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Apr 14, 2011

Mike Pedicone: Touring with rock band is dream turned reality

Mike Pedicone always answered the "What do you want to do when you grow up?" question the same way.
"I said I wanted to play in a huge rock band touring the world," Pedicone recalled. "Senior year I said the same thing, and the teacher laughed at me in front of the class."
Now he plays for one of the biggest rock bands in America, My Chemical Romance, and tours the world.
So, who's laughing now?
"It's surreal and incredible and a dream come true," said Pedicone, 29, in a telephone interview while on tour with the band in California.
Pedicone chose rock 'n' roll over college when he graduated from Canyon Del Oro High School in 2000. It wasn't a tough choice even though his dad is John Pedicone, a longtime educator who is the Tucson Unified School District's superintendent.
Mike Pedicone started playing drums for the local hardcore band The Bled in 2001. The band had a large local following and toured throughout the United States and parts of Europe. It still exists with one original member.
He left The Bled in 2005 and was asked to drum for the alternative rock group Helmet in 2006. His stint with Helmet was short but led to his biggest job up until that time.
Page Hamilton, Helmet's lead singer and guitarist, referred Pedicone to former Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, and Pedicone drummed for Rossdale for a little more than two years.
When the English artist stopped touring in 2009, Pedicone diversified his résumé by touring with the punk-rock band The Bronx.
Instead of playing punk, they assembled a mariachi rock band, and Pedicone played the guitarrón. The band performed under the name Mariachi El Bronx and played the South by Southwest music conference in 2010.
Last July he got a call from Mikey Way, bass player of My Chemical Romance, offering Pedicone an audition.
"I was in Hawaii with my wife, and he wanted to try me out, but he said he couldn't right now because he was on vacation," Pedicone said. "Turned out he was about a mile away from where I was staying, so I went over to where he was at, and he played me their new record."
After jamming with the band a few times, he joined in August.
In October the band kicked off a tour that took them to the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan and all over the United States.
"My first rock concert was Mötley Crüe at the TCC with my brother. I remember thinking all I want is to do what they are doing. And tomorrow we play a sold-out show of 8,000 people and a couple weeks ago it was 25,000 people."
Pedicone gets his thrills playing drums, but they weren't his first obsession.
He learned to play the guitar in fifth grade, at the same time Noah Harmon learned the bass. And so Tucson's '90s punk version of Lennon and McCartney was created.
Pedicone played guitar and often sang in a variety of bands the teens started - Suicidal Infants, Fugue, Four Alarm Fire, Little League and the Dishwashers.
"We just had so much fun, and kids wanted to be a part of it," Pedicone said. "People got inspired because music reaches people instantly by just playing a few chords."
Harmon added, "It was a fun time to be in high school."
Pedicone's father noticed Mike's passion and desire at a young age. "I come from a family that is used to entertaining," said John Pedicone, who performed as a singer in Chicago before coming to Tucson.
Entertainers, he said, "have to have this fire in their belly. Mike always had that, and he would never find something that would make him happier. It makes him whole and complete."
Although Mike Pedicone enjoyed his experience at CDO, he credits Skrappy's Youth Collective for giving him an entryway into the music scene.
"I don't know how things would have turned out for me without Skrappy's," he said. "I spent every weekend there in high school. It's where I played my first show and met a lot of people that I ended up playing in bands with. We owe a lot to them."
Pedicone lives in Los Angeles, minutes from best friend Noah Harmon. "I think one of these days, when we both have time, we'll get together and start playing again," Pedicone said.
Could there be a second act to the Suicidal Infants?


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