In Memoriam: Frank Daley (1959-2022)
When Frank Daley got onstage to sit in with a band, the energy in the room would tilt on an invisible axis. People loved to see and hear him play. After decades on the stage, Frank continued to play his guitars with a fire and fever that so many musicians lose over time. He retained a firm grip on the essence of stage performance – I’ve played dozens of gigs with Frank and felt the sincerity in every note that came off his guitar. You’ve felt it, too, if you were lucky enough to hear him do his thing.
Frank was a favorite son of Troy, NY. He grew up there, developed considerable guitar skills at an early age, and gained legendary status while still in his twenties. He and his two brothers, Jack and Joe, are known collectively as The Daley Brothers; their renown is heralded far and wide for their unique talents and rare musical chemistry. Frank had two loving sisters, Tracey and Colleen, both gifted artists. He was the son of Peggy and Frank Sr, who he adored. Frank left this earth unexpectedly on Monday, December 19. It is now a much-altered place, for hundreds of his friends and loved ones.
Frank and Jack wrote and recorded music together in their formative years. Frank went on to play in the fabulous local bands Proto Foto, Chris Busone and the Rain, The Daley Brothers Band, and others. He nurtured the raw, budding talents of Joe and a high-school-aged Kenny Hohman, often sneaking both kids into clubs to further their music education. He also taught guitar lessons; dozens of his former students credit Frank as a teacher who inspired their love of the guitar.
Frank moved to New York City, where he developed relationships with a who’s-who of NYC musicians. Joe joined him there, and the two became inseparable, with nightly adventures in the legendary music clubs on the West Side. He worked in one of the city’s most excellent guitar shops, Rudy’s Guitars, a major hub for musical legends and celebrities looking to acquire the finest instruments. Frank had a comprehensive, endless knowledge of vintage guitars and amps; his friends enjoyed talking gear with him, especially Joe Mele, with whom he shared a love of all things guitars and cars.
Frank had a 10-year gig with legend Bo Diddley, touring the world and living the life on the road that we musicians dream of as kids. I met Frank during this time. I was 22 and had just started playing music with Joe and Kenny in Super 400. I had been inducted into this magical and intimidating new world of friends and was most often the only girl hanging in the inner circle of musicians. Frank had a huge presence – beautiful dark eyes, thick wavy hair, a strong jaw, and what appeared to be a brooding disposition. At this point in my life, I was accustomed to being treated like a ‘chick’ in musical circles and was prepared to prove myself to my new friends. I learned quickly that Frank was gentle and friendly. He spoke with me on the level and put me at ease. I was struck by his impeccable taste in everything – guitars, clothes, cars, and later, vintage furniture. He helped Joe, Kenny and I deck out our downtown apartments in style and was generous with his advice and kindness. If Frank thought something was cool, that was enough for us. We had to check it out. He had a James-Dean-level mystique and we idolized him.
During the 27 years, I knew Frank, I witnessed his loyalty to friends and family over and over again. He never wasted his time on anything but the truth. He had an exceptional life partner in Judy Engel. Their business, Modern on the Hudson, is a regional landmark for extraordinary vintage furniture. They raised a beautiful and kind daughter, Ruby, who reflects her dad’s very best qualities. He would light up when talking with her or about her, and it was lovely to witness the tender relationship Frank and Ruby shared all her life. Frank was also a surrogate big brother to dozens of Capital Region musical figures, including Kenny Hohman, Carl Ferrito, Matt Mirable, Jeremy Walz, Josh Bloomfield, and many more.
Frank frequented live music venues constantly. If you looked out from the stage and spotted him, you would feel lifted up by his presence, inspired to play your very best. He was definitely listening; the heat was on! He was a most welcome guest player at our weekly gigs with the Family Tree in Saratoga, where he’d elevate the spirits in the room with his killer take on the Blues. Frank had a fierce right hand and I loved his rhythm playing. I could lean back into a groove with him, no need to exchange glances as we shared an unseeable bond in the moment. His lead playing was one hundred percent honest. He wanted every moment to mean something and put his whole heart into ‘whipping up some dust’, making it happen, sending the sound out into the ether.
Frank experienced life on another plane – he elevated every room he was in, and he was loyal to every friend he had. Frank knew everybody, it seemed, and everybody knew him. He was so very loved. We hope he knew that. The measure of loss is a reflection of the love we gave. As Joe put it, ‘it’s time to celebrate and remember’. There will be services for Frank, the information is below. Also, Family Tree will have a musical celebration on Monday, December 26 at Putnam Place in Saratoga at 7 pm. Please join us as we lift our hearts in honor of Frank.
Services for Frank Daley:
Relatives and friends may call at the Bryce Funeral Home, Inc. 276 Pawling Avenue Troy on Tuesday, December 27, 2022 from 4-7 PM.
The funeral service will be held Wednesday at 10 AM at the funeral home.