Since his passing on Feb. 28, the void left by Milford’s Mike Schiavone has been felt across New England. During his time as guitarist for Providence bands Slurp and Delish Music, with Springfield reggae-punk band Danny Pease & The Regulators, and his time repairing and selling guitars and various types of gear at Empire Guitars in Providence, he was a must. in the local music community. His talents justified the praise he received from his contemporaries and he never had a bad word to say about anyone. Schiavone always had a welcoming personality and when you were in the same room with him, you knew you were in the right place. In remembrance and celebration of the life he lived, “The Great Gig In The Sky” will take place at Electric Haze at 26 Millbury Street in Worcester at 8pm on April 22.
Delish Music will co-present the show with Electric Haze in-house booker Shepheard Productions, along with local funk staples the William Thompson Funk Experiment returning after a long hiatus. Providence psych-rock trio The Cosmic Factory and North Shore turntable player Icculus will open the show.
“We first met Mike about 10 years ago at the Spot Underground in Providence,” William Thompson Funk Experiment co-vocalist and co-guitarist Nick Ramey said of Schiavone. “He was one of a handful of people in the room that night and I distinctly remember him coming up to me after our set and telling me how much he enjoyed it, he’s sure to say we hit it off immediately.Over the years he attended almost all, if not all, of our shows in the area, he became a close friend to all of us and was one of the people we looked forward to see. He could light up a room with his personality and beyond that he was one hell of a guitar player. Most importantly Mike was just the nicest guy and he gave our local music scene everything he had.
“We met our mutual friend Lee Canales following Mike,” he adds. “Lee and Mike played in Delish Music with our drummer Derrick and our friend Rory. He asked if we would be interested in getting together to play a benefit show in Mike’s honor. It’s been about two and a half years since we last performed together, but I couldn’t think of a more appropriate reason to do so. We know how much we meant to Schiavone as a band and we want to do good with him and rock for all his friends with our pals at The Cosmic Factory.
During the last weekend of Schiavone’s life, he performed a Nirvana tribute show at Dusk at 301 Harris Avenue in Providence. With him on guitar and vocals, The Cosmic Factory bassist Mike Baker and drummer Dewey Raposo complete the trio. Baker and Raposo remember that last gig with their friend in grateful light.
“Mike was a real rock star,” Baker says of Schiavone. “I was always amazed to see him play who he was playing with at the time for many years. I had the chance to play with him and Dewey for his last gig. He challenged me to learning 40 Nirvana songs and was so encouraging and positive it was inspiring I will take it with me until we meet again.
“I can’t remember playing the music scene in Providence without Mike being a part of it,” Raposo adds. “He was an integral part of our community in so many ways, whether he was playing with Slurp, fixing your guitar at Empire Guitars, or just coming to shows to support his friends. From Strange Brew in Connecticut to Electric Haze in Worcester and various venues in Providence, it’s pretty clear what kind of impact he’s had, and continues to have, on our regional scene. I’m super grateful to have been able to play these Nirvana songs with him this last weekend of February.
All proceeds from the upcoming show will go towards establishing a foundation that is created in Schiavone’s honor. Whether you know him or not, it’s a great opportunity to check out some amazing acts in recognition of someone who’s had an incredibly positive impact on local music in these areas.