Guitarist Domenic Troiano dies
TORONTO – Veteran Canadian guitar player Domenic Troiano has died after a decade-long battle with cancer.
Troiano, who played in groups ranging from the Guess Who to Bush to the James Gang, was 59. He passed away late Wednesday.
“His absolute skill as a musician, certainly in the ’60s, it was unsurpassed,” long-time friend Larry LeBlanc, Billboard’s Canada bureau chief, told the Canadian Press. “Everybody wanted to be Troiano.”
Starting his career in the 1960s, Troiano carved out a reputation in musical circles as a musician’s musician. He played in a long list of bands, including an early stint as a backup player for Ronnie Hawkins. He spent 1974-75 with the Guess Who and played for countless non-Canadian performers, including blues legend Etta James, Joe Cocker and Diana Ross.
“He could play anything. And he was so good at it,” said Toronto broadcaster John Donabie, who interviewed Troiano in the 1960s when he was a member of the pioneering Canadian group the Mandala. Along with other members of that group, Troiano founded Bush, which released one album in 1970.
“Domenic Troiano lived for making music,” said LeBlanc. His hits included Bush’s I Can Hear You Calling.
Known to his friends as “Donnie,” Troiano was born in Modugno, Italy, and became a naturalized Canadian in 1955. He spent the rest of his life in Toronto, except for a brief period in the 1970s when he called Los Angeles home.
In the 1980s, the prolific guitarist turned to composing for television programs like Night Heat, Hot Shots and Diamonds. He served as a producer for Moe Koffman and others, and in 1996 his skills as an axeman were recognized when he was made a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Troiano’s recent credits include doing the soundtrack for the video game Fahrenheit in 1995.
“Every guitar player in Canada knows of Domenic Troiano,” said LeBlanc. “And most of the guitar players in Canada will sit back and pause a bit today.”
Troiano is survived by his mother, brother and sister. He was married briefly to singer Shawne Jackson, but the relationship ended in divorce about 10 years ago.
A funeral is planned for Monday in Toronto.