LAKEWOOD RANCH — When the music faded to silence, Matt Facciolla turned to paint.
The 40-year-old singer/songwriter, who’s held a guitar since he learned his first three cords at 12 years old, moved in 2000 to Los Angeles with his roommate Dave Schulz, of the Goo Goo Dolls.
But the music never came.
Within two years, the fledgling songwriter sought something more secure and ventured to Sarasota to open a painting business.
Now, near the end of a whirlwind year opening shows for the Outlaws, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Goo Goo Dolls and the J. Geils Band, the Sarasota-based Matt Facciolla Band, Facciolla and his band mates, Joe Fanara and Wes Price, got the signature they need to keep the music coming.
After years of courting manager Jimmy Pendolino, who formerly worked for Aerosmith and Peter Gabriel, Pendolino finally signed on to manage the Matt Facciolla Band after he saw them play in person Aug. 31, at a show with the famed blues group, the J. Geils Band, in Buffalo, N.Y.
Now, the Matt Facciolla Band awaits the Nov. 9 release party for its second album, “Second Chances,” at Ace’s Live in Bradenton.
“I wouldn’t say this means we made it, because making it to me means being able to write and play music again,” says Facciolla, a Lakewood Ranch resident. “But it means we can get into doors that would be hard to get into our own. We’re finally getting national attention now. ”
Facciolla couldn’t envision this scenario 10 years ago — or even 20 years ago.
He was born in Detroit, where hard-rock music paced life, but he spent most of his childhood in Buffalo, N.Y., where he grew up with Fanara, the band’s bass player. Facciolla joined a cover band called TDM at 14 years old.
He would also sit in on sessions with Fanara’s cover band, which the bass player formed with George Neeno, a current contributor to the Matt Facciolla Band.
Facciolla struggled to sing other artists’ songs, and, in a few-year stretch, was kicked out of about 10 garage bands until he found the itch to write original lyrics.
So Facciolla started Electric Bushman, an original band whose second album, “Sink,” was written up in Billboard magazine and caught the attention of the 1996 Atlantic Olympics, where the band performed with Gin Blossoms, Jewel and others.
Then, in his prime as an artist, Facciolla fled to L.A., the heart of the music scene.
Lonely without his family and overwhelmed by the transient lifestyle around him, L.A. zapped the energy out of Facciolla. His two years living on the West Coast started a four-year period when Facciolla never picked up a pen.
“I had no inspiration to write,” Facciolla says. “L.A. can suck the creativity right out of you. I don’t know if you can call it writer’s block, because I’m not sure that really exists. It was just so opposite to Buffalo. It didn’t work out.”
At a wall with chasing a music industry he never truly embraced, Facciolla married in L.A., had a child and struggled financially until he moved in 2002 to Sarasota.
Here, he helped found Elite Painting & Design, which paints houses and plazas in Lakewood Ranch.
“I just met the right people,” Facciolla says. “My family friend wanted to start a high-end paint company, and he thought I’d be perfect to run it.”
Facciolla divorced, remarried, had another daughter, Kate, and reunited with Fanara,
The two quickly began writing music together, and Facciolla drew inspiration from the people around him.
“I don’t know what sparked me to write again,” Facciolla says. “Sometimes, the songs just come out of nowhere. It could be something around me that I see. Or it could be something someone says that gets me writing. I write where my head is.”
Facciolla wrote a song called “Jimmy in the Jungle” about a monkey drinking rum.
He wrote songs about his daughters, 3-year-old Kate and 10-year-old Madison.
His song, “Undone,” appeared in the 2011 movie, “The Final Night and Day.”
In 2009, the Matt Facciolla Band released its first album, “Songs for a Needy World,” while recording “Second Chances.”
Facciolla and his band also recently agreed to perform at the January 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Although Facciolla admits the edge of success feels different at 40 than it would if he were young, the joy of writing and the thrill of an audience stay the same.
“We have a great opportunity late in the game,” Facciolla says. “After all these years running around, it’s still the same. You have to win a crowd. And when we go out and have to prove ourselves, we do great in that situation.”
Contact Josh Siegel at [email protected].