In the run-up to Thanksgiving, few people had more to be grateful for than guitarist Rick Fusco. Rick grew up in Delaware sixth out of seven children. His first memories are steeped in music, listening to his older brother play guitar and crawling around as a baby, always with a ukulele in tow. While he is completely self-taught, Rick got serious about learning music at age eight and by the time he was 15 was playing lead guitar in his godfather’s wedding band.
After high school Rick joined the Air Force and was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska where he participated in “Tops in Blue”, a touring performance ensemble started in the 1950’s and made up of active duty members. Rick auditioned and made it all the way to the final rehearsals until the judges discovered that he didn’t know how to read music, and it was back to Alaska for Rick, and then eventually back to Delaware.
As a civilian again, Rick found success with several bands, including Mike Hines & the Look, which was signed by Atlantic records; and Final Mix, which was signed by MoTown records. He also played in a lot of cover bands and started what was to be a 20+ year career in banking, until one day in December of 2012 when his life changed course.
On December 18, 2012 while driving home from a gig, Rick was violently attacked and ultimately left with brain injuries that put him in recovery for almost a year. He has no memory of the attacks and the perpetrators were never caught. The experience was especially humbling because not only did it ultimately affect his banking career, but he also lost the ability to play guitar. After a lot of cognitive therapy, Rick was able to relearn how to play guitar.
Rick made his way to Key West after his friend Eric Levy aka “Eric from Philly” invited him to stay, and Rick immediately sensed what he describes as a “peace he never felt before”. Ray Roth at White Tarpon gave Rick his first gig in Key West and things blossomed from there. Rick is grateful that he gets to be on his feet alongside so many great musicians, including Tom Taylor and Bobby Enloe (also from Philly), as well as Rusty Lemon, Caffeine Carl, Paul Cotton, Rolando Rojas and Yvan Agbo.
Rick can be heard on Wednesdays from 12-3 at Two Friends, Thursdays from 6-10 at Conch Republic Seafood, Fridays from 12-3 at Southernmost Resort pool and 6:30-8:30 at the Hard Rock, Saturdays at Dantes from 6-9, and back at the Hard Rock on Sundays from 6:30-8:30. He can also be seen out and about with Andy Westcott and the E’Claires with the talented Claire Finley on bass. His full schedule can be seen on Facebook or his website as RickFusco.com.