Below, btw, Santa Fe recently did an upscale private gig in San Francisco.
Diane Ellis is my first female artist (ladies, where are you?) to be part of the "Friends of Santa Fe" podcast series (Podcast #8, Friends Volume 4). She's an accomplished Vegas veteran of long standing. Lenny introduced her to me a couple of weeks ago. I asked her to send me some bio bkg stuff for the blog:
When I first moved to Las Vegas in 1979, Corky DiFini (keys) and Danny Calico (drums) were playing with a well-known comic: Frankie Carr at the Flamingo. Not knowing anyone in town (I came here with $900.00 in my pocket and my cat Spucky) I sat in with whomever I could.Diane will appear at Franklin's this Sunday from 8 - 10 pm, with her old group "Chazz." Target shopping center (Henderson, get off I-215 at Eastern, head south), corner of S. Eastern at Silverado Ranch Road. Below, a shot she sent me of her Lucille Ball look-alike character. Wow.
Anyway, Corky asked for my # and said he was putting a vocal group together called Chazz, and that I would be perfect for the group. We worked every major hotel on the Strip and at Bally's Park Place in A.C. And on guitar was Joey Lomelo, and on bass: Boby Lyman. Our thing was vocal harmonizing. No matter what genre of music, we did it in 4 part harmony.
When Chazz broke up around 1983 or so, Danny and I put a group together called D'Cal (a combo on both of our names; my maiden name is Calderone) -- nice Italian girl from Boston. I've done many gigs here in town, from studio singer; singing backup harmonies for whomever needed a good singer with big ears, to jingle work. They're still playing "What's On Magazine" jingle. I recorded that about 20 years ago, And they're still playing a jingle for the RJ-Sun Classified ads. I must have recorded that about 15 years ago. If only they paid residuals in this town!
After D'Cal, I went out on my own. I played some of the Strip Hotels here in town but mainly at Trump's Castle in A.C. I opened for people like the Four Freshmen, Allen and Rossi, Freda Payne, and Freddie Cole (Nat's bro). I sang and danced in a show called "Beach Blanket Babylon" in the showroom at the Sands Hotel from 1990 and 1991. We kept HUGE headresses on our heads. Some we balanced and some we kept on with a steel beam going down our spine and strapped over our rib cage and belly. To this day I've had arthritis!
Then I danced and sang in a show at the Flamingo in Laughlin called "Broadway Varieties." I lived in the hotel for almost a year! I opened for Don Rickles in the Congo Showroom at the Sahara Hotel. Talk about being nervous. One of my favorite gigs in town lasted 10 years! I was a singing princess; one of the members of the "Royal Court" at the Excalibur Hotel. I sang with an awesome vocal group called The Royal Court Singers, with Steve Dimond, Brad Millison and Chris Tuohy. We sang from Madrigals to Crosby Stills Nash and Young.
Then we re-formed our group and called ourselves Vocalese, with Steven Lee Cowart, Janice Sands and myself -- very acoustic with Steven on guitar and me on percussion and heavy duty vocals. Later on Dolly Coulter, Suzanne Lane and other guest stars graced our stage.
Then -- 9-11 came and that was the end of that gig. Then I went to work for CBS Television inside the MGM Grand Hotel, where we tested new tv shows. Hated it!! But I stayed for 4 years and sang on the side.
I'm forgetting the best part. I had the pleasure of singing with Joe Darro. THE BEST jazz singer in this town or anywhere, and the best scatter ever. We worked the Sahara for a few years in the lounge. Great memories! I also worked for about 3 years at Nicky Blair's which I think now is called Del Fresco on Paradise Rd. Anyway, I worked with a very gifted piano player and vocalist by the name of Paul Stevenson, who now plays at Ferarro's Restaurant on W. Flamingo (you should definitely check him out!).
I would love to find a couple nights a week somewhere (early shift as I get up at 5am every day but Wed and Thur) And I am still available for conventions (I've done hundreds of those) and also studio work. Oh, one more thing -- I also do voice over commercials for radio and TV. I've been doing those for 30 years now. My latest one is for McDonald's new drink called "Mc Cafe." They're coffee drinks. Unfortunately they're only playing it in California, so if you ever hear it, I am speaking with a French accent, ooo la la! I have a recording studio in my house where I do all of my auditions for vo's and singing to tracks.
Hope this wasn't too much info Bobby.
WATCH OUT, CONTI
My bro' the esteemed jazz guitarist Robert Conti, who is a one-man guitar instruction industry, now has competition.
(thanks to Derek Jones for the link, LOL!)