Multi media artist, Lou CasaBianca, age 79, departed peacefully on, August 19th, 2021 at home in Nevada City of non-COVID-related natural causes. Calling the San Francisco Bay Area home for almost 55 years and a long time resident of Marin County, Lou had become a part of the Sierra eco-activist artistic community after relocating to Nevada County in 2018.
Born in The Bronx, New York on July 19, 1942 and raised in Far Rockaway, New York, he was the oldest child of Lou CasaBianca Sr. and Yvonne (née D’Isselt) CasaBianca. Lou’s Sicilian grandfather Carmello CasaBianca was a piano maker and music, being a major focus throughout his family home growing up, would become the guiding force in Lou’s life. While growing up, his beloved Uncle John D’Isselt, a professional musician, took Lou to see many of the Jazz greats in the New York City including a rare Charlie Parker performance at Birdland. Lou’s own musical career began at 17, hanging around the legendary Brill Building, and as a singer with the short lived Doo Wop quartet The Del 4, who cut a single and toured in the metro area.
Lou attended St. John’s University in New York City. Married with two children by age 20, Lou became a top salesman for iconic lighting fixture design house Lightolier. Asked by the company to relocate to either Detroit or California, he chose the San Francisco Bay Area, eventually settling his family in the small East Bay city of Piedmont, California. The music industry kept calling, and Lou left Lightolier to become a manager and impresario for artists as diverse as Eumir Deodato and Eddie Money (then Eddie Mahoney) while being a top selling label rep for United Artists Records and ECM during the halcyon days of vinyl.
The watermark of his professional music career was closing a two album deal with Chris Blackwell’s Island Records as the producer, manager and co-creator of the progressive rock fusion band Automatic Man. This first of its kind multiracial Prog Rock Super group with elements of Space Rock and funk. Automatic Man featured Michael Shreive of Santana and Bay Area musical virtuoso Pat Thrall and Doni Harvey. Led by co-creator Todd Cochran, Automatic Man retains a loyal global cult following to this day.
Following his last professional music industry credit (production work with disco/funk artist, Harvey Scales) , Lou helped to run West Oakland’s Teleprompter cable television station and first of its kind community access program. His own contribution, “RockVisions” combined music videos with computerized visuals and pre-dated MTV by three years. Lou’s later years were spent making industrial films for Pacific Telesis and other corporations, desktop publishing and countless web development, Metaverse and musical projects.
A tall man at 6’4 with a baritone voice, his artistic projects and ventures, often grandiose in scope, were sometimes unable to be fully executed. A decades-long attempt to win back hectares of family land taken by eminent domain on the Caribbean island of Sint Maarteen proved unsuccessful. More successful were his later years in Vallejo California helming a community arts and learning center. A few months before departing he released his last song , “Instant Messenger” a song about hope and peace in the digital age.
Lou CasaBianca is survived by his partner Gina Pickersgill of Hastings, England, Aunt Sylvia and cousin Chrissie Robinson of Alameda County, California. His brother John Casabianca and wife Annette (their daughters Jodi and Meredith), his sister Gabriella Thomas, sister Teresa Casabianca Baquero, cousin Kat Diaz of Busan, Korea, Cousins Armand D’Isselt and Lauren D’Isselt, a son, daughter Amanda Whelan and her husband Kevin Whelan, 3 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren, many cousins and countless friends.
He was predeceased by his son John CasaBianca and his brother Michael CasaBianca.
The family kindly asks that any memorial contributions be made to Lions, Tigers and Bears an accredited non-breeding Big Cat and Bear sanctuary in Alpine California or The Monterey Bay Aquarium.
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