Sound and the Fury

Rick Sciaraffa, RIP

It’s not exactly traditional for a rosary to be followed by a public visitation at a rock club, but it was a perfectly fitting way for friends to say farwell to Rick Sciaraffa.

Sciaraffa, longtime owner of the White Rabbit, passed away on Thursday, May 10, at the age of 44, and his viewing at the White Rabbit on Saturday afternoon drew a packed crowd of local music scenesters, as well as many musicians from other parts of the country.

Sciaraffa, an SA native who received a law degree from St. Mary’s University, was a child of the 1970s and a devoted listener to what would eventually be known as classic rock. He combined his legal knowledge and musical passions to handle legal work for original White Rabbit owner Jordan Silver, eventually deciding to buy the club from Silver.

“He was definitely in his element, because he loved rock ’n’ roll,” says Erica Vigliante, promoter for Twin Productions, who has brought countless shows to the White Rabbit. “He loved everything about music. He was just the hippie guy at any of those shows, dancing around. That’s what he really loved.”

The White Rabbit found its niche with the city’s diehard, heavy-metal community, but occasionally moved out of its comfort zone with performers such as Frank Black, Government Mule, and a Doors tribute band.

As a club owner, Sciaraffa was an unusual mix of bottom-line business acumen and eternal teenage fan. “When he really wanted to do something for himself, he would,” Vigliante recalls. “Like, he did two nights in a row of Thin Lizzy. He just wanted to do it, he didn’t care if he lost money or made money. He loved the band so much.

“That was the great thing about Rick. As a concert promoter, he was about making money, but he was also all about having a good time. And when he was at that club you could see him having a good time.”

Sciaraffa sold the club to his father, Richard Sciaraffa Sr., in October, 2005, and Vigliante says the passionate outdoorsman spent much of his subsequent time traveling. She says at the time of his death he was tanned and robust, working out at Concord Gym on a daily basis.  

“He went to Greece, he went to Mexico, and he had a blast,” she says. “He would always come by the club and I’d be pulling my hair out because of a show and he would say, ‘I’m just glad it ain’t me,’ and walk off.

— Gilbert Garcia

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