Do the couples who rock together stay together? Doesn’t seem that way. There’s Paul and the late Linda McCartney but not many other pairs to serve as an example of a married couple that could coexist harmoniously in a band and on the home front. Even the Captain and Tennille found love couldn’t keep them together.
Pat Benatar and husband/guitarist/arranger Neil Giraldo, however, are rocking their 34th wedding anniversary and 37th year together as band mates with their We Live For Love Tour. Parents to two daughters, they play the Bleau Live series at The Fontainebleau on Valentine’s Day.
“It’s the way we began. We don’t have any other way to do it. It’s just the kind of way it worked for us,” Benatar, 63, said. “I wouldn’t recommend it for everybody. We have a lot of close friends that would rather die than work with their spouses, but it’s worked for us.”
Giraldo, credited as the first electric guitarist heard on MTV’s first day of broadcast on Aug. 1, 1981, has a theory (You Better Run was the second video aired by the channel, after British synthpop act the Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star).
“In relationships someone has to be the passive one and someone the assertive. In our personal life, Patricia is the assertive one. In our musical life, I’m the assertive one. We know the roles. She defers to me and always kind of went along with it, and it pays off and works,” Giraldo, 60, said.
We don’t tour together because we’re married. We’re in a band together, we started together and also happened to be married. Musically, we belong together. No pun intended.
Pat Benatar, on touring with her husband, guitarist Neil Giraldo
The Brooklyn-born Benatar, with her opera-trained voice is, no doubt, the front woman. She’s the voice behind “the holy 14” songs they always have to perform. Among them: Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Hell is for Children, We Belong, Love Is a Battlefield and Heartbreaker.
“I will sing Heartbreaker to my grave,” she said. “I loved it from the moment I heard it. Thankfully, most of them really stand up.”
But Giraldo is the studio whiz who remembers his boyhood in Cleveland when his uncle would give him an album for Christmas. Giraldo would put The Beatles’ White Album, the Stones’ Beggars Banquet and the first Led Zeppelin album on his turntable and think up his own arrangements.
“When I would listen to the records I would play my own parts to them,” he said. “I was adding to what they did and figuring what they did and how I would change it.”
He’s done the same with Benatar’s catalog to keep things fresh.
“He’s really crazy, he likes to change things up all the time,” Benatar says with a chuckle. “Musically, we belong together, no pun intended.”
Pat Benatar/Neil Giraldo perform at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Fontainebleau, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Show packages are $150 for general admission and $175 for the show and dinner at one of the hotel’s restaurants. 305-535-3283.