Featuring Warren Cuccurullo
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Guitarists such as Steve Vai and Joe Satriani received the lion's share of attention during the late '80s/early '90s, due to their otherworldly instrumental chops. But several other guitarists were just as talented, yet failed to receive as much recognition, especially Warren Cuccurullo. Born on December 8, 1956 and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Cuccurullo started playing drums at an early age before moving over to guitar in time to jam with friends. By the early '70s, Cuccurullo had become a die-hard Frank Zappa fan, and for much of the decade, would travel far and wide to catch Zappa in concert. It wasn't long before Cuccurullo became friends with members of Zappa's backing band, and eventually, Zappa himself. He appeared during a backstage segment for Zappa's concert movie Baby Snakes, and in December of 1978, got the phone call he'd been waiting for, when he was invited to try out to for a vacant guitar slot in the band. Cuccurullo got the gig, appearing on several Zappa tours and such albums as Joe's Garage: Acts 1-3, Shut Up & Play Yer Guitar, Tinseltown Rebellion, and volumes one, four, and six of the You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore series. Shortly after the dawn of the '80s, Cuccurullo quit Zappa's band to form the new wave outfit Missing Persons, along with the husband-wife team of Terry Bozzio (drums) and Dale Bozzio (vocals). The band enjoyed success early on with such hit singles as "Words" and "Destination Unknown," as well as a gold-certified debut album, 1982's Spring Session M. But after two further albums that failed commercially, 1984's Rhyme and Reason, and 1986's Color in Your Life, Missing Persons broke up. Cuccurullo got word from an insider that one of the world's most popular pop groups, Duran Duran, was about to lose founding guitarist Andy Taylor, and he inquired about joining. Cuccurullo was soon invited onboard, and appeared on such subsequent albums as 1986's Notorious, 1988's Big Thing, 1990's Liberty, 1993's self-titled release, 1995's Thank You, 1997's Medazzaland, and 2000's Pop Trash.
During the same time, Cuccurullo began issuing solo albums on his own, including 1995's Thanks to Frank, 1997's Machine Language (an album he'd been working on since the '80s), 1998's Roadrage, and 2000's The Blue. The '90s also saw Cuccurullo either collaborate or record with Blondie, Meat Loaf, and Michael Jackson, but in all three cases, the material was ultimately shelved. Cuccurullo eventually left Duran Duran (when it was announced that its original lineup was reuniting), but kept himself busy with running his own extensive website, opening up an Italian restaurant in Santa Monica (Via Veneto), and issuing his own adult toy, the "Rock Rod." The guitarist also took part in several Missing Persons reunion shows during 2001, while his next solo release, Trance Formed, is scheduled to be released sometime in late 2002. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi