Guy Picciotto

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Guy Picciotto
Picciotto performing in 1995
Picciotto performing in 1995
Background information
Born (1965-09-17) September 17, 1965 (age 58)[1]
Washington D.C.,[1] U.S.
  • Songwriter
  • musician
  • producer
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • clarinet
Years active1984–present

Guy Charles Picciotto (/ˈɡ piˈt/ GHEE pi-CHOH-toh) (born September 17, 1965) is an American songwriter, musician, and record producer from Washington, DC.[2]

He is best known as the guitarist and co-lead vocalist in Fugazi and as lead vocalist of Rites of Spring.[3]


Rites of Spring and early projects[edit]

Picciotto's career as a guitarist and vocalist began in 1984, with the group Rites of Spring. A part of the D.C. post-hardcore scene, Rites of Spring increased the frenetic violence and visceral passion of hardcore while simultaneously experimenting with its compositional rules. Picciotto, as the band's lyricist, as well as singer and guitarist, shifted hardcore into intensely personal realms and, in doing so, is generally credited with creating emo.[4]

Picciotto's early musical resume includes the bands Insurrection (1982) where he only played guitar, One Last Wish (1986), Happy Go Licky (1987–1988), Brief Weeds (EPs released circa 1991–1992), and The Black Light Panthers (ongoing sporadic project since 1982), the last two bands both being projects with Brendan Canty. He created a record label called Peterbilt Records, which released limited-quantity vinyl record albums for the bands Rain, Happy Go Licky, and Deadline, then years later was involved in releasing the album 1986 by One Last Wish, along with Dischord Records.


Though not in the original lineup of Fugazi, Picciotto joined very early in the group's career, singing with them by their second show and appearing on all the band's studio recordings.

From the Repeater album on, he took up second guitar duties, playing characteristically trebly Rickenbacker guitars. After seven albums and several tours, Fugazi went on "indefinite hiatus" in 2003.

Side projects and production work[edit]

Picciotto has collaborated and performed with Mats Gustafsson, Vic Chesnutt, and members of the Ex among others. He has produced numerous albums including the Gossip's breakthrough record Standing in the Way of Control as well as Blonde Redhead's Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons (2000) and Misery Is a Butterfly (2004), The Blood Brothers final album, Young Machetes, and Downtown Boys' Cost of Living (2017) as well as two records for The Casual Dots, their self-titled debut album and the follow-up Sanguine Truth 2022. Additionally, Picciotto has produced four albums by the duo Xylouris White: Goats (2014), Black Peak (2016), Mother (2018), and The Sisypheans (2019)

Picciotto played on the Vic Chesnutt albums North Star Deserter (2007) and At the Cut (2009), and accompanied him on tours of Europe and North America.[5] He co-produced the films Chain and Museum Hours with Jem Cohen (who made the Fugazi film Instrument).

In 2012, Picciotto was interviewed on stage at the Pop Montreal festival by Howard Bilerman about his experiences in the music industry.[6] On January 24, 2020, Guy appeared on an episode of Live From the Barrage[7] for a wide-ranging discussion that was his first long form interview in quite some time.


Piccioto holding a guitar
Picciotto holding his guitar immediately before performing with Vic Chesnutt in 2009


  • Rickenbacker 330 – Picciotto's main guitars are a sunburst Rickenbacker 330 and 2 identical black Rickenbacker 330's all equipped with RIC HB1 humbuckers. He has occasionally been seen playing a natural-finish 330. The characteristically trebly Rickenbackers allowed Picciotto to make use of sonic space not taken by MacKaye's chunkier, rhythmic guitar playing in Fugazi.[8]
  • Rickenbacker 370 – Picciotto's main guitar when he fronted Rites of Spring, One Last Wish and in the first few years with Fugazi was a Mapleglo Rickenbacker 370. It eventually ended up in a state too fragile for live use, but he still used it in the studio right up to The Argument.
  • Gibson Les Paul Jr. – During Picciotto's time with Rites of Spring and during the early days of Fugazi (photos show until at least as late as 1993),[9] he could also be seen playing a white Gibson Les Paul Doublecut Jr. with a single P90 pickup. In an interview done in 2011, Picciotto is quoted as having had a Gibson SG Jr. stolen in New York City. The NPR article may be incorrect about it being an SG and it was likely the same Les Paul Jr. guitar.[10][11]


  • Park 100 Watt heads
  • Marshall JCM 800 2203 heads
  • Red or Black Marshall JCM 800 4x12 cabinets fitted with 75-watt celestion speakers
  • Fender Twin reverb (studio)[12]

Personal life[edit]

Picciotto was born to an American mother and an Italian father.[13] He holds a BA degree in English from Georgetown University and is a graduate of the Washington, D.C. private school, the Georgetown Day School.[14]

Picciotto married musician Kathi Wilcox from the band Bikini Kill and the Frumpies; as of September 2020 the two were living in Brooklyn with their teenage son.[15][16]


Rites of Spring[edit]

One Last Wish[edit]

  • 1986 (1999)

Happy Go Licky[edit]

  • 12" (1988)
  • Will Play (1997)

Black Light Panthers[edit]

  • Peterbilt 12" 82-97 (1997)

Brief Weeds[edit]



  1. ^ a b "Fugazi Biography." Last accessed January 27, 2012.
  2. ^ "Picciotto's first name is French, while his last name is Sicilian". Archived from the original on December 31, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2009.
  3. ^ Prato, Greg. "Biography: Guy Picciotto". AMG. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  4. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (1999). "Emo (The Genre That Dare Not Speak Its Name)". Guitar World. Future US, Inc. Retrieved November 16, 2008.
  5. ^ Fresh Air. "In Memoriam: Sweet, Sad Rocker Vic Chesnutt," January 7, 2010.
  6. ^ "Guy Picciotto in Conversation with Howard Bilerman Quartiers Pop, Montreal, QC, September 19". Exclaim!, By Ralph Elawani, September 20, 2012
  7. ^ "Ep: 284 - Guy Picciotto = Guy Picciotto of Fugazi & Rites of Spring joins us LIVE in the studio!". Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  8. ^ "FUGAZI: A guitar gear summary". Effects Bay. September 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  9. ^ Grow, Kory (November 14, 2014). "Stream Fugazi's Raw 'First Demo' Cassette From 1988". Rolling Stone. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  10. ^ West, Patrick (July 8, 2011). "Fugazi live, DC, 1990 or so". Flickr. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  11. ^ Tyler-Ameen, Daoud (December 1, 2011). "Full Disclosure: Fugazi's Best Live Moments, Remembered". NPR. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  12. ^ Smith, Marceline (2010). "Fugazi: Guy Picciotto". Hee Haw Magazine. Retrieved August 1, 2018 – via Diskant.
  13. ^ Neutron, Conan (October 3, 2022). "Ep307: Guy Picciotto (fugazi)". Conan Neutron's Protonic Reversal (Podcast). Event occurs at 2:12:00. Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  14. ^ Andersen, Mark; Jenkins, Mark (December 1, 2009). Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital. Akashic Books. p. 33. ISBN 9781933354996.
  15. ^ Savage, Emily (January 22, 2013). "Rebel girls". San Francisco Bay Guardian. 48hills. Archived from the original on February 15, 2013. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  16. ^ Bobbitt, Melissa (January 22, 2013). "Interview - Kathi Wilcox of Bikini Kill". About Entertainment. Archived from the original on September 20, 2014. Retrieved September 19, 2014.

External links[edit]