Singer Dave Damiani and his No Vacancy Orchestra will fly us to the moon with his forthcoming performance at The Iridium in New York City. We had the chance to speak with him about his latest release ‘Midlife Crisis,’ his musical inspirations one of which happens to be Frank Sinatra and why he thinks being sharp dressed is an important part of his live show. Check out our full interview with Dave Damiani below:
You’re performing with Molly Ringwald at the upcoming Iridium show, how did this collaboration come about?
My musical director and best friend did a show with her and was like, “Man she’s really good, we should reach out to her.” She heard our album and really liked it so we just decided that we were going to try and do a show together and this one worked out.
The latest album is titled ‘Midlife Crisis’ what does this title mean to you personally?[Laughs] Well I guess – there’s an original song called ‘Midlife Crisis’ and I was kind of going through a midlife crisis. I was getting my career going and working on some stuff, going through some issues and just figuring out life, that’s really what it was about. The songs on the CD even though some are originals and some are standards, they all kind of reflect on just coping with getting older, more mature and figuring out what your place is and figuring out your relationships too.
Your music is inspired by a certain era of tunes especially with your covers of tracks by Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Frankie Valli . When did you first realize your love of this music and just the jazz and big band genre as a whole?
My grandfather – I used to deliver bakery goods with him and he used to have some tapes in his van and he had the Sinatra Trilogy and a couple others. I would just listen to it all the time. I got kind of hooked on it when I was probably about 9 or ten years old and then as I got older I would listen to it around the house. When I moved out to Los Angeles, years later, I was working as a waiter and I wanted to learn how to sing and I saw this singing waiter restaurant and I heard all of these great standards. I met this great piano player that kind of taught me about ‘The Great American Songbook’ and great song writers. It inspired me to go back to school to finish up my music degree and get my Master’s degree, so I did and I got hooked on the genre.
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you?
We’re doing five weekends in Atlantic City at the 500 Club and every weekend we have a different guest. We have Haley Reinhart, Peter Erskine and then when we get back to Los Angeles we’re doing a huge event with all of the best chefs in L.A. on July 31. On August 5 we’re in Los Angeles at The Grove doing a PBS special, in November we’ll be at the Musical Instruments Museum in Scottsdale Arizona, we’re going to open up for the Count Basie Orchestra. We’ll be in San Diego and Las Vegas, we just have a lot of great things happening. We’re working on going over to Europe next year.
Even though you haven’t hit Europe yet, when you’re traveling and doing these tour dates, what is one non-electronic item you must have with you?
I’m going to have to say a tie clip, we wear tie clips and we all have matching outfits and so everyone shares the tie clips. I’ll tell you, a couple years ago we decided that we’re no longer going to appear anywhere, the core group, unless we were dressed the same, matching suits, ties, black socks and it all kind of started as a joke and now people expect it. People are like, “Oh my God you have baby blue jackets tonight” or we’ll have those Ted Baker jackets. It’s a point of pride to just be the best dressed, best looking jazz musicians on the planet. How you present yourself shows a lot about how you feel about your music
If you can have lunch with any of the artists who you have covered musically, which one would it be and why?
It would have to be Frank Sinatra, even though I’m inspired by many people, there’s no one that’s recorded as many songs like him, there’s no one who’s been in the limelight like him and he’s had so many different stages in his career. The first stage in his career he was just part of a band and maybe not even the most essential part, then he became the first guy to become the forefront in a big band, in that type of genre. Then later in his career he had comebacks and all that stuff – just the amount of recordings and seeing someone evolve like that, from a beautiful voice and great singer to maybe someone who wasn’t considered to having the most beautiful voice but was able to tell a story and he was a great actor too. Frank, he did it all.
Tickets for the July 11th show are on sale now. You can purchase tickets here.