LFO’s Brad Fischetti finds faith in long drive to Buffalo | Music
About four minutes into each set he played with boy band O-Town circa 2000, Brad Fischetti interrupts the pop music and, with soft piano tones billowing like stage fog, tells a story to His public.
“If you know the LFO,” he says, “you know the LFO is three.”
Fischetti, 46, was one-third of the late ’90s band that sold millions of records with rap-infused radio hits like “Summer Girls,” “Girl on TV” and “Every Other Time.” The other two members were Rich Cronin, the band’s frontman and primary songwriter, and Harold “Devin” Lima, LFO vocalist.
With one hand on a mic stand that sports Cronin’s white Adidas shoes and Lima’s red kicks laced to the top, Fischetti reminds the audience why he now performs as the only member of the LFO. Cronin was diagnosed with leukemia in 2005 and died five years later, aged 35. In the fall of 2017, just weeks after completing an LFO comeback tour with Fischetti, Lima was also diagnosed with cancer. After a one year fight, he died at 41 years old.
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Fischetti, who lived in the same Orlando-area community as Lima and took long walks with him to talk about music, family and the unknowns of the universe, was devastated by the death of his best friend. After struggling and praying about whether to continue with LFO, Fischetti decided to move forward, touring with all four members of O-Town to perform a 15-minute set of LFO songs incorporated into their headlining show.
Their tour arrives in Niagara Falls this week, with a September 10 performance at the Evening Star Concert Hall.
During the show, with the members of O-Town standing behind him on stage, Fischetti will ask the audience to join him in a moment of silence. “If you pray, I want you to pray,” he will say. “If you’re a vibe-er, I want you to flood the heavens with your good thoughts.”
At this point, Fischetti is often pointing skyward. Watch closely as he does, and you’ll notice that most prominent among his sleeve of tattoos is a rosary that wraps around his right forearm.
Fischetti is, in his language, a prayer. He hasn’t always been, but the faith he now possesses – a faith that is so deep that his day job involves overseeing operations and music at a Catholic church near Orlando – is rooted in a long trip to Buffalo that he made two decades ago. It’s a story that happened after his initial pop fame subsided, and involves a group of then-teenage musicians from Western New York who had their own special bond, dreams, and challenges.
The story is told here in the words of those involved, slightly edited for clarity:
In the early 2000s, shortly after LFO’s hiatus, Fischetti launched a music label, OneEleven Records. One of his talent scouts flagged Jinxed, a teen rock trio from Lockport, and Fischetti signed the band.
Soon after, Jinxed was in Florida and later Los Angeles to begin work on an album that eventually became “Beyond the Obvious”, their only release under OneEleven Records. They toured, played Kissmas Bash on WKSE-FM, and served one season as the house band for the Comedy Central show “Premium Blend” in New York.
Kristen Reilly, singer and guitarist: “We had this beautiful sweet spot of being young, open-minded, fresh, excited and able to play every day.”
Sarah Danna, bassist: “It was such a romantic time in our lives. We were going to concerts all the time and playing records over and over and over again. It was really a love affair with music.
But all was not charming. Throughout her teenage years, Danna had struggled with medical issues that doctors could never figure out. She had persistent pain and seizures and saw a number of specialists. Eventually, doctors at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center diagnosed her with carcinoid syndrome and continued to investigate the causes of her discomfort.
Dana: “I was in extraordinary pain, and we couldn’t understand why. On tour, it hit me out of nowhere. It wouldn’t have a trigger. I would be fine, I would laugh, and then I would just be double-crossed.
One night, a member of another band touring with Jinxed saw Danna fall. He grabbed her and carried her off stage.
Jenna Rocco, drummer: “It was really scary. There was just no movement when she suffered these attacks.
One night in Poughkeepsie, Danna had a particularly bad episode. Fischetti took her to the emergency room, where doctors told her that scans had revealed a tumor in her abdomen. They wanted to operate.
Fischetti, to the doctor at this hospital (from his recollections and those of Rocco): “Wow, not here. Absolutely not. You don’t know her story. She’s 17. Her parents aren’t here.
Fischetti, who was driving Jinxed in a rented motorhome and hauling a trailer, began the nearly six-hour journey. Danna, who was medicated and sleepy, rested on her back. Rocco and Reilly were wide awake as Fischetti rode through the stormy night, making his way along dark highways and two-lane country roads. As the rain poured down and his thoughts raced, he blasted the music of heavy metal band System of a Down.
Fischetti: “I’m exhausted. I need gas and I stop, but I missed the turn for the gas station. I drive on this two-lane road in the middle of nowhere for 15 minutes until what I find a place to turn around.
He saw a state police station and stopped. But as Fischetti tried to maneuver a turn, he heard a crack. The motorhome was stuck on rocks in the parking lot. As he was going out to find a solution, a state trooper stopped by.
Rider, to Fischetti: “Don’t you see that sign? It says “No trucks”. ”
Fischetti: “I’m sorry officer. I’m just trying to get this girl to her cancer hospital. She is really sick.
Fischetti: “I’m in this parking lot. I’m stuck in the middle of the night. It’s raining cats and dogs. So what do I do? Pray. For the first time in years.
Fischetti, who was born a Catholic and deepened his faith as a young adult, used to lead LFO in prayer before each show. But then a series of events, including a story he saw of the brutal murder of three young children, caused him to question the existence of God.
Fischetti: “I put the Bible away. I stopped leading us in prayer before shows. I stopped believing it. »
Now, a few years later, Fischetti realized he needed some superior form of help to get Danna safely back to his family and doctors in Buffalo.
Fischetti: “I said, ‘God, if you get me out of this, I’m going to give myself to you.’ ”
Fischetti found a way to loosen the stuck tires.
Rocco : “He got out and, with some sort of superhuman strength, lifted the bus off that rock and got us back to the right size and back on the road.”
Hours later, in the morning light, Fischetti and Jinxed pulled up to Roswell, where the girls’ families were waiting. Danna spent the next few weeks in the hospital, with Reilly and Rocco sleeping most nights, and eventually regained better health.
The band continued under Fischetti’s leadership until all three women reached college age and decided it was time to move on. Now in their 30s, they remain close to each other and to Fischetti, who has prayerfully kept his promise to fully recommit to that faith. He talks about it in interviews, includes a Bible verse with his autograph, and references it on stage.
Fischetti: “I’ve been through some really tough times and just turned to church. … If you believe in God, I’m so excited for you.
O-Town with Brad Fischetti
September 10 at the Evening Star Concert Hall, 8810 Niagara Falls Blvd., Niagara Falls. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the show, and $40 Pit Pass for standing room in front of the stage (purplepass.com).