Tony Savarino: ‘Guitaresque’ hero

Tony Savarino loves that dirty water.

Being able to call yourself Boston-based is one thing — Boston-bred is another. They don’t come more homegrown than South Boston native Tony Savarino, who still lives in Fort Point, near where he grew up. His new record, “Guitaresque,” is the result of the city’s musical stew. 

“Two of my favorite guitarists in the whole world live in Boston: Duke Levine and Kevin Barry,” says Savarino, name-checking two players whose collective resumes include Peter Wolf, J. Geils Band, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ray Lamontagne and Paula Cole. Levine guests on “Guitaresque.”

“Basically, I’m ripping off a lot from Duke and I’m not ashamed to say that. He and Kevin mentored me quite a bit. They are kind of like the roots guitar gods. My codenames for them is that Duke Levine is Yoda and Kevin is Obi-Wan Kenobi,” he laughs, before saying, “Yeah, I’m a total geek.”

By day, Savarino is a guitar teacher, and his student alums’ bands include The Luxury and The Crushing Low. But he also counts hobbyists and would-be rockers as clients.

“Because of where I live, a lot of my students work in the Financial District. I teach guitar to most of the 1 percent,” he jokes.

Savarino also plays in local psych rockers Black Fortress of Opium. As a self-confessed former heavy metal kid, Savarino’s objective was to create music with broader appeal than the widdly-diddly extravaganzas of Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. Once again, Boston stepped up.

“I have to thank the city of Boston, because Boston has great college radio stations. They exposed me to so much different music: Weird ’50s instrumental music; French pop from the ’60s. I’m listening to this all the time … and thinking of ways to make guitar music without it sounding all, I don’t know, Cirque du Soleil — music that’s proficient, but doesn’t say anything.” 

If you go

Tony Savarino and The Savtones

Tonight, 9
Lizard Lounge
1667 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$10, 21+, 617-547-0759


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