Las Vegas Backstage Talk

kevin Cronin, Little Anthony

June 22, 2017

 Audio of interviews are posted below (Scroll down)

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Iconic Lead Singer of REO Speedwagon Kevin Cronin guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

“Keep On Loving You” rockers REO Speedwagon brought back nearly 40 years of hits at Junefest at Sunset Station last Saturday.

Loosely formed in 1967 playing frat parties at the University of Illinois, REO Speedwagon signed with Epic Records in 1971. The band released nine albums throughout the ‘70s, culminating with the twice-platinum “You Can Tune a Piano but You Can’t Tuna Fish” in 1978.

REO Speedwagon exploded to the top of the charts, setting the bar for other rock bands with their 1980 release “Hi Infidelity.” The colossal hit spent 15 weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200, selling more than 10 million copies. The group’s most commercially successful album, it remained on the charts for 65 weeks and spawned the #1 single “Keep On Loving You” as well as hits “Take It on the Run,” “In Your Letter” and “Don’t Let Him Go.”

The band continued releasing hit albums into the ‘80s, including 1984’s “Wheels Are Turnin’ and its #1 single “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” REO Speedwagon released “Find Your Own Way Home,” their 15th studio album, in 2007. Two years later, they teamed up with fellow Midwestern rockers Styx for the single “Can’t Stop Rockin’,” which became the title track for the groups’ hit summer tour with .38 Special.

The current lineup includes founding member Neal Doughty, iconic lead singer Kevin Cronin, longtime bass player Bruce Hall, former Ted Nugent guitarist Dave Amato and former Wang Chung drummer Bryan Hitt.

Little Anthony & The Imperials

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Little Anthony guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Little Anthony and The Imperials are appearing at The Orleans Showroom on June 24, at 8pm.

They were one of the finest vocal groups to emerge from the talent-rich New York scene. Moreover, they enjoyed unusual longevity for an act of that type, having hits in both the Doo-Wop Fifties and the soul-music Sixties. They outlasted their peers by virtue of “Little Anthony” Gourdine’s powerful, beseeching vocals and the consummate professionalism of the Imperials, who mastered a broad range of material and knew how to work a stage.

“Tears on My Pillow,” their first single as the Imperials, was released on End Records. This classic vocal-group ballad was one of the biggest hits of 1958, reaching #2 on the R&B chart and #4 on the pop chart. Little Anthony and the Imperials were suddenly stars. The story might have ended there, with “Tears On My Pillow” fondly recalled as a vocal-group classic from one of the many one-hit wonders from that era. In fact, some of their followup singles did flop, strong as they were. But the group rebounded with an uptempo number, “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko Bop,” that capitalized on a dance craze.

Other hits include “Hurt So Bad,” and “Going Out of my Head.”

They received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and have been inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. In 2008, Little Anthony and the Imperials released You’ll Never Know, an album of new songs and rerecorded oldies to celebrate their 50th anniversary as a group.

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Neil Giraldo, Gallagher

June 2, 2016

Audio of show posted below!

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Singer/Songwriter Neil Giraldo guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.  Neil Giraldo and Pat Benatar have been an unstoppable team for more than thirty years.  Neil has written, produced, arranged, and recorded over 100 songs that went multi-platinum. They will be playing their hits including Hit me with your Best Shot, We Live for Love, and Grammy Winning Love is a Battlefield. For more information about Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo:  benatargiraldo.com

Junefest June 11, Sunset Station

Details: Pat Benatar, Neil Giraldo

Comedian Gallagher

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Comedian Gallagher returns once again on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

For more information on Gallagher:gallaghersmash.com

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Sept. LV Backstage Talk column

By Michele LaFong

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Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong-

monthly syndicated column in Casino Player Magazine, and Gaming Today.

Coming off the heels of guesting on LVBST just two weeks earlier to discuss the exciting details of his new recording deal, Emmy Award winner Clint Holmes returned to LVBST to announce that Aug 1-3, would be his last weekend performing at his monthly resident weekend engagement at The Cabaret Room in The Smith Center before taking a hiatus in order to make time for his new gig… to star in GEORGIA ON MY MIND: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles – at The Venetian Theatre this fall. Clint explained; “When the producer, Larry Rosen first asked me to do the show I said “you know…I don’t sound like Ray Charles, I don’t even sing like Ray Charles…Larry said “that’s not what we’re looking for. We want artists that do their interpretations of his songs. Co-Stars 10-time Grammy award-winning vocal group TAKE 6, six-time Grammy nominee and Downbeat Vocalist of the Year Nnenna Freelon, and Stella Gospel Award and Grammy award-winning saxophone star Kirk Whalum also do not sound like Ray Charles.” The show introduces the Las Vegas Mass Choir, under the direction of James R. Smith and Edie Aikels, and features the Las Vegas All-Star Big Band, under the direction of pianist and conductor, David Loeb. GEORGIA ON MY MIND, will be in the Venetian Theatre September 18 through October 29, 2014. Clint will return to The Smith Center in time to present his Christmas show.

Joy Behar may have retired as Co-Host from ABC’s The View…but that’s about all she’s retired from. In my latest interview with Joy she had this to say; “I lost about 18 pounds altogether after getting off The View…That show made me fat! Now that I’m off… it’s so much less stressful. It’s a whole new group over there. Let’s see how fat they all get!” That’s what I always loved about Joy…You never knew what was going to come out of her mouth next! “I’m doing more stand-up again, as well as working on a One Woman Show, which has more of a storyline than stand-up called “Me, My Mouth, and I.”  We’re currently looking for an Off-Broadway Theatre in New York.” When asked about other future goals in the works, she replied, “I’d be open to doing TV again…but it would have to be the right project.” Joy’s interview aired on August 14. A video clip of her and Colin Quinn on HLN, laughing about doing gigs for me back in the ‘80’s is posted on casinoplayer.com, gamingtoday.com, and is posted below.

Another popular, funny and exciting guest returning to LVBST is “the Voice of Boxing” himself, my next door neighbor and friend Al Bernstein. On Sept. 11, Al will be guesting in-studio giving us more backstage stories, celebrity updates and of course his take on the big upcoming Mayweather/Maidana fight at The MGM Grand that he is covering on Sept. 13 on Showtime.

Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe Winner Paul Williams returned on LVBST calling in from Dublin! Between being President of ASCAP, speaking to congress about songwriters getting paid in the digital age, and preparing for his new book release on Sept. 17th on Penguin called “Gratitude and Trust”, and winning another Grammy Award this year…we ran out of time before could hear the rest of what might be next for Paul Williams!

Rudy Ruettiger, whose life-story was the inspiration for the movie “Rudy,” one of the most inspiring movies of our time, guested in-studio together with his producer, Tony Sacca to promote the premiere of his new multi-media one-man show, “Rudy,” starring Rudy Ruettiger at the Troesh Studio Theater in The Smith Center Aug. 9. The show, like the movie is about his life story of how he accomplished his dream of going to Notre Dame and convinced Hollywood to make a movie of his life, which earned him an invitation to the White House. “After seeing Mike Tyson’s one-man show, I knew that I too could do this. The ultimate goal is Broadway.” Why Not?!
Here’s a treat: “End of Summer Bash,” a FREE concert featuring Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Brooklyn Bridge, The Rip Chords, 1910 Fruitgum Company on Saturday, Sept. 6, at 4pm at The Cannery.

Nevada’s 150th birthday is being planned for Monday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center. Proceeds will benefit The Smith Center’s education outreach programs. This variety show is a not-to-be missed event that will feature some of the best entertainers of the Las Vegas Strip as they come together for one night only to celebrate Nevada’s cultural heritage. Proceeds will benefit The Smith Center’s education outreach programs. Tickets are $25 to $100. Some of the names already scheduled to appear include: Bob Anderson, Susan Anton, Cirque du Soleil, Véronic DiCaire, Clint Holmes, Human Nature, Jersey Boys, Robin Leach, Jerry Lewis, Frankie Moreno, Penn& Teller and many more backed by The Lon Bronson All-Star Band and boosted by the Las Vegas Mass Choir.

The Best of Jethro Tull will be played by Legendary prog pioneer Ian Anderson at The Pearl inside The Palms Resort on Sept. 19. My two segment interview with Ian will air on Sept. 18.

Sept. headline entertainment really heats up in September as evidenced by the length and quality of the names in “My Picks” this month. LVBST should have great choices for interviews!

My Picks: Rock of The 80’s-The Romantics, The Smithereens, Marshall Crenshaw, Tommy Tutone, Eastside Cannery, Sept. 5,
Jerry Seinfeld, Caesars Palace, Sept. 5 & 6, Jim Breuer, South Point, Sept. 5 & 6,Kevin Hart & Friends Comedy All-Stars, The Cosmopolitan, Sept. 5, Susie Essman, The Venetian, Sept. 5 & 6, Deana Carter, Sunset Station, Sept. 6, Neil Sedaka, The Orleans, Sept. 6 & 7, Gabriel Iglesias, The Mirage, Sept. 12-14, Arturo Sandaval, The Smith Center, Sept. 13, Deana Martin, South Point, Sept. 13 & 14, Marc Anthony, Planet Hollywood, Sept. 13, The Guess Who, Eastside Cannery, Aug. 16, Diana Ross, Caesars Palace, Sept. 19, Ray Romano, The Mirage, Sept. 19 & 20, REO Speedwagon, The Orleans, Sept. 19 & 20, Tony Orlando, South Point, Sept. 19-21, Tesla Eastside Cannery, Sept. 20, Joan Osborne, M Resort, Sept. 20, Rod Stewart, Caesars Palace, Sept. 19- Oct. 5,
Gordon Lightfoot, The Smith Center, Sept. 24, Bill Cosby, Treasure Island, Sept. 26, Daniel Tosh, The Mirage, Sept. 26 & 27,
Katy Perry, MGM Grand, Sept. 26, Paula Poundstone, The Orleans, Sept. 26 & 27, Ralphie May, South Point, Sept. 26-28, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Palms, Sept. 27, Jerry Lewis, Smith Center, Sept. 30, Lorde, Hard Rock, Sept. 30.

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June-Las Vegas Backstage Talk syndicated column

by Michele LaFong

June-Las Vegas Backstage Talk syndicated column in Casino Player Magazine and Gaming Today.

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June 2014 marks Las Vegas Backstage Talk’s one year anniversary in Casino Player Magazine.  Along with the debut of my column, I was also asked to write the Cover/feature for that issue.  Because I remembered how excited I was to have Bill Cosby guest on my radio show, I really wanted to use his interview for my first Cover/feature for June 2013 edition… And it’s a good thing I did because now he’s really hard to catch up with!  Last November Cosby performed his first TV concert special in 30 years, appropriately titled Far From Finished, which debuted on Comedy Central and is now sold on DVD.  He continues to make regular appearances on the Late Night Talk Show circuit, and his touring schedule is quite hectic. Bill Cosby will return to the TI on July 18.

Many of our past guests are also experiencing an exciting year since they were last on LVBST.

Jon Taffer, the guru, who helps revive bars that are on the verge of bankruptcy, has been a favorite recurring guest on my radio show since his very first season on reality TV.  Not only has “Bar Rescue” been renewed for its fourth season, which will begin airing in the fall but in addition, Jon landed another reality series on Spike TV produced by “Bar Rescue” producers Eyeworks USA called Hungry Investors, featuring celebrity chef John Besh and “Top Chef All-Star” vet Tiffany Derry.The trio seek out and help ‘diamond in the rough’ failing restaurants meet their potential.  Each week, the ‘Hungry Investors’ team puts two struggling restaurants to the test to prove they deserve a second chance at success. The enterprise that shows the most promise of turning things around earns significant cash investment. Both establishments seek to prove to the expert team that the only thing keeping them from financial fortune and success is finding an investor who believes in them.

In my last interview with Comedian Adam Carolla, Adam casually mentioned that he had a new reality series debuting on Spike TV called To Catch a Contractor. Prior to Adam’s success in comedy, he earned his living as a master carpenter. “I take it personally when contractors pass off their subpar work on average citizens and leave homeowners holding the bag.”

Each episode follows Carolla, along with no-nonsense contractor Skip Bedell and his wife, investigator Allison Bedell, as they seek retribution for wronged homeowners, whose construction nightmares range from the laughably incompetent to frighteningly hazardous homes that have been left completely torn apart. Carolla and the Bedells hunt down and confront unscrupulous builders, drag them back to their construction disasters, and make them finish the job right. Carolla and his expert team share their knowledge and ingenuity with the builders – not only in an effort to deliver homeowners the job they paid for, but also to give these suspect contractors the opportunity to redeem themselves.  Personally, I find this new series to be as entertaining as “Catch a Predator” on Dateline.  The only thing missing from it is the under-aged girl or guy using the old but reliable iced tea lure to get the unsuspecting predator comfortably seated in the house prior to the big confrontation!  Obviously, this series is catching on quick because Catch a Contractor has already been renewed for a second season. Adam Carolla will be returning to The TI August 29 to tape another podcast.

Comedians Wanda Sykes and Russell Peters also have a new reality series since last guesting on LVBST.  Wanda is one of the executive producers of NBC’s new Last Comic Standing, and Russell Peters is a judge alongside with comedy icons Roseanne Barr, and Keenen Ivory Wayans.

HBO recently renewed Real Time with Bill Maher for a 13th season since his last appearance on LVBST and continues his residency at The Palms H & C. I could not be happier for him!

I too have recently been cast on a new docu-series pilot that is being produced by NBC’s Univision. Hopefully, this new off-beat reality series will make air! I will keep you posted…

“Plastic Surgeon to the Stars,” Dr. Julio Garcia, recently returned on LVBST to update us on the latest treatments to shave off years of aging.  Usually when I ask him “what new cutting-edge treatments are available that you would recommend?” he replies “not much.” However, on this visit, his answer was quite different.  “I now offer a new, exciting, FDA Approved skin tightening procedure called ThermiTight which reduces wrinkles and tightens loose skin in the lower face and neck.  It’s also is good for double chins.  The results are natural looking, and continue to improve over time. It also has been proven to work on frown lines and reduce cellulite.

Normally, Dr. Garcia does not offer free consultations however, if you mention Casino Player Magazine when making an appointment, not only will he give a free evaluation but will also apply a 10% discount towards the treatment needed.

Thursday, June 5, is the Scleroderma Research Foundation’s flagship fundraiser at the Las Vegas House of Blues inside Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Bob Saget hosts an evening of delicious food, wine and comedy with Jay Leno and special musical guest Ben Folds. This is the SRF’s inaugural Las Vegas event.

It’s a night of gourmet food featuring the “hot cuisine” of Top Chef Masters Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken and Rick Moonen.

The evening includes a small number of exclusive live auction packages. Attendees include stars from the worlds of television, film, music and business—and many others who have been directly or indirectly affected by scleroderma.

Call 800-441-2873. A limited number of reserved tables and General Admission seats are available. This event typically sells out in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

Wilson Phillips returns to the Eastside Cannery on June 7, and always delivers a very entertaining, crowd-pleasing show.  If you love Southern White Rock, treat yourself to see Gregg Allman at The Palms H & C on June 21.  Bobby Vinton returns to Eastside Cannery on June 28.   I was his opening act over ten years ago, and remember Bobby stopping at nothing to entertain… that included standing on tables while singing from the audience!

Other Picks for June: Jay Leno, June 6, Mirage, Lionel Richie, June 6, Mandalay Bay, Kid Rock, June 6, Cosmopolitan, Billy Joel, June 7, MGM, Kevin James, June 7, Mirage, Stained, June 7, Palms, James Darren, June 7 & 8, South Point, Steve Winwood, June 13 & 14, The Linq, Kathleen Madigan, June 14, Mirage, Chelsea Handler, June 13 &  14, Cosmopolitan, Junefest with Creedence Clearwater Revisited and Loverboy, June 14, Sunset Station, Rick Springfield, June 14, Primm Valley Resorts,  William Shatner, June 19-21, MGM, Jay Mohr,  June 21& 22, South Point, Jeff Bridges and The Abiders, June 21 & 22, Red Rock Resorts, Tamar Braxton, June 20, Mandalay Bay, Natalie Cole, June 28, Primm Valley Resorts.

 

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