Scenes and stories from a small town in the hills of Italy's Le Marche region

Guitarist Giacconi on a rock-and-roll journey
By Bobby Pope

CAMERANO, Italy -- Guido Giacconi doesn’t just love music, he lives it, every day. From the humble beginnings of a struggling rock musician to performing in clubs as far away as Berlin, to finding a new sound to carry his soul on yet another journey, Guido has lived the rock n’ roll lifestyle and apologizes for nothing.


Video of Giacconi playing guitar
photo b
y Lea Emery

Watch Guido Giacconi at work and at play (QuickTime movie)

Silhouette of Giacconi and guitar photo by Zan Lanouette

Giacconi hangs his guitar in a special place on the wall of his home.

Giaconni searches through record collection

photo by Zan Lanouette

Giacconi peruses his extensive record collection, proof that he loves listening to rock-and-roll as much as playing it.

Giacconi taking a break from laying tile

photo by Zan Lanouette

Giaconni takes a break from his day job laying tile to check his co-worker's progress.


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From an early age, Giacconi was interested in music. His parents encouraged him to learn the hardest-rocking instrument of the day, the accordion.

But jamming on the squeezebox didn’t appeal to Giacconi, he said. He was more interested in the sounds of the first British invasion, with the harmony of the Beatles and the bad-boy power of the Stones. The had already changed his life.

There would be no accordion in Giacconi’s future. The air-powered chords would be replaced by the screeching of electric wire strings through a cranked-up amplifier. Giacconi purchased his first guitar from the EKO factory, which at the time was the largest guitar-producing firm in Europe.

Guido Giaconni, formerly with the band BumbleBee, says he isn't sure where his musical journeys will take him   

photo by Zan Lanouette

He would listen to the radio at night, the only time the reception was clear, to Italian groups cover popular rock songs with their own recorded versions.

Giacconi formed his first band with friends from his neighborhood, and they began to play together at night in their garages. The band was called Voodoo, and the sound was raw and pulsing with the flavors of the rock wave at the time, including Jimi Hendrix, Cream and the Yard Birds. Voodoo split up in 1969, and with a new crew, Giacconi formed Bianca Cavallino, to indulge his increasing infatuation with the sounds of blues.

Giacconi says he has never been satisfied with playing one type of music. He believes in the “evolution” of rock and roll and the importance of changing your style of music. His favorite album is Pink Floyd’s double album “Umma Gumma” which he believes was the band’s last true improvisational “journey.”

“When we become comfortable, music has no feeling, it becomes the same thing over and over again. We need music with soul, with feeling, changing and evolving,” Giacconi says.

Giacconi changed bands and sounds again after a 15-year run with Bianca Cavallino, briefly trying his hand at the techno ‘80s genre of dance music with a band called Breakout.

Giacconi formed the band he would become known for, Bumble Bee, in 1984. The group blended Mississippi Delta/rock blues with boogie-woogie, and its popularity exploded. The band began playing its favorite rock songs, but Giacconi wanted to make sure they were not simply a “live record player,” he said. He wanted to leave the Bumble Bee mark on each song, sometimes performing in a jam session style format, where the free expression of the rhythms and chords extended songs past their normal playtime. The band dissolved in 1996 after a 12-year span.


Today, Giacconi works as a tile layer to pay the bills, but music remains his passion. Bumble Bee still meets once a month to jam and reminisce about the old times Giacconi will always treasure. “You don’t realize the bond between friends until it is gone,” he says.

Now, staying true to form, the aging rocker has found yet another sound to explore. Along with three Italian friends and four musicians from the African nation of Senegal, Giacconi has started Anima Equal, a group that focuses on acoustic Senegalese music. Their new album, “Doxandem,” is Giacconi’s boldest step in a new musical direction.

Though his life has taken many twists and turns professionally and socially, music has always been a constant. “Without music,” he says, “I would be lost.” Not religious by nature, but a man forever on a mission, Giacconi lives with the simplicity of a single idea -- his belief in “good people and good music.”

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