Michael Mikey ‘‘Bones’’ Gerbino, a Long Island native and rock ’n’ roll musician who lit up the stage, has died at the age of 53.
Gerbino died April 1 of a heart attack at his home in Las Vegas. His family remembered him as a lifelong musician who was tender and kind, while also fully embodying the rock lifestyle.
Music was his passion from an early age, and he devoted his life to it, said his brother Sal Gerbino, 62, a Miller Place resident.
Born in Amityville on June 2, 1963, Michael grew up in Massapequa Park and Lindenhurst. His lifelong love affair with music began at age 7, when his mother bought him a piano after realizing his musical talent. He fell in love with rock music listening to groups such as T-Rex, Deep Purple, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin.
Over the years, he learned to play saxophone, trombone, guitar, and then ultimately chose bass guitar as his full-time instrument.
He graduated from Copiague High School in the early 1980s, then studied music at Suffolk Community College from 1981 to 1982. He then left college to pursue his dreams, playing in many groups, including Cher’s first band, The Black Rose, and Kaiser, a rock group in New York. He was known as Mikey “Bones.”
The band relocated to Phoenix, where he met his future wife Tracy, whom he married in October 1999 after a memorable proposal at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport. They were married for 17 years. When not on tour, he packed Tracy’s lunches, always sneaking in a love note too.
“He lived hard and rocked hard and we loved each other,” said Tracy, 47, of Las Vegas. “He was the epitome of rock ’n’ roll.”
He was in his element while onstage, said family and friends. Watching him live the rock ’n’ roll dream was “great fun,” but he was much more than a musical stereotype, his brother said.
He was a hardworking person who had “one of the biggest hearts,” said Bret Kaiser, lead singer of Kaiser, with whom Gerbino performed for years.
“Just everybody he met, they were his brother or sister,” said Kaiser, 57, of Phoenix.
Most recently, Gerbino worked with Los Angeles-based Rock n’ Roll Fantasy Camp and the Renaissance Rock Orchestra, a progressive rock group in Las Vegas.
In addition to his wife and brother, Gerbino is survived by his father Salvatore, of Smithtown. Gerbino was cremated.
Friends and family are planning several memorials: April 26 in Las Vegas, May 20 in Phoenix, and one with an undetermined date in New York. Gerbino requested that the Beatles song “In My Life” be played.
“There are places I’ll remember all my life, though some have changed . . . In my life, I’ve loved them all,” the song lyrics read.
Rock ’n’ roll music will also be played.