Las Vegas Backstage Talk

Las Vegas Backstage Talk column

by Michele LaFong

August’s LV Backstage Talk column in Casino Player Magazine and Gaming Today.

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Steve Rossi: May 25, 1932 – June 22, 2014
Show-biz Legend Steve Rossi was a frequent favorite in-studio guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show. I first met him in ’94 at my variety show “Vegas Live” starring Michele LaFong, at The Debbie Reynolds Hotel and Casino. He was very supportive, and came in frequently to watch the show, hang-out and schmooze…and what a fun schmoozer he was! Even back then he brought the party with him where ever he went. He is greatly missed. On June 26, in Steve’s honor we replayed his very first LVBST interview. It was incredibly colorful and entertaining. He shared his many experiences, lessons and stories in his amazing fifty-five year career in show business which covered everything from what it was like to room with Howard Stern many years ago when he was managing the frequently fired “Shock Jock,” to the real reason he claimed that he and Marty Allen could not get back together… not even for one last TV Anniversary Special that Steve claimed was offered to them last year for over a million dollars. The show is worth listening to and is archived on Lasvegasbackstagetalk.com.
Clint Holmes returned in-studio live on June 19, to update us on the exciting news of his new CD release, and monthly resident performances at The Smith Center on the first weekend of every month.
Mostly known for being the former co-host of ABC’s The View, Joy Behar will return to Vegas to perform a weekend of stand-up on Aug.22 & 23 as part of the new “Lipshtick Series” at The Venetian. She got nabbed-up pretty quickly after her successful engagement at The Orleans this past January. Apparently much of the general public was unaware of what an accomplished Stand-up Comedian Joy was. Back in the 80’s, when I was a touring headline comedian, I had a business called LaFong Productions. Joy was one of my top go to comedians that I booked in my 21 rooms. Come to think of it many of the comedians that I booked have done incredibly well in their careers including Kevin James, and Comedian and YouTube Sensation Vic Dibitetto, who recently got cast by Kevin in Mall Cop 2, teamed-up with Actor Nick Turturro (mostly known for his role in NYPD Blue.) I recently aired the lively interview with the pair on June 12, and it too is archived on our website. An edited video clip of Nick and Vic is posted on casinocenter.com
Comedian Russell Peters, currently a judge on NBC’s Last Comic Standing with Roseanne Barr and Keenon Ivory Wayans, returned on LVBST and will return to the Pearl at The Palms on Aug. 2 exploring new material and crowd work. “Although the taping for Last Comic Standing has concluded, the competition is still playing out every week on television and even the three finalists do not know the outcome! We taped three different endings and they do not know which one will be aired.”
Jay Leno returns to The Mirage on August 11, and Nov. 21 & 22. He puts on a very strong well-paced, fluff-free show that is definitely worth catching. Last month, I aired Part 1 & 2 of a long interview with Jay covering everything from his comedy writing to why he doesn’t have a team of security escorting him around like most other celebrities.
Jay explained the security question with a great story. “Once I was at one of these hotels, and they insisted on sending two security people to walk me to the showroom…so these two huge goons come up with suits on that look like they are made out of sofa material, and we walk into the casino… and as we’re coming through they were actually pushing people…literally shoving old ladies out of the way…and people were like “screw you Leno!” “and I’m like no let me stop and take a picture, sign an autograph…it takes an extra few minutes but everybody’s happy. Having security walk me to a show was so much worse!
Superstar Al Pacino will bring his “Pacino: One Night Only” show to The Mirage Saturday, Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m. This is an opportunity to step into Pacino’s world as he shares his passion for acting and directing in an up-close-and-personal setting in the Terry Fator Theatre. The evening will explore his life beginning in the 1960s when he performed Off-Broadway and will follow his career to present day. The show will include previously untold stories, never-before-seen clips, and a question and answer session. Pacino is one of the rare winners of the acting Triple Crown: the Oscar, Tony and Emmy Award.
Other Picks: Buckcherry, Otherwise, Hard Rock, Aug. 1, Caroline Rhea, Wendy Liebman, The Venetian, Aug 1 & 2, The Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry, Plain White T’s, Red Rock Resort, Aug. 1, Herman’s Hermits with Peter Noone, South Point, Aug. 1-3, Journey, Steve Miller Band, Mandalay Bay, Aug 1, Kenny Wayne Shepard, Los Lonely Boys, The Palms, Aug. 1, Lady Gaga, MGM Grand, Weezer, Cosmopolitan, Aug. 1, Aerosmith Slash, MGM Grand, Aug. 2, Jonny Lang, Boulder Station, Aug. 2, Blues Traveler, Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Uncle Cracker, Golden Nugget, Aug. 8, Dirty Heads, Pepper, Aug. 8, Lisa Lampanelli, The Venetian, Aug. 8 & 9, Rob Schneider, South Point, Aug. 8-10, Aaron Neville & Dr. John, The Cannery, Aug. 9, Aries Spears, Mandalay Bay, Aug. 9, Kathy Griffin, The Mirage, Aug. 9, Lynard Skynyrd, Golden Nugget, Aug. 9, Counting Crows, Mandalay Bay, Aug. 10, 38 Special, Eastside Cannery, Aug. 10, Cesar Millan, “Leader of the Pack” Palms, Aug. 15, Whitney Cummings, The Venetian, Aug. 15 & 16, Yes, Hard Rock, Aug. 15, The Guess Who, Eastside Cannery, Aug. 16, ZZ Top, Jeff Beck, Hard Rock, Aug. 16, Daniel Tosh, The Mirage, Aug. 22 & 23, Dave Collier, South Point, Aug. 22-24, Rock N Blues Fest with Johnny Winter Band, Edgar Winter Band, Cannery, Aug. 23, John Legend, The Cosmopolitan, Aug. 24, The Summer Nationals Tour, featuring The Offspring, with Special Guests, Bad Religion, Pennywise, Stiff Little Fingers, Hard Rock, Aug. 27, The Adam Carolla Show, Treasure Island, Aug. 29, Bill Medley with McKenna Medley, South Point, Aug. 29-31, Joe Rogan, The Mirage, Aug. 29, Bachman & Turner, Cannery, Aug. 30, Keith Urban, The Cosmopolitan, Aug. 31.

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Russell Peters, Richard Hatch-LVBST

July 31, 2014- 6-7pm PST 1230AM KLAV in LV & The Web

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Russell Peters returns on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Celebrated comedian Russell Peters returns to The Pearl inside Palms Casino Resort on Aug. 2, 2014 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $49, plus any additional service fees.

Russell Peters is back and exploring new material! After the very successful release of Notorious on Netflix, Peters finds himself back on the road putting together new material as he works through a handful of 2014 dates. Fans can be prepared for some crowd work and…some randomness, all mixed with the comedic styling Peters is known for.

This year has been big for Peters who signed on to be a judge for this season’s NBC “Last Comic Standing.” He joins the likes of Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans and JB Smoove as they search for the funniest talent in America (premiered May 22).

Peters spent most of 2013 touring with the Notorious live show which followed a string of special performances and appearances including being the first comedian to play Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center in November 2012. More than 10,000 fans attended the show, making it the largest comedy show ever in the history of the New York City borough.

Peters’ special, The Green Card Tour LIVE From the O2 Arena, was recorded in London in 2010. The special was broadcast on Showtime, Comedy Central, Netflix USA and Netflix UK. In 2009, Peters set a UK attendance record for the highest attendance for a one-off comedy show with more than 16,000 fans attending his show at the O2 Arena. Peters also went on to have the highest attended comedy shows at Sydney, Australia’s Acer Arena and Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena in 2010.

Starting in 2008, Peters was one of the first stand-up comedians to self-finance, self-produce and distribute his own comedy specials and DVDs, with Red, White and Brown and 2011’s, The Green Card Tour LIVE from the O2 Arena. The DVDs went on to sell more than 250,000 units across North America. Peters is currently developing original programming for Netflix.

Listed on the Forbes List as one of the top ten Highest Earning Comics in the U.S. in 2009 and 2010, Russell Peters has spent the past 23 years building a career to become one of the biggest comics in the world.

Doors at the Pearl will open at 7 p.m. and show time is 8 p.m. The Pearl Box Office is open daily from noon until 7 p.m. with extended hours on select event days. Follow The Pearl on Twitter at @PearlatPalms for concert announcements and event information.

Richard Hatch

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Richard Hatch has enjoyed international recognition for more than three decades. He has starred in such series as The Streets of San Francisco for which he won Germany’s Bravo Award (the equivalent of an Emmy Award), Battlestar Galactica for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe award and the role of Philip Brent, which he originated on ABC’s All My Children. Hatch’s recent projects include a steampunk pilot, Cowboys & Engines with Malcolm McDowell, After the Harvest, and his role as Klingon General Kharn in Star Trek: Axanar.
Richard began his theatrical career with the Los Angeles Repertory Theater. He starred Off-Broadway in several plays and musicals including the Obie Award winning play, PS Your Cat Is Dead, in Chicago. In addition, Hatch has starred in such movies for television as The Hatfields And The McCoys with Jack Palance, Addie And The Kings Of Hearts with Jason Robards, Last Of The Belles with Susan Sarandon, The Class Of 65, The Hustler Of Muscle Beach, and the cult classic Deadman’s Curve, in which he portrayed Jan Berry of the musical group “Jan and Dean”.
Hatch’s directing credits include the iconic “Second Coming” BG movie trailer, a short for White Wings, a period piece set in the 1920′s, and an episode of the award winning web series Silicon Assassin. He has also written, produced and directed an infomercial for the securities industry and produced his own reality series, Who the Frak.
A published author, Hatch has co-written seven Battlestar Galactica novels as well as a BG compendium, So Say We All. Richard is currently working to finish his epic Sci-Fi novel, The Great War of Magellan (GWOM), a story he developed over the last decade. During that time, Hatch produced a trailer, wrote a comic book series and launched a role playing game for GWOM. Richard plans to produce a web series for GWOM later this year.
When not busy with directing, writing and performing, Richard teaches the art, craft and business of acting, sharing more than 40 years of professional experience teaching workshops and intensives around the country. He also teaches a weekly acting class in Los Angeles. In addition to acting workshops, Hatch offers personal development workshops such as Moving from Fear to Self Mastery, Creating a more Successful Life, Becoming a More Powerful Communicator.
An active participant in social media, Hatch can be found interacting with fans on Facebook (Facebook.com/Richard.Hatch.Actor) and Twitter (@thumbfighter) as well as the social network on BattlestarGalactica.com. For more on Richard Hatch, including information on his workshops, visit his website at http://richardhatch.com.

 

 

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Don Felder, Kelly Hansen, Henry Fambrough

July 24, 2014- 6-7pm PST 1230AM KLAV in LV & The Web

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Singer/Songwriter Don Felder, guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Best-known for his years as lead guitarist for the Eagles, during which time he co-wrote such classic tracks as ‘Hotel California,’ ‘Victim of Love’ and ‘Those Shoes.’ His outro solo with Joe Walsh on ‘Hotel California’ is widely considered one of the most important guitar solos of the rock era.
Felder was fired from the group in 2001 after a number of disputes with Don Henley and Glenn Frey. He later sued the group and recounted his experiences with the Eagles in a best-selling autobiography.
Last year he released a solo album titled ‘Road to Forever,’ which included an all-star cast of guest stars and saw the musician moving forward musically and personally.
After years of relative backstage secrecy, the Eagles officially sanctioned a documentary titled ‘The History of the Eagles‘ that premiered on Showtime.

Kelly Hansen

Foreigner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lead Singer for Foreigner, Kelly Hansen guests on LVBST with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Answering an ad seeking a lead vocalist, Kelly joined Hurricane in 1985. Signed to Enigma/Capitol during the late eighties and early nineties, Hurricane recorded three critically acclaimed albums, racked up five Top 20 MTV videos and landed the top 35 single, “I’m On To You”.

After Hurricane disbanded, Hansen worked in a group with Poison guitarist C.C. DeVille, toured as a vocal group arranger and backing vocalist with Liane Foly for her album, Caméléon and composed music for television.

As the new lead singer in Foreigner, Hansen explains, “the best part about being in this band is getting the chance to do something I feel I was meant to do. I feel extremely fortunate to be given this wonderful opportunity to play with such a substantial group of people, and it just keeps getting better. I think there are times in life where the right combination of people come together at the right time, through luck, timing or for some other unknown reason to create something magical. What happens onstage with this group of guys is something that is rare and palpable. It’s like the old saying, “if I have to describe it, you wouldn’t understand.”

For more go to http://www.foreigneronline.com/kellyhansen.html

Henry Fambrough-Original vocalist with The Spinners

Spinners Photo #1(2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Henry Fambrough is an original vocalist and current member of the R&B quintet The Spinners (aka The Detroit Spinners). He is the last surviving original member of the Spinners.
During the group’s heyday from the early to mid-1970s, Henry served as one of the group’s lead singers (along with Philippe Wynne and Bobby Smith ) and his rich baritone provided lead vocals for the Spinners classic, “I Don’t Want To Lose You,” as well as co-lead vocals with Wynne on “Living A Little, Laughing A Little.” He also was in a duet with Dionne Warwick on the Spinners’ “Just As Long As We Have Love,” from their album “Pick of the Litter,” and also sang lead on the classic album cut, “If You Can’t Be in Love,” from the album “Happiness Is Being with the Spinners.” Henry was noted for the handlebar mustache he wore at that time.

The Spinners will be performing at The Cannery on Aug. 26.

 

 

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Paul Williams, Bob Cowsill-LVBST

July 17, 2014- 6-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web

Paul Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singer/Songwriter Paul Williams returns on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.  LV Backstage Talk radio show is the only show that “Gets Personal with the Stars.”

Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winning songwriter Paul Williams is recognized as one of America’s most prolific and gifted lyricists and composers. A ‘Hall of Fame’ songwriter and recipient of the 2004 National Music Publishers President’s Award, Williams’ standards have been recorded by such diverse musical icons as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, David Bowie, Tony Bennett, R.E.M., Sarah Vaughn, Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, The Carpenters, Luther Vandross, Mel Torme and Diana Ross.

His songs have also found favor with Country legends including Chet Atkins, Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, Kris Kristofferson, Charlie Pride, Crystal Gayle, Anne Murray, Lynn Anderson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Diamond Rio and Neil McCoy. When asked which song is his favorite, Paul is quick to respond, “That’s easy! It’s “The Rainbow Connection.” It’s a thrill to hear my words interpreted by such inimitable talents as Sarah McLachlan, Willie Nelson, Judy Collins and Kermit the Frog!”

Williams will soon be featured in Comedian Michele LaFong’s Monthly Syndicated “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” column in Casino Player Magazine, as well as LaFong’s monthly syndicated “Getting Personal with the Stars” column in Gaming Today.

More about Paul Williams here!

Paul performs at The South Point Showroom on July 19 & 20

Cowsills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Cowsill

Bob Cowsill guests on LVBST with Comedian Michele LaFong.

The chirpy, bubble-gum singing family from Newport, Rhode Island who inspired TV’s The Partridge Family (1970) (not to mention the sibling-oriented groups “The Jackson 5″ and The Osmonds”) would expand over the years to include siblings Billy (born 1948); twins Bob and Dick (born 1950); Paul (born 1952); Barry (born 1954); John (born 1956) and little sister Susan (born 1959), plus their mom Barbara (born 1929).

The group originally formed in 1965 with just two brothers (Billy and Bob) who were heavily influenced by “The Everly Brothers,” but Barry and John quickly joined in when their obsessions turned to “The Beatles.” Booked at school dances, college parties, church socials, hotels and clubs, their first recorded single was “All I Really Want to Be Is Me.” The boys were discovered by a producer for NBC’s “Today” show who booked them for an appearance. They soon came to the attention of Mercury Records who produced their singles “Party Girl,” “Most of All” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “A Most Peculiar Man,” all of which floundered. MGM Records picked them up after Mercury dropped them and released their debut album, initially started by Mercury, in November of 1967.

By early the following year the harmonic family had their first pop hit single “The Rain, the Park, & Other Things” (mom Barbara had joined in to sing on the record and stayed) which went to #2 on the pop charts and went gold. The “family” angle really kicked in after this and siblings Susan and Paul were quickly filtered into the group. Extensive touring ensued (billed as “America’s First Family of Song”) with plenty of network TV show appearances (“The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Tonight Show”). The wholesome Cowsills hosted their own NBC-TV special and even became spokespersons for the American Dairy Association, appearing in milk commercials and print ads. They also recorded the popular TV theme to the comedy anthology Love, American Style (1969). A couple more major chart hits came their way with “Indian Lake” (#6) and “We Can Fly” (#17). They even took a risk and challenged the popular theme to the counterculture rock stage musical “Hair” with their own spin and earned themselves another #1 hit.  Also known for “Build me up Buttercup”

Under the strict management of patriarch and former Navy officer William “Bud” Cowsill, however, discontentment and major rifts quickly boiled over within the family structure. Bud was the one who pulled the plug signing the children up for the “Partridge” TV show when it was learned that Barbara’s role would be played by someone else (Shirley Jones). Billy, with designs on being a rock-and-roller, bucked the goody-goody teen idol image and was fired from the group for his defiance. Dropped by their record label, the group permanently disbanded in 1971. Barry and Billy went off to do solo work while Susan and three of the brothers, Bob (on guitar and organ), John (on drums) and Paul occasionally reunited on tour. Various family regroupings would occur over the decades with such cover names as “The Secrets” or “The Critics.”

Sadly, mother Barbara died of cancer in 1985 at age 56 and father Bud passed away in 1992 at age 67. Son Barry, the bassist and Danny Bonaduce-like prototype who battled severe depression and an acute, longstanding substance abuse problem, wound up a 2005 victim of Hurricane Katrina (along with over 1,100 others). Lead singer/guitarist Billy, also an alcohol and drug abuser, died from chronic health problems in 2006. Both brothers were only in their 50s.

The Cowsills will be on the bill with Paul Revere and The Raiders at Eastside Cannery on July 19.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jay Leno Part 2, Cory Wells

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July 10, 2014- 6-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web

Jay Leno guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.  Part 2 will be aired tonight.

JAY LENO
Emmy Award-winner Jay Leno will perform his witty stand-up comedy act inside the Terry Fator Theatre at The Mirage Friday, July 11. Leno’s comedic style and generous personality have earned him millions of fans worldwide.

Date: Friday, July 11
Time: 10 p.m.
Prices: $59.99, $69.99 and $79.99 (not including applicable service charges and taxes)
Buy: Tickets can be purchased at the Terry Fator box office, online at mirage.com or ticketmaster.com, or by calling (800) 963-9634 or (702) 792-7777.

Cory Wells-Founder of Three Dog Night

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Cory Wells guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Cory Wells, (far right) founder of Three Dog Night guests on LV Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.  LVBST is the only show that really “Gets Personal with the Stars.”

With hits like Mama Told Me (Not To Come), Joy to The World, Black And White, Shambala, Easy To Be Hard, An Old Fashioned Love Song, The Show Must Go On, One,  Never Been To Spain, Liar, Eli’s Coming, The Family Of Man, Out In The Country, Try A Little Tenderness, are just a few reasons why this band has stood the test of time, and attracting new fans, recording new music, but still playing the hits.

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Jay Leno, Tommy Roe

July 3, 2014- 6-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web

4.1.1Jay Leno 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jay Leno guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.

JAY LENO
Emmy Award-winner Jay Leno will perform his witty stand-up comedy act inside the Terry Fator Theatre at The Mirage Friday, July 11. Leno’s comedic style and generous personality have earned him millions of fans worldwide.

Date: Friday, July 11
Time: 10 p.m.
Prices: $59.99, $69.99 and $79.99 (not including applicable service charges and taxes)
Buy: Tickets can be purchased at the Terry Fator box office, online at mirage.com or ticketmaster.com, or by calling (800) 963-9634 or (702) 792-7777.

Tommy Roe

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Hailing from Atlanta, Roe started singing and writing songs at the young age of 14. Due to his distinctive Rockabilly musical style and influence, Roe quickly emerged as a recognized artist and went on to become considered an early pioneer in American culture.

Throughout his career Roe garnered numerous accomplishments. Best remembered for his hits “Sheila” and “Dizzy,” Roe wrote, co-wrote and recorded six Top Ten hits between 1962-1969 – more than any other artist during this period in the ‘60s.

Roe proved to be a multifaceted international artist, releasing four RIAA certified gold records and 11 records that landed on the Billboard Top 40 chart – “Sheila” and “Dizzy” topping the Billboard charts at #1. Other recognizable hits include “Jam Up and Jelly Tight,” “Sweet Pea,” “Hooray for Hazel” and “Everybody.”

In addition to being inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, Roe also held membership in the Hit Parade Hall of Fame, The Georgia Music Hall of Fame and Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Music Association Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

 

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