Summer 1983. Brooklyn’s Xdavis comes off stage after a raucous sold-out opening show for Stray Cats. A month earlier the band rocks a full arena in Rochester as the opener for Culture Club. Other gigs follow across the US and the UK.
Xdavis battery man Bruce Gallipani, aka Bruce Michael has another favorite gig in mind. A hot summer night on the Lower East Side. Saturday, August 7…CBGBs. People packed to the back of the club and onto the sidewalk outside. The New York rock scene at its finest.
But before he hit the tour circuit, Gallipani fondly remembers his mother Louise cooking meals every evening in Bensonhurst for her family during the hey-day of American Top 40 radio. The catchy tunes on WABC AM filled Louise’s house each day while young Bruce listened and played along on his new red swirl snare drum.
Al Gallipani, Bruce’s father, played accordion while his older brother Frank studied guitar. The three Gallipani guys suited up in frilly tuxedos and played standards all over town. Bruce graduated to a champagne Slingerland kit and studied with Norman Wayne, his first teacher. And it was with The Purple Reflections, a Top Forty band, that he enthusiastically recounts playing The Ventures’ “Wipe Out” with delight.
Future was Gallipani’s first rock band led by his neighborhood friend and mentor, Fred Ferrara. They continued for three years while Gallipani studied music at The High School of the Performing Arts in Manhattan. Gallipani credits his classical training to refining his technique and soloing ability. And next, he would join up with fellow Brooklyn rockers to form Xdavis.
The band recorded and toured successfully throughout the eighties. They also played live with Squeeze and Blue Oyster Cult. Mick Ronson produced a bunch of demos. Billboard Magazine described Gallipani’s drumming as “driving drumming with a sensitive urgency.”
During the nineties, Gallipani played with local summer acts including the Mamas and The Papas, and gospel artist Patricia Costa. He got his first taste of delivering music instruction rock-style via a weekly program on Time Warner cable called Ten to Rock. Appearing with Mike DoCampo and Kenny English, the rock professors broke down classics so that any young musician could follow along and learn.
Photo by Glen DiCrocco
He explains, “My involvement with students began with the talent show at St. Mary’s School. Many kids played instruments and took private music lessons but they weren’t connected to each other. I saw this was something important to give to young kids…a sense of sharing their music experiences together. I wanted to encourage them to learn and have fun together and return the mentorship that was given to me when I was a kid.”
And now, since 2004, that dream is in the making. Gallipani and his staff, which includes instructors Mike Zdeb, Zac Silva, Dan Ricker, and Stacy Smith are producing incredible rock concerts that are getting a lot of attention.
Photo by Glen DiCrocco