Phil Gianniny Dies

Phillip Allen Gianniny died on Saturday at the age of 31. Phil, a former member of The Hogwaller Ramblers and The Hackensaw Boys, was perhaps best known to Charlottesvillians for playing banjo on the Downtown Mall. He could be an ornery cuss; Phil was kicked out of just about every bar in Charlottesville, at one time or another. But he could also be a sweet guy, and he was a hell of a musician. Substance abuse made his path in life a rocky one, but he’ll be missed just the same.

4 Responses to “Phil Gianniny Dies”


  • The memorial service is at 2:00 on Friday, December 29th, at the Methodist Church on Hinton Avenue, I believe.

    I did have to kick him out of Court Square Tavern once, but he was really nice about it. I’d been told by another bartender that he had a tendency not to pay. But, he was a nice guy, really charming, and so I just let him go that night without paying for his drinks. Maybe that was his way, but I didn’t care so much.

    I’m hoping to have a podcast of some of his music posted at some point, and there are also plans in the works to have a memorial concert to benefit his daughter.

  • I desperately want to get a hold of a copy of his CD if anyone can help me out.

  • Yikes, I’m really sorry to hear that. It really makes me wish I’d spent more time getting to know him.

    I knew him from back in Seventh and Eighth grade when we went to Miller School together (back when it was Military). Back then, believe it or not, we called him “Rambo” because he was really into war games and his walls were covered with posters of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold. There were some kids sent to Miller because their parents thought they were “bad” kids, and some who chose to go because they were really militant. Believe it or not, I suspect he was one of the later.

    After school, it was years later that I ran into him on the downtown mall busking singing songs about peace and love. I didn’t even recognize him until he told me who he was. We joked a bit about how military school tends to change even the most militant in ways most people wouldn’t expect…

    I’ve enjoyed the music of The Hogwaller Ramblers and The Hackensaw Boys over the years, and he’s one of several connections I have to those folks. My heart goes out to his band members. I think Phil was one of those unique people that makes this town such a great place to live. It’s truly a shame that we all couldn’t have gotten a chance to see what he’d done with his life if given another thirty of forty years. I know that that he’ll be remembered well for his contributions to local culture.

    Lonnie

  • PHIL WAS DEAR, SWEET, FUNNY, AND JUST LIKE A SON TO ME. PHIL YOU PLAYED BEAUTIFUL MUSIC AND WROTE WONDERFUL LYRICS(SOME OF WHICH MADE US LAUGH) THANK GOODNESS. LIKE FRIED POTATOES, AND HOEDOWN TONIGHT. BUT THEN OF COURSE THERE WAS THAT MOST WONDERFUL SONG THAT I’LL ALWAYS LOVE SO MUCH (MEMORY LANE). THOSE WHO KNEW PHIL KNOW ALL TOO WELL THE SONGS I SPEEK OF. YOU MADE US LAUGH AND CRY. DANCE AND CLAP. YOU HAD YOUR SET OF PROBLEMS BUT DON’T WE ALL. I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO SAY HOW MUCH I’LL MISS YOU MY BOY. THE WORLD IS AT A LOSE FOR WHAT YOU COULD HAVE GIVEN THEM, BUT WANT BE HERE TO GIVE. AND I’LL MISS NEVER HEARING YOU SAY H I M A W AS YOU THROW YOUR ARMS AROUND ME AND GIVE ME SUCH A LOVING HUG.
    R. I. P.
    MAY GODS BEST BE YOURS
    MAWMAWHACKENSAW

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