My purpose in writing this Way Too Fast book about Danny DeGennaro is to introduce the reader/listener to the life and music of Danny, a supremely gifted singer, songwriter and guitarist who narrowly missed the recognition during his life that his talents deserved. By placing his writing, singing and playing in the context of his life and the times we have all endured, I hope to show how his struggles and triumphs mirrored those of his friends, his community, his generation, his country. Every American from the baby boom forward has had to engage in a great reckoning, redefining our place in the world as sustaining institutions declined, opportunities went elsewhere, and America reinvented itself repeatedly. Danny's life reflected that great American reckoning, His music transformed it to art. John J. Farmer, Jr.
“Way Too Fast” is a remarkable blend of biography and memoir that captures nothing less than the soul – of an artist, a fan, a community, and a generation... to tell the tale of a charismatic protagonist named Danny DeGennaro, a virtuoso guitar player/songwriter with demons and angels in equal measure..." Mitchell Zuckoff, New York Times bestselling author of “Fall and Rise” and “13 Hours".
"The end, when it came, was crazy and sudden and violent, but that wasn’t the shocking part, not really; Danny had always lived out “on the edge of time,” as he put it. No. The shocking part was that when the end came, it came at the end of a sawed-off shotgun, and in the least likely place: home.
Yes, somehow everything else led to this: Danny back home in Levittown, PA after so many years and so much wandering, both parents and his wife gone, sitting in his mother’s kitchen again after thousands of miles, the gigs played in stadiums, parks, garages, yards, cafes and bars and beaches, the great nights getting wasted and playing for the sheer beauty until dawn, the addictions and the rehabs, the true loves and the failed loves as well, the moments of soaring voice married to mournful guitar, the years of so much joy and hilarity and heartache, so many years spent looking in so many places for … for what? For sex, for love, for friends, for stardom, for God, sometimes just for a fix.
"In the end something he wasn’t looking for came looking for him. It hunted him down, running the bridge across the river from the Jersey side, from Perry Street in Trenton, running the tape backwards through his life, unwinding it back until it found him where the journey began, back home in Levittown after everything else, sitting at the kitchen table three days after Christmas....
"In the years since Danny's death, the brightness of the music he played and left has grown, along with the only sustaining cultural institution that hasn’t crumbled: friendships. Part of every one who was there at the Dead End in Levittown is still walking through those woods after dinner as the autumn leaves fall, listening for it, then hearing it, Danny’s acoustic guitar and soulful voice catching – no, becoming – the spirit of that place and time, the feeling of walking through those woods in the crisp air with the leaves falling in the 1970s in the fading days of our youth, the feeling of time passing even as you live it. Great music creates that feeling, of the beauty of time as it passes, beauty and transience mingled, pictures painted on silence. That was Danny’s gift to his friends at the Dead End, and to the world now if it will stop, at long last, to listen.
"That gift will never leave us. That gift will never say `so long.'”
Danny lower right with the Excaliburs
The Torpedoes performance posters and photos
Danny (center) with Earl Scooter (left and TJ Tindall (right) - the Danny DeGennaro Band
In his prime! Please click "show more" for information on Danny's recording history.
If you are interested in purchasing "Way Too Fast" it is available on Amazon.com in both eBook and paperback format.