I don't know how he died, but when no one mentions the cause of death, it usually wasn't lightning.
I just found out this morning, that my favorite singer in the whole world, passed away, in mid December, and nobody told me. This is a real tragedy, because he has a beautiful daughter, whom he loved "more than rock'n'roll". In a heartless age, when few even genuinely seem to care for their own, rock'n'roll has lost it's greatest frontman, but his teenaged daughter lost her Daddy, who devotedly, absolutely adored her. I met Gio Vitanza while working at a record store in Hollywood, years ago-one of my co-workers even went on to join his band. The Coma-Tones were everything I ever loved about rock'n'roll. They should have been bigger than Guns N Roses. Few big name rock stars have even a fraction of Giovanni Vitanza's charisma, stage presence, or lyrical ability. A legendary performer, Gio was known for his spontaneous, Jim Morrison-like antics, no one in L.A. liked to follow a Coma-Tones show. The Coma-Tones seemed like the next big thing, in the twilight of the glam years, until their drummer, Grant died. I can't even think of that many singers who were ever, even in league with Gio. Maybe Jim Morrison, Texacala Jones, Claude from Smack, Tex Perkins, Elvis Presley. That's about it. In recent years, Gio and his longtime collaborator, Divo, had retreated back to Florida, where they continued writing new material, and playing in bars, as Three Dollar Mess. Coma-Tones guitarist, Jimmy James, had continued to play for Hollywood's best punk'n'roll groups, like the Hangmen, Barrio Tiger, and Rock City Angels. Gio was still in his prime, he had movie star looks, his songs were still good. He had so much soul. His lyrics always made me smile. He was a hero and major, major influence on me. A brilliant writer. I'm really sad. I hope some label will finally release a Coma-Tones retrospective DVD. There was no one like him. One in a million. Born To Be A Star. I was trying to interview him before Christmas, but he kept saying he was a bad typist, and I had no access to a tape recorder with a phone jack. 'Sucks. There are some cool videos of him on Youtube, and some new songs posted on various Coma-Tones related Myspace pages, but none do him justice, really. They totally always deserved a big record contract, now, he's makin' people happy on the other side, and this planet is a much dimmer place. We will always love and remember you, Gio, for your epic talent, and for your even bigger heart. Salude!