No disrespect to Robert Plant, but the most powerful voice in rock music is currently an 18-year-old Amazon parrot named Tico, who lives in Florida in a literal gilded cage with his human dad, Frank Maglio Jr. Since the start of the pandemic, Maglio Jr., a guitarist and sales manager, has been uploading a series of rock standards to his popular YouTube channel with Tico freestyling on the vocals, which range from the litigiously timeless “Stairway to Heaven” to the more experimental “Psycho Killer.” Maglio Jr.’s guitar riffs are great, but Tico is the bona fide star: He struts around, wails, vibes, primal screams, harmonizes, whistles; whatever the hell he’s feeling, really. Sometimes he scratches his head with his feet mid-song, dexterity that could even make Axl Rose blush. And, yes, of course he’s covered “Free Bird.”
Speaking with a local Florida news outlet earlier this year, Maglio Jr. said that he began jamming with Tico last March, when the coronavirus pandemic forced him, as a diabetic, to indefinitely work from home. Despite Tico being a part of the family for nearly two decades, Maglio Jr. says that he wasn’t aware of the extent of Tico’s performative vibrato until he responded to his guitar strumming one night, much to his and his wife’s shock and awe. “These birds are known for being able to sing opera,” Maglio Jr. explained. “He completely botches every single song we make. He does not vocalize the lyrics.” As for Tico’s popularity, he said, “That’s the silver lining of this thing, is how I look at it. You know, we’re stuck at home for goodness sake.”
Please sound off in the comments if you think Tico should headline our next Vulture Festival or open for the Foo Fighters’ upcoming tour.