The fish counter of the Providence Super Stop & Shop was where Steve Mancini served up salmon and swordfish and banter to his regulars. Nicknamed Steve ''Seagal'' after the actor and martial arts master, Mancini was a commanding presence with his ponytail, well-honed muscles, and booming voice. Mancini, 39, and his wife, Andrea, 28, were at The Station on Feb. 20 with Steve's cousin, Keith Mancini. It was an exciting night for the two men: Their newly formed band, Fathead, played before Great White, the feature act. Andrea was there mostly because she loved Steve, friends said, not for an abiding love of music. All three died in the fire.
Steve Mancini began dating Andrea Jakavone seven years ago after one of her sisters introduced them. Andrea came from a family of 11 children; Steve was an only child. Dino Jakavone, Andrea's brother, said Steve began lifting weights as a teenager, after he was injured in a car crash. He never stopped, and became known as something of a fitness fanatic. "Even though he was about 5 foot 8, he projected like he was 6 foot 5," Jakavone said.
Mancini was always friendly to his supermarket customers, said Bishop Robert Sarrow, the pastor of the Holy Church of God in Christ in Providence.
"He had this roaring Italian voice and his voice alone could captivate your attention," Sarrow said. "Sometimes I'd come in here when I didn't need anything, just to talk to Steve."
"Thursday night was a big night for him," said Roland Vachon, one of Steve's supervisors at Stop & Shop. "He had an absolute passion for music and he was opening for Great White. He saw this as his big break."