Christopher Catalano, husband, father and friend, unfortunately passed away on December 23,2018. He left behind his wife, Stasia and their 13 yr. old son, Christopher.
His family could use our help. Anyone who knew Chris knew he was the kind of person who helped anyone, person or animal alike. He was funny, kind and generous to a fault. His abilities as a musician were known to so many, both near and far. There was a time that we joked about the fact that the drumsticks were an extension of his hands! He was extremely well liked, both socially and in the music world. There was always an anecdote or a story at the ready! This has been an enormous shock for us all. It almost seems surreal. We may not be able to physically be there to say goodbye, but we can certainly give Chris our love by helping his family. Maybe we can band ( One Hand Clap LOL) together to help them. With Steve Stevens’ permission, I copied the tribute he wrote on his fan page. It speaks volumes...
Rest In Peace, our dear friend... Till we meet again.
Goodbye to one of the great teachers in my life
Everyone has a life journey…some may even say it is predestined. I have been so amazingly fortunate to have met some incredible guides along my journey. The world lost one of the giants of my younger years today. I was notified by the wife of my friend Chris Catalano that he had passed away. Chris was the drummer/band leader in my first real band, One Hand Clap. I was still attending the La Gaurdia School For The Arts in Manhattan. It was portrayed in the movie Fame. I was looking to join an actual rock band and learn all the stuff they were certainly not teaching me in School…..how to be a rock and roll guitar player. I saw an ad in the Village Voice ….gigging pro band looking for guitarist. I called and spoke to the drummer Chris Catalano. He said, “ok, what music are you in to” I was quick to reply, The Who, Yes, Zeppelin, Jethro Tull. He said “if you can actually play that stuff…you are definitely in the right band” Well, I didn’t drive so my dad drove me to the audition in his Ford Pinto and waited outside the bands storefront rehearsal in South Ozone Park Queens. Wow, they had a real rehearsal place and a ton of real pro gear, and actual PA. The keyboard player FL had a Hammond, a Mellotron, a minimoog….i was really impressed. I was quite a bit younger then these guys, and half their size. As the story goes, a couple of them walked outside, unaware that it was my dad standing around eating a pizza. “He’s just a lil’ kid said one guy. My dad overheard them and said….”well wait until you hear that lil’ kid play the guitar” Once i had set up my pedals and plugged into an amp they had, we played some Zeppelin, Yes Roundabout and a jam. I then played them on my own Steve Howe’s Clap & Mood For A Day which I knew note for note. The drummer Chris stepped from behind the drum kit and said…let’s talk. He said…you play better than anyone else we have seen, but you would need better gear, and you need to let loose. The next day, he called me and said…you have the gig. The band Chris had named One Hand Clap. I tried to attend school as well as rehearse but it was too much. I notified my parents I was dropping out of school to be a rock star, ha ha. This did not go over well. My older brother was highly educated and my family really stressed education. I agreed to get a GED, but my mom insisted that the band leader come to our house and meet her. Well, Chris charmed her and gave his word that he’s see nothing bad happen to me. Over the course of the next years, Chris taught me about building a PA, what a proper guitar amp was, and how to hot rod it. He helped arrange for me to get my first Gibson Les Paul. He took me to watch the premier cover band in N.Y. Rat Race Choir with guitarist Mark Hitt. Chris loved Mark’s playing and it was easy to see why. Mark was a monster. I saw what Chris was talking about. I would stay at Chris’s house and eat reheated spaghetti. Once we started gigging, there were some rough characters on the club scene and some ass hole were always keen to start a fight with the pussy rock musicians. Surprise to them, Chris was no pussy. He was over six feet tall, good looking and could kick some serious ass. He was never a bully, but he really did watch over me. We’d sit and listen to records for hours, picking apart the making of them. We added songs to our repertoire that no one would dare try. Tony Williams Lifetime, sure. An hour medley of Yes, no problem. Chris was my biggest champion always calling me the kid, and i just loved the guy. When i realized that It was time to move on and join a band that would play original material in the NYC clubs….we parted as friends. We stayed in touch and still hung out. I lost touch with Chris when I moved to Los Angeles, but kept up to date with his wife’s life. They have a teenage son that looks a hell of a lot like Chris. She notified me he was ill, but I did not understand how ill. We had lost our keyboard player F.L. a couple of years back, but I managed to see him before he got ill. I now really regret not reaching out to him, but i know that i had told Chris many times over how lucky I was to have met him. I firmly believe there are those who’s purpose in life is to pass on their knowledge. Chris was that guy for me. The fact that to this day, I can tear apart an amplifier, rewire a guitar, and understand how to record and get a great guitar sound…these are the gifts Chris gave me. We did all of that. When I met Eddie Van Halen, we were jamming and he remarked that I like him, sounded like i had spent my youth playing in bars and clubs. We called it having whisky on your fingers. I can still tell what players have that…as opposed to the textbook guys. I certainly have Chris Catalano to thank for my first glass of whisky. Rest assured, he’s with me forever.