Gary Spaniola brings ’60s-inspired music to Arizona

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Gary Spaniola was in the successful Detroit band Bitter Sweet Alley, when he just decided to call it quits.

For 25 years, the new North Scottsdale resident avoided music and instead invented a high-end software system for home automation.

“I was in love with that,” he says. “I taught myself computer language and code. That’s how I designed that program.”

Now—much like music 25 years ago—he “can’t stand doing that.”

Spaniola returned to music recently, releasing “Beatles in ‘G’,” the first single from the upcoming album that will have a ’60s flair; the instrumental guitar album “Entropia” and the classical collection “Lost in Control.” He says he was hesitant to cover a Beatles song, so he recorded a medley as “Beatles in ‘G’” featuring his wife, Erica. She was formerly signed with Bob Seger’s manager, Punch Andrews.

Like all of his music, sales benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

“My main goal is whenever anyone buys the music, I double the donation and forward it to St. Jude’s,” Spaniola says. “I’ve been very fortunate. It’s my way to give back.

“People don’t realize if you get 10,000 people giving a dollar, that’s a lot of money. I’ve been doing that for over a year. This one lady on Facebook said, ‘Oh, my gosh. I love the classical one.’ I capped the match at $10,000, but now I’m at $25,000. I may up it to $50,000 and leave it there.”

Spaniola was in Bitter Sweet Alley from the early 1980s until he left the band in 1987. When departed, he built a recording studio, where he recorded and mixed groups ranging from the rock band the Romantics to R&B’s Ready for the World.

Spaniola had great times playing with Bitter Sweet Alley as well as recording and producing, but it was time for a change.

“I worked with, literally, probably, 100 groups,” says Spaniola, who sold his Michigan house to rappers Insane Clown Posse. “It got to the point where I was just bored. I never do anything if I’m bored—even if it means leaving a lot of money behind. Life’s short. At the same time, when I was bored with that, I was teaching myself computer programming.

“That’s when I designed software. People were really interested. I was selling it to billionaires who wanted their home controlled.”

When Spaniola moved to Arizona, the specs of his home had to have a room big enough for a recording studio. He calls his music a “gift” or “passion.” It feels good to give back.

“My father always said, ‘About 98% of the people didn’t enjoy going to work,’” he recalls. “I thought that’s crazy. If you’re forced into a situation, what are you going to do? I told my kids, ‘The only time you lose is when you quit.’”

Spaniola says he’s looking forward to playing his music live when the COVID-19 restrictions ease.

“I might get a band together and play two sets—one of some old stuff and songs from that era, and another set of my guitar album,” he says. “I’ll do two cover songs, ‘Beatles in ‘G,’’ and a medley of Stones songs. The rest we’re writing. We’re ready to go.”   

Gary Spaniola

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