Photo Diva: It’s All About the Music
Monday, September 27, 2010
When this Diva first moved to town I was told by long-time Las Vegans that I could not call myself a “local” until I had been here five years. So I may be just barely a local but having grown up in Southern California I have been coming to Las Vegas since I was a kid. We would come and stay at the Desert Inn or the Hilton (and sometimes Circus Circus) and me and my mom would hang at the pool while dad played blackjack — and usually won.
One of my early Vegas memories is of driving down the Strip and seeing all of the names in lights shouting about who was playing at which showroom. Of course that was pre-Cirque when headlining entertainers up and down the Strip could sing and dance and tell stories and generally keep a showroom full of people entertained and happy enough (OK, and drunk enough…) to hit the tables again on the way out.
So when I call Domenick Allen a bit a a vintage Vegas throwback I mean it as a big compliment. This super talented singer/actor/musician and Vegas local has a new show called “It’s All About the Music” that will be taking the stage at the newly renovated Suncoast Showroom on October 2nd and 3rd. I hate to tell ya though that the shows are sold out…even the Diva can’t get a ticket. But keep an eye out for it’s return. Domenick is the real Las Vegas deal and a performer who I “get” because for him it is all about being “creative” and not about genres or labels.
“In essence, I believe Shakespeare, Buddy Rich, Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Laurence Olivier, Sammy Davis Jr, and Van Gogh exist in the same artistic universe, and share the same creative relevance and importance. We should celebrate their genius without limit!” — Domenick Allen
I don’t think I could say it any better…
PD: Let’s start by asking about your new show “It’s All About the Music.” How did it come about? Has it been in the works a long time?
Domenick: I started performing when I was three years old so that’s a lot of preparation time! Seriously, it examines different genres of music, including classic rock, swing, jazz, country, Rat Pack…and the relationship they have to one another, how they have influenced my life along with how music has influenced all of our lives.
Photo Diva: What can audiences expect at the show?
Domenick Allen: High energy…passion…memories…lots of surprises… And 90 minutes of music played by some of the finest musicians in Las Vegas (or anywhere else, for that matter!).
PD: Most people probably know you from your days with Foreigner but I am betting not that many know you play clarinet and sax and played with Buddy Rich. Is jazz a big part of your background?
DA: I was honored to play concerts and record with Buddy and his band in New York City including an amazing evening at Carnegie Hall…along with some of my idols including Joe Williams, Mel Torme, Marlena Shaw, Stan Getz, Louis Bellson, Jon Hendricks and my Aunt, the inimitable Annie Ross. I also recorded with Buddy’s band in Jimi Hendrix’s studio, Electric Ladyland…produced by Neil Peart, the incredible drummer with RUSH. That is a perfect example of jazz and rock co-existing and flourishing together.
PD: You have also done musicals at both London’s West End and Broadway. How does your background in theatre figure into “It’s All About the Music”?
DA: Theatre was my first “school” in Scotland with my family, so performing in BLOOD BROTHERS on Broadway and doing several musicals in the West End including at the London Palladium was the culmination and realization of a dream. As a child I also studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Drama, and that instilled within me not only an appreciation of the classics, but the determination to never let barriers or classifications limit my dreams.
PD: In bios and such, you are often described as an actor, singer and musician. If you had to pick just one, which would it be?
DA: It really is all the same to me, because it comes from one particular place: my heart.
PD: My hubby and I were fortunate enough to see you perform with the Zowie Bowie Vintage Vegas show at the UKLV event. Are you very active in the Brit ex-pat community in Vegas?
DA: If eating Fish & Chips at the Queen Vic in the Riviera makes me “very active in the British community” then I certainly am!
PD: We can’t let this interview go by without talking a bit about your time with Liberace. You toured with him for four years. Tell us what that was like.
DA: It was, in one sense, a golden opportunity to study and observe a master showman at work, to learn how to read and truly entertain an audience, and how you don’t have to lose your humility just because you are a success…in any endevour, not just show business. He was a kind, considerate and a dear friend who gave me respect onstage from one performer to another — even though I was still in my teens.
PD: How do you feel knowing that the Liberace Museum is about to close?
DA: It is a very sad situation and I’m not sure all the relevant facts have come out. Hopefully some aspect of the collection will survive. I think Liberace should be represented not only in Las Vegas, but in the Smithsonian. He became not just a musical, but a cultural icon.
PD: What is your favorite thing about living and performing in Las Vegas?
DA: The chance to hang out and perform with good friends like Clint Holmes, Kelly Clinton, Susan Anton, Lon Bronson and his amazing band, Vinnie Falcone… There is so much amazing “local” talent. So in my opinion being “local” is a great thing!
PD: What about your least favorite thing?
DA: That I don’t have an ongoing residency performing in a showroom… But I’m working on it…
PD: Theatre, rock n’ roll, Vocal Soup and now this new show. You stay busy. What is in the future for Domenick Allen?
DA: Thankfully, I have NO IDEA. As Indiana Jones said: “I’m makin’ this up as I go along!” But I can assure you that as long as I draw breath I’ll find a way of making music, and sharing it with an audience!