associate at Empire Guitars on 1271 North Main Street in Providence, and if you’re a musician he probably sold you a guitar or some pedals. People also might know him from being the guitarist for various bands including The Law, The Free Funk All-Stars, Danny Pease & The Regulators, Delish and most recently Slurp along with various tribute projects.
Before his passing, Slurp was supposed to headline a show at The Parlour, which is literally down the street from where Schiavone used to work, on March 26 at 8pm with Connecticut apocalyptic organ duo Px3 and fellow local funk act Northeast Traffic. Since this tragedy occurred, the show has been transformed into a memorial show for Schiavone with all the proceeds going to benefit the venue.
“Mike and I met almost 10 years ago when we both joined a band,” says Slurp co-founder and bassist Rory Quinn. “We instantly became best friends and became attached at the hip until his passing. He taught me more than anyone ever will about being a professional, how to handle myself and treat others, especially in the music business. Schiavone introduced me to everyone in our scene and I am forever grateful. We had dreamed of starting the baddest funk band around and made it our mission to build that. After about a year everything sort of came together and I am making it my life’s mission to honor his legacy in every way possible.”
Schiavone was friends with hundreds of people in the local music scene due to his approachable demeanor and friendly personality. One of those friends is Sarah Daigle from the progressive rock band Rah and she has fond memories of him.
“If you walked into Empire Guitar on any given day, Mike would greet you with a big smile and ask what you needed,” She says about how he approached people. “As a musician, he knew everyone’s sound and exactly what they were looking for. If you walked into any music venue in Providence to see a show, nine times out of 10 he would be In the front row supporting everyone he loved on that stage. If you saw him on stage, he would immediately draw you in with his gnarly guitar solos and overall captivating presence. If you were his friend, you would feel like the luckiest person in the world to be hanging with such a kind soul because he was truly there for every person that he loved deeply.”
“This world truly won’t be the same without him,” Daigle adds. “As one of my best friends, there’s a void that he’s left that can only be filled with his music.”
Northeast Traffic, who are lead by Warwick native Alex Claros on guitar & vocals, will be opening up the evening and then Px3 will be closing out the night with two extensive sets with Quinn jumping in on bass for a few songs. If you didn’t know Schiavone, it’s an opportunity to check out an experience with two of his favorite bands at his favorite venue in The Ocean State. If you knew Schiavone, then it’s already a foregone conclusion that you’re going to attend, show some support and have a good time. He was a great guy who showed nothing but love during his existence before his unfortunate departure from this world. There really isn’t a better way to celebrate the life and legacy of Mike Schiavone than with music and the community he came up in.
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