Remembering a Brother, Friend, and Bandmate
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Guy Tetro was a man who was passionate about his interests, especially music. He was an active community member in Rutherford who used his creative talents to inspire and enhance the lives of others. Unfortunately, his life was cut too short.
Guy and his brother Ray both caught COVID-19 in March as the pandemic had just begun to affect our community. After spending five days at the hospital, Ray’s fever broke, his health improved, and he was sent home. On the same day, his brother Guy was admitted into the hospital. Unfortunately, Guy never recovered and passed away on April 5th, 2020.
After the tragedy of losing a brother and a friend, Ray Tetro wanted to find a way to keep his brother Guy’s memory alive through the music Guy, Ray, and their bandmates created together. Guy always loved music and as a musician, he formed a band, Precious Bones, in 2012. The band members joined together to compile a CD which includes Guy’s guitar parts that were recorded before he passed away. This is Rutherford spoke with Ray Tetro to learn more about Guy, the band, and their recently released CD.
TIR: Can you tell us a little about your brother Guy? What do you hope people remember about him?
Ray Tetro: My brother was passionate about the arts, specifically music but also poetry and community organizing. He started his own arts and entertainment magazine (Hipnosis) back in the ’90s focusing on the New Jersey scene. Guy started the North Jersey Geeks and Nerds Facebook group getting people together for games at Jim Dandy’s a few nights a week. They also would go as a group to the Williams Center for movies together. Guy had served as a Rutherford Civil Rights Commissioner.
TIR: When did Guy start the band that you ultimately joined?
RT: Back in 2011 Guy was playing with some other musician in another project. I encouraged Guy to switch to Bass guitar since they had two guitars and were looking for a bass player. I lent him my Bass and he never looked back. I am a lifelong bass player and Guy had played keyboards and guitar most of his life. Shortly after the other guitar player left and the singer switched to drums (laughs), Guy took that opportunity to start again and started the band Precious Bones in 2012. Named after seeing an archeologist refer to a dig as a need to preserve these precious bones. They found a new singer, Antoine, but needed a new guitarist. I had always fooled around on guitar but had never played in a band as a guitarist. I agreed to join and help them get going so they could play some shows. It was always my intention to leave since I was running for Rutherford Council and wanted to focus on that. The band got a lot of great opportunities early on and it made leaving a lot less attractive, so I stuck it out. In our time we played at some great venues like Governors Island, Liberty State Park, Webster Hall, The Stone Pony, Brighton Bar, and Legendary Maxwells in Hoboken. We opened for Dramarama a few times, Richard Barone of The Bongos where we were invited back up on stage during his set to be his backup band for several Bongos songs, David Johannsen, who was Buster Pointdexter in the 80’s, and also of The New York Dolls in the 70’s, and Cory Glover of Living Color.
TIR: Can you describe the role that music played in Guy’s life and in your own?
RT: Guy was a big music fan. Some of his favorite bands were Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy, and The Smiths. He tended to like more of the underground music. My taste in music was very different from Guy’s, but I have a varied taste. My first favorite bands were Def Leppard and Duran Duran. More recently I listen to Tool and The Red Hot Chili Peppers quite a bit. John Frusciante of The Chilli Peppers is somewhat of an inspiration to me and my switch to guitar.
TIR: What is the name of the CD? Where can it be purchased?
RT: Back in our first year together we hastily put an EP together and keeping with the bones theme we called it “Fracture”. We decided to again keep with that theme for our full length album and call it “Magna Fractura”. The album, which was released on August 10th, is available in physical CD’s and digitally. https://linktr.ee/preciousbones
TIR: Why did you and the band decide to put this CD together?
RT: This CD is a way to celebrate a band that lasted almost 10 years. We played our first show at The Clash Bar in Clifton in June 2012. I really feel like these are a collection of good songs and that if people would give them a chance they will like them. After my brother died for me the album changed to being more of immortalizing my brother's legacy.
This is Rutherford also spoke to the members of the band, Precious Bones.
TIR: How did you know Guy?
Eddie Gomez: Growing up in North Bergen in the late 70’s/ early 80’s, I happened to meet the Tetro Brothers, Guy and Ray, because the house my parents had was behind where Guy and Ray grew up. In between our properties was an undeveloped piece of land that had crabapple trees growing wildly on it. Every morning when I would come out to play in my yard I would see crabapples strewn all around the yard. I found this very strange since there was no way they could fall in my yard from all the way where they were growing. I would happily throw them back over towards where the trees were to see how far I can throw them. One morning, I caught Ray throwing them from his property onto mine. We then met up on that piece of land he brought Guy and some other friends and I had Danny and some other friends with me and we ended up having a crabapple fight complete with trash can lids as shields. We had a blast and ended up becoming the best of friends. We have had the best times together as a group of close friends from North Bergen that ended up joining the North Bergen Players and have had so many get-togethers to this day. We also formed different bands together from Revelation to just jamming together. I am thankful to be part of that time.
Antoine Poncelet: I didn't know Guy before I joined Precious Bones. He was someone that it seems everybody knew and everyone loved; this underground legend like the Toxic Avenger.
Alexandra Del Sole: I met Guy when I first joined the band and we bonded right away being vegetarians.
TIR: When did you join the Band?
EG: I was asked to join Precious Bones by Guy and Ray back in March of 2019 for a reunion show that they were planning at The Clash bar and lounge in Clifton in May 2019. I have enjoyed every second of this amazing band. I immediately grooved perfectly with Guy, Ray, Antoine and Alexandra. The energy and songs that we performed were so fun to play and it was great to watch the audience interact with us. I am truly blessed to have been part of this project and to have the pleasure of playing music with Guy. Guy loved playing music and he always told me how much he loved playing with the three of us together.
AP: In early 2012 I saw an ad on Craigslist.org from a local band that was looking for a theatrical lead singer like Peter Murphy or Iggy Pop. At that time, I hadn't been in a band for years and was just itching to finally be able to again. I replied to the ad immediately, sent this guy named "Guy" some strange recordings and videos I’d done on my own, and oddly enough he wrote back asking me to come audition for him and the band. As it turns out, the band at the time was just Guy and his friend Dave Corizzi. Luckily, they liked me and I liked them and things took off from there.
ADS: I joined in 2012.
TIR: What instrument do you play?
EG: I have been playing the drums since I was 15 when Ray wanted me to play in the band that he and Guy had. We were heavily influenced by Duran Duran, so I ended up renting a set of drums from O’DiBella’s Music in Bergenfield and having Ray’s mom drive the drums to Rob’s house in Cliffside Park where we would rehearse. It was a work in progress because I was learning the drums as I went. Since then I have played the Bass and Guitar also. But drums are my first love and passion. I am grateful for Guy and Ray bringing me into the love of music by being part of the birth of some of the songs that are on the current album like “Goodtimes”, “All She Wants”, and “Mysterio.”
AP: I sing and play the guitar.
ADS: I sing backup vocals, and play percussion/ tambourine.
TIR: What can you tell us about your friendship with Guy and share a special memory?
EG: Guy was very animated, Always had an opinion but always made you feel very important when listening to your side of things. He was caring and creative. Ray and I would always be goofing around and always on the edge of trouble, but Guy would either partake in our goofiness or watch over us and protect us when needed. We certainly had a great childhood with our friendship and our adventures. He is missed dearly for all of the talks and moments that we shared together musically.
AP: Guy was a character and certainly one of the funniest and warmest people I've ever met. We could fight about something silly because we were so passionate about everything and then be hugging and talking about Star Wars or Joy Division the next minute. He was also pretty inspirational despite the fact that his humor was pretty dark. One particular memory of playing with him was a perfect example of this. A couple of years into the band, Guy had a stroke and was told that it would take at least a year to get back the strength and dexterity he had developed playing guitar and bass his whole life. However, because of his love for the band and music, he willed and fought to regain his abilities day and night. Halfway through the set of a show we were playing only a month or two later, opening for rock heroes of ours, Dramarama, I looked over at Guy and his image was forever emblazoned in my mind. He was still too weak to stand, so he sat on a stool. His eyes were closed, he was swaying to the music, he was playing like he never missed a beat, and his smile was a thousand miles wide. What a lesson he taught us all about friendship and music without saying a word.
ADS: Guy knew I struggled with stage fright in the beginning. From day one he would always be encouraging when I stepped into the rehearsal space and made sure to give me a compliment after every session to build up my confidence. He was always encouraging. I think some of my favorite moments are when we would be excited to tell each other about a new vegetarian recipe we tried.
TIR: Why was it important to you that the band create this CD in Guy’s memory?
EG: It was so important because Guy loved that something that he was a big part of creating would finally go out to the masses to entertain them and interpret the songs to their own needs. Guy was not a big fan of recording, so to get through the songs so Ray could produce, took a lot of effort from Guy. In the end, Guy would be so proud and happy to see the fruit of his labor come to light! This made it extra important for the four of us to make sure this album was completed so Guy can continue to make people happy through music while he smiles down on us from Heaven.
AP: I believe in the afterlife and I knew if we didn't finish this CD for ourselves, our friends, our families that Guy would haunt us all. We owed it to him and we owed it to ourselves. This was the dream we all shared. These were the songs we wrote and played and lived for years. I wish Guy was here now in the physical sense so that we could play these songs together again, but this album and the memories of the years it took to get to it will have to do. The album really does bring back all the "good times" we shared and I hope that people get to hear it and sense some of the joy we shared as friends, brothers, and a sister, and in a band with Guy.
ADS: There are many bands around the world but there was something so special about the chemistry we all have. Having my brother Antoine in the band and then Guy and Ray being siblings with our drummer Eddie who is their childhood friend created an organic magical family band. Not only is our music densely influenced by Guy and his creativity it needs to be immortalized so those songs can be played forever. The universe works in strange ways as we know. We were very lucky to have finished recording right before lockdowns. It is a project that came together even in the hardest year of our lives. It’s only fair the angels get to hear it as well.