Bands on the Verge: David Fiorenza

Jenny Dwoskin

Not all finance majors graduate number-hungry and ready for Wall Street. Some, like David Fiorenza, just want to rock. After all, who needs Mr. Merrill and Mr. Lynch, when one has Mr. Fender? Just swap the silk tie for a pair of jeans and a Springsteen t-shirt. Armani suits are overrated.

Besides, life isn’t about doing what others want you to do. For Fiorenza, it’s about pursuing your own ambitions, even if they involve multitasking.

From 9-to-5, Fiorenza is a graduate professor of public administration at Villanova. When he returns to his home in Coatesville, he’s Lisa’s husband and Gia’s dad.

Any vacant slots are designated to jamming with the guys; Fiorenza plays the guitar in both of his “contemporary acoustic pop” duos: Tom and Dave and Fiorenza-Dowlin.

The first duo is far from the 2005 mainstream, playing “Americana” music with Tom slinking the accordion. Fiorenza likens the music to his childhood favorites: Grass Roots, Todd Rundgren and his cousin-through-marriage, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson.

The second duo, on the other hand, is more “James Taylor, Cat Stevens and a little bit new stuff from WPEN,” he says. “My friend, Wayne Dowlin, plays the guitar and sings, as well.”

Always busy, his calendar is a grid of benefit concerts, music festivals and open mic nights. Still, Fiorenza is not ruffled; he is ecstatic.

With three solo albums and overseas airtime (in Australia, France and other European countries), Fiorenza is getting accustomed to the musician’s life – quickly. Someone in France actually e-mailed him for an autograph. “I was like, ‘Do you know who I am?’ I’m not a celebrity, I’m just trying to have fun,” Fiorenza says.

The music promotion website,, named Fiorenza’s album, “Tan, Rested and Ready” as the 31st best album of 2004. Why slow down now? “I’ll play wherever there’s an electrical outlet,” he laughs, “although a free meal is always a nice gesture, too.”

Music has always been a part of Fiorenza’s life. He plays the acoustic and electric guitars, saxophone and, as of recently, the mandolin. “My sister-in-law had given it to me as a gift,” Fiorenza explains.

Last year, he underwent surgery for paraganglioma, and doctors had to remove a carotid artery from his neck. “She gave me the mandolin to play while I was recovering,” he says.

Actually, his doctor recommended a year recovery and no singing. But, the musical itch won out and Fiorenza returned to the show circuit a week later.

“At first, two hospitals refused to do the surgery. Another suggested a tracheotomy,” he says, “but that would mean that I would never be able to sing again. I couldn’t have that.”

Now, with his vocal chords rested and ready, Fiorenza continues to gain unsolicited praise from both radio stations and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I know our music is not for everyone,” he admits. “It’s probably not going to blow away the 21-year-old college student.” But give it a shot. After all, Fiorenza has sold over 500 CDs worldwide. Certainly, his business-minded peers can admire that.