In 1970-73, as teenagers, we were tight. On our motorbikes, we caroused about Roma into the wee hours.
We played together in a rock/jazz band. I played bass. Giampi was the genius musician, the musical powerhouse, starting out on keyboards, later saxophone, and eventually guitar. On each, he was a master.
His nickname was Chirichetto (altar boy) which he wasn't, by any stretch. I also dubbed him Meli e Peri (apples and pears, sort of) to rhyme with his last name, Scuderi.
He had two brothers, one of whom -- Domenico ("Mimmo") -- also played in our band, guitar. His other brother, Carmelo ("Uccio"), a doctor, was already grown and gone. I stayed for dinner at his house so often his Mom called me her fourth son.
His father, Lino -- also a fine musician -- played a Hammond B3 that lived in their living room in their apartment on Via Val di Lanzo in the Monte Sacro district of Roma.
After I left Roma in 1973 for Santa Cruz (University of California) they visited me for a few days. It was a big trip for them!
Giampi was also a talented artist; I still have some of his drawings.
Our boyhood shenanigans were incessant. We slept over at each other's houses. One night at my own family's home my GF Lisa slept over, too, and Giampi and I took turns with her all night long. She must have been sore! Years later, I visited him in Dallas where he attempted to fix me up with one of his wife's friends. Alas, she didn't like me much and I didn't get the Lisa treatment.
Though we were the best of friends we were also somehow competitors. There was never doubt of his musical superiority yet somehow there was a subtle animus. I never understood this and it never mattered much. Fast-forward to 2022, the year he died, Mimmo and I are baffled by his anti-vax opinions. Was he suddenly a right-winger? We never dared go there with him for fear of an irremediable rift. Now we'll never know and anyway it doesn't matter.
He died of liver failure and cancer due to hepatitis C which, evidently, he'd had for decades and had kept secret. He lived a productive, musical life right to the end (age 65, I think), adored by friends and family. Much outpouring on Facebook.
I will miss him always.
And now in 2023, we have lost Mimmo. Also way too young. People always say that but c'mon -- at age 70?
On March 18th, in the middle of the night, Mimmo said to Caterina, I don't feel well. She summoned an ambulance. He died at the hospital. His heart had failed. No one -- not even he -- had known it ailed.
So we are again distraught. Our world continues to shrink. Mimmo, we miss you, too, terribly!