Guy Picciotto (pronounced ) is an American punk rock musician from Washington, DC. He is most widely known for his roles as the guitarist and vocalist for the groups Rites of Spring and Fugazi.
Rites of Spring and "Revolution Summer"
Guy Picciotto has been a highly influential composer/ performer of underground music over the past several musical epochs. His early bands such as the Hostages, Popes, Vanguards, and Insurrection, played at parties, basements, bonfires, and social gatherings. Picciotto was also a member of the highly exclusive and secretive Washington, D.C. social club D.O.D. or "Dance of Death" whose members were identified by their dangerous and nihilistic dancing style (rolling on the floor while others slam-danced). Picciotto came to renown in 1985, with the group Rites of Spring. Rites of Spring were known for their cathartic live shows, demolished equipment, and distinctive musical presentation. This was an odd combination of sonic aggression, melodic sensibility, and Byronic aesthetic. This formula, called by various names, spawned copycat groups around the globe. Rites of Spring were one of a handful of D.C. bands that were part of what was called "Revolution Summer," along with the groups Beefeater, Soulside, Mission Impossible, and Embrace. Revolution Summer was an auto critical exercise designed to reassess the aesthetic and political aims of what was sometimes called "punk." Most of these groups were on D.C.'s Dischord record label. After Rites of Spring disbanded, Picciotto formed several groups in succession with mostly the same personnel, playing under the names One Last Wish, Brief Weeds, and Happy Go Licky. Eventually though, Picciotto and longtime collaborator Brendan Canty started playing in Fugazi.
Though not in the original line up 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. He originally joined as what he called a "toaster," of the sorts featured in Jamaican reggae and DJ groups. By their first EP however, Guy was one of the principal songwriters, along with Ian Mackaye. From their first full length album on, he also took up 2nd guitar duties, playing a characteristically trebly Rickenbacker to make use of sonic space not taken by Mackaye's chunkier, rhythmic guitar playing. After seven albums (13 Songs, Repeater, Steady Diet of Nothing, In on the Kill Taker, Red Medicine, End Hits, The Argument), and several tours, Fugazi went on hiatus. Picciotto has recently played at various happenings, collaborating and performing with Mats Gustafsson, Vic Chesnutt, Patti Smith, Tom Verlaine and members of the Ex among others, as well as co-producing Gossip's breakthrough record Standing in the Way of Control. He also co-produced the film Chain with Jem Cohen (who made the Fugazi film Instrument).
Picciotto's musical resume also includes the bands 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 Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty. He also 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. He also produced Blonde Redhead's Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons (2000) and Misery Is a Butterfly (2004) as well as The Blood Brothers final album, Young Machetes. Picciotto played on the Vic Chesnutt albums North Star Deserter (2007) and At the Cut (2009), and accompanied him on a 2009 Fall/Winter North American Tour.