Alexander Micucci

Obituary of Alexander Micucci

Alexander S. Micucci died at home from heart failure early Sunday morning , May 23. Al was 71 and his health had been in a gradual decline over the past few years, but it took a precipitous plunge in the past several months. Al was born in Philadelphia to second generation Italians on April 4, 1950 and grew up in Wildwood , NJ. He bought his own Gretsch drum set at age 16, working at Palumbo’s Pharmacy during summers and after school to earn the money . Al was a completely self-taught drummer, practicing in his bedroom for hours every day . In high school he joined his first band , The Agents, thus beginning his professional career as a drummer . After graduating high school in 1968 (Catholic Wildwood) the Vietnam War was in full swing and Al made the decision to enlist in the army , thinking he could be trained as a cook and baker, at the very least gaining a trade . The Army and Al were an immediate mismatch and soon realizing his mistake , he went AWOL and was on the lam for 5 years. It was during this tumultuous time that Al showed up in Ithaca hearing that it was a liberal bastion with conscientious objectors that could provide help. Al arrived on a greyhound bus in November 1969 with a single suitcase wearing a wig to disguise his military buzzcut . His mother sent his drums to him a few months later, again via Greyhound . While incognito, Al took on the name Al Hartland , which is how many people know him and he started playing music locally . Al Hartland fast earned a reputation for being an in-the-pocket drummer and became the first choice for many singers and musicians. Al was proud of being a lifelong professional musician in and around Ithaca for more than 50 years. Just a handful of the local groups Al played in are Hot Sweets, Jamo band, the Burns Sisters, the Pirates, the Flyboys, the Jive Bombers ,Bernie Milton , Bernie Upson, Bert Sahl ,Steve Southworth and the Rockabilly Rays, Werband, Outfront, Dazz, Joe McConnell’s Big Band , Joe Salzano , Rising Sign, Djug Django and his own Al Hartland trio , to name but a few. In addition Al played on numerous recordings with musicians such as Ray Repp, Tony Trishka, Russ Barenburg, John Slate’s Standard Persona, Molly McMillan, Dave Davies and others. He also played several Rock and Roll Revival shows at Madison Square Garden , backing the likes of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, The Coasters and the Platters as a member of the Bobbie Comstock/Brian Miles band . In 1974 during the amnesty period following the end of the Vietnam War, Al turned himself in to Fort Leonard Wood and received an Undesirable Discharge from the Army, concluding 5 years of paranoia and uncertainty. Al was also an accomplished model builder, having two cover stories in Military Modeler magazine and a photo in the Reader’s Gallery of FineScale Modeler magazine. His expertise in painting small objects allowed him to paint the planets for Carl Sagan’s Planet Walk, arranged by his old friend, Skip Davis. In addition, he was a great amateur chef doing almost all of the cooking for wife, Cindy, including his homemade pizza every Friday and beautiful loaves of bread. He loved all creatures and took enormous pleasure in feeding and interacting with the plethora of wildlife that visited his side yard to eat seeds and peanuts. Al was predeceased by his parents , Alexander U. Micucci and Christine J. Micucci and beloved cats ,Roscoe (2001), Yuliy (2010) and Pokie (2020). He is survived by his wife of almost 36 years, Cindy Reid , a brother, John Micucci (N.J) and two cats, Cato and Ollie. Cindy would like to thank Al’s doctors, specifically his cardiologist for 13 years, Jennifer Hughey (MS, CRNP) ; his nephrologist, Dr .Dana Negoi and his Peritoneal Nurses , Nicole and Leah who all tended to Al with great care and kindness. A memorial will be announced at a later date, but in the meanwhile ,Al’s musical friends Djug Django are playing an outdoor benefit to help defray his medical debts at South Hill Cider, 550 Sandbank Rd (near Upper Buttermilk) , Monday May 31st from 5:30 - 8:30 PM. All are welcome.
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