Big Shot

Mike DelGuidice’s covers of Billy Joel tunes leads to tour with piano man

By ROB LEVEY
Special to the Union Leader
May 09. 2018 1:00PM
A job that started out as a stand-in for his idol at rehearsals in 2013 led to Mike DelGuidice’s permanent position as acoustic guitarist and backing vocalist in Billy Joel’s touring band. DelGuidice and other members of Joel’s touring band (guitarist Tommy Byrnes and drummer Chuck Burgi) also perform in the band Big Shot, which takes its name from a Joel hit. 
If you go...
WHO: Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Flying Monkey Movie House and Performance Center, 39 So. Main St., Plymouth

TICKETS: $45 and $55

INFO: flyingmonkeynh.com; 536-2551

There is something to be said for serendipity in the case of Mike DelGuidice, who parlayed covers of Billy Joel’s biggest hits into performing with the piano man himself.

“It’s not something I expected, but I am very grateful for it,” said DelGuidice, who also is front man for the Billy Joel tribute band Big Shot.

It all began about a dozen years ago.

“I got a couple guys who worked in his band to be in my band. That opened the door,” he said.

And it led to another great opportunity.

“He needed someone to rehearse his band when he was over in Europe, so I served as sort of a stunt double, which turned into me getting hired out of nowhere (to play with Joel himself),” he said. “It’s been a crazy and surreal roller coaster ride.”

It’s an especially welcome ride for someone who has long been inspired by Joel.

“I am really grateful to Billy,” DelGuidice said. “I have been making my living off his music all my life. This is a testimony to the kind of person he is. He has no ego. I’m just thankful.”

Without Big Shot players’ collective success in the cover band, none probably would have been able to explore solo careers, DelGuidice said.

“We are individual artists, and we have our own careers. We encourage fans to support (our) original music, too. Without the cover thing and Billy’s support, we could not explore the original thing.”

DelGuidice’s own music has begun to make in-roads into popular culture with his song “Ordinary Guy” from his 2011 “My Street album.” It is the theme song for the CBS sitcom “Kevin Can Wait.”

“It stars Kevin James, who is also from Long Island,” DelGuidice said of his own home territory. “It’s been a great experience, and very unexpected.”

Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot will play the Flying Monkey Movie House and Performance Center in Plymouth at 7:30 p.m. Friday. It’s DelGuidice’s first official visit to the Granite State.

“We’ll play a lot of Billy stuff — the big hits, of course, and some rare stuff, too,” he said. “We might do an acoustic set, maybe an original or two. We could do some classical rock stuff, too — Led Zeppelin or Journey. It’s kind of like a Billy show. A lot of it is unscripted.”

DelGuidice both is playing with Big Shot and touring with Joel, but he pays homage to his Long Island, N.Y., roots as well.

“I play at Mulcahy’s (Pub and Concert Hall in Nassau County) in Wantagh throughout the year,” he said. “I’m always doing private parties and town events, too.”

When he is home in Miller Place in Suffolk County, however, he said he is in family mode.

“I’m always busy with my family,” he said. “I have two daughters, both in their 20s, and two teenage boys.”

He’s learned a lot of life along the way.

“I wish that I would have listened more to people that were influential in my life,” DelGuidice said. “I always had my own way of doing things. I always wanted to go my own way.

“I would not do anything differently, but I might have wanted to learn from it a little earlier,” he said with a laugh.

He attributes his faith to getting through any low points.

“All I know is that every time I try something, it doesn’t work. When I don’t try something, it works,” he said. “I attribute that to God. I stay out of his way more now. Call it ‘God’ or ‘karma’ in the spiritual sense ... I’m just going to ride the wave and let the wave take me where it takes me.”


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