Music Monday: Reckless in Vegas

Reckless in Vegas

Reckless in Vegas

They are a POWERHOUSE, infusing Las Vegas 1950's and 60's classics with a hard core rockin' modern vibe. This all star cast, comprised of Michael Shapiro of Trip fame, Mario Cipollina, co-founder of Huey Lewis and The News, and Ryan "Dr. Fu" Low, drum aficionado, form Reckless in Vegas. It's a genius idea, really, because those young ears are hearing the reinvented classic music of the Golden Era for the first time while those familiar with the time period enjoy listening to their favorites in a brand new way. And the outcome is one you'll need to hear for yourself. You can't help but turn the volume waaayyyy up and marvel at the brilliance of some pretty awesome musicians.  Read on, and prepare to rock out!

What are your names and roles in Reckless in Vegas? What is the story behind the band name?

Michael Shapiro- Vocals & Guitar Mario Cipollina- Bass & Vocals Ryan "Dr. Fu" Low- Drums & Vocals There are a couple of stories behind the name Reckless In Vegas. First off, one morning back in 2007, when I was first forming the band, I received a phone call from my ex-girl friend who had awoken from a vivid dream. She began excitedly recapping the dream before forgetting the details. She said, in the dream, she was the guitarist of an all female band, playing specifically, my red 1990 Fender Stratocaster, and the name of said "dream" band was Reckless In Vegas. Now in actuality, she wasn't in a band, she didn't play guitar, she was no longer my girl friend, and I was in need of a catchy name for the band. So obviously, and of course with her permission, I decided use the name. Besides, I loved it! All of my life I've followed my dreams, well in this case, I followed someone else's.

Secondly, I grew up in Las Vegas, clearly this needs no further explanation. That was the story up until last year. During a meditation, I was inspired by a crystal clear vision to create an album as well as a full production show that paid homage to Las Vegas' 50's & 60's golden era and the artists that painted the town during that period, yet make the songs current with modern, edgy, original arrangements. We always thought the name was cool, made sense, and although we had already been rockin' the Reckless In Vegas name for 5 years and two albums, now the name really made sense. Perhaps it was our name that inspired the vision in the first place, or...perhaps the name was a profound premonition for what was to be. Chicken or the egg? Either way, we are what we are and Reckless In Vegas is the name!

Describe the band's music style to our readers.

We're a pretty straight ahead power trio. Bass, drums, and guitar, with three part harmony vocals. Our sound is influenced by just about every genre on the planet but rock is definitely our foundation. We absolutely love quality music that transcends the listener emotionally, physically and spiritually, so it's always a priority for us to do the same with the music we create. Our latest album and current live show are rockin' contemporary renditions of songs by 1960's Las Vegas golden era acts….such as, Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis, Sonny & Cher, Frankie Valli, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash, Bobby Darin, and much more. Think The Rat Pack meets Green Day.

Is the 1960s era your favorite time period and why?

Not necessarily, although there was definitely amazing music being created, recorded and performed during the 60's. As a band, as well as individually, we have been inspired and influenced by artists from pretty much every decade, 50's to current. The idea to do an album of this kind came to me in a vision with absolute clarity. As I said before, I grew up in Las Vegas and was always obsessed with the music being performed on the Las Vegas Strip. From Elvis to the Rat Pack, they had my attention. So the three of us, along with our producer, Dan Shea, took a look back to the early days of Vegas. The 60's in particular seemed to be rich with timeless hit songs that resonated with all of us. We knew the original versions needed to be treated with great respect. We knew we wanted to pay homage to them while making them current, and it was a must that we put our original sound into them. According to the critics, our fans, and of course our own intuition, we've definitely accomplished what we had set out to do.

You guys look like you're having a blast on stage. What's your favorite part about performing live?

There are so many facets to the answer to this question but clearly sharing the music with our fans and affecting the planet in a positive way is a highlight. We feel performing onstage and connecting with the audience is an opportunity to be of service and a healthy contribution to our seemingly challenged world. We love that anything can happen so it's facing the unknown, walking through fear, completely letting go and giving our audiences an experience as well a joy they'll wanna tell their friends and family about. Additionally, we feel blessed to be able to share this type of creative performance with people, aspiring to give them an experience they'll never forget. It's the kind of reward the band and I never take for granted. Each and every moment we're creating, recording, and performing, we are oozing with gratitude.

What are your musical backgrounds?

Michael Shapiro began playing trumpet in grade school, followed in later years by piano, guitar, and vocals. With the exception of studying with various vocal coaches over the years and one beginning piano class, Michael is predominantly self taught. Fronting cover bands in Las Vegas as a teenager, he naturally began writing and recording. Releasing his first album in 1995 with the band Trip with 3 albums to follow. Trip toured with VH-1's Rock Across America Tour opening for Duncan Sheik, Romantics, Edwin McCain, and Cheap Trick. In 2003, Trip toured with Great White and on their 21st show in Rhode Island, the tour was brought to an abrupt and tragic end with the West Warwick Station Nightclub Fire. In 2005, after a two year hiatus, Shapiro recorded his first solo album, taking 5 of the 12 songs and releasing an EP entitled "Everything". The single "Hope" received strong radio air-play across the US, thus landing him on a sold out national tour with the band Live. He relocated to San Rafael in 2006 in search of the perfect-fit rhythm section and formed Reckless In Vegas.

Mario Cipollina began playing classical bass at age 6. He is known industry wide as a deep pocket player - "why settle for a groove when you can dig a trench" Upon leaving the Marin symphony when he was 13, Mario struck out on his own with his high school band of friends, Sound Hole, and punctuated is early musical life doing jobs as bassist for Stone Ground, Merle Saunders. Before graduating high school he had toured with Van Morrison for over a year. During the seventies Cipollina explored the jazz/fusion world, during which time he cut an album with legendary drummer, Tony Williams. Later, upon Tony' s referral, Mario toured with Ronnie Montrose, even doing stints with Brian Auger and numerous jam sessions with Narada - Michael Walden. After being hired by Foreigner in '79, Mario saw an opportunity to land that fabled record contract the he and his high school band mates had reached for in his earlier years. He jumped ship and came home to co- found Huey Lewis and The News, in which he would go on to amass a room full of American Music Awards, Grammies, Bammies, and even an Academy Awards nomination for co-writing and producing the number one single "Power of Love" which was featured in the blockbuster movie Back to the Future. With Huey and the News, Mario was invited to sing on the record breaking song, "We Are The World" , and remembers the thrill of calling his mom, sister, and legendary guitarist brother John with the news that, "I'm on the cover of Time Magazine!" None of this seems to have changed Cipollina from the prankster, and love filled guy he' s known to be, so when he and Shapiro found themselves each wanting new blood in their musical lives, they both jumped; teaming with Dr Fu to re-create Reckless in Vegas as the power house trio that is primed to explode on the international stage. "We' re gonna walk on down, and rock 'em all!"

Ryan Low (a.k.a. Dr. Fu) is a high visibility drummer who is remarkable for his showmanship, distinctive styles, and driving rhythm. Ryan's unique approach and explosive energy onstage, brings him to the forefront with the rest of the band. Besides being a performer and session player, Ryan is a committed teacher of drums and music for the last 15 years. He applies his classical music training in addition to his 25 years of live performing to his teaching along with his love and passion for drumming. Although Ryan is a true lover of rock and funk drumming, he has explored a variety of musical styles from hip-hop to country, latin jazz to R&B. Always looking for a challenge to expand his musical repertoire, Ryan has found it in spades with Reckless in Vegas! Besides 'giving it up every night' behind the drum set, Ryan has added a new dimension to his musicianship singing with RIV for the last four years.

If you could pick one musician (alive or dead) to perform with, who would it be?

Michael- John Lennon Ryan- James Jamerson Mario- Jimi Hendrix

What are 3 things many people don't know about the 3 of you?

Michael- "I'm a total homebody/recluse. I love to completely relax with my dog Ralphi and disappear into a blissful movie marathon. I can do it for days but when it comes to the logistics of touring, the business side of things, and leading the band, I'm a high strung control freak attempting to find balance between perfectionism and creativity. A bit crazy to be around but I'm good at laughing at myself. I have to admit, my "attempt" at controlling everything is definitely heightened by performance anxiety. The band and crew constantly make fun of me about this and clearly enjoy rousing me about it. With that said, a good sense of humor is the only way to survive in this band!"

Mario- "Being the "youngest" member of the band, I find myself enamored with anything in the gidgets and gadgets category, especially if it's remote controlled. Cars, drones, hovercrafts, planes, helicopters and boats always have my full attention. If it's remote controlled, count me in! I have to also mention my love for writing pens. I have yet to find a computer as romantic as a beautifully crafted writing pen."

Ryan- "I have a love affair with unusual food recipes and continually attempt to satisfy my complex palate however, when on the road, I become obsessed with chili cheese dogs. I even have the Der Weinerschnitzel moblie app store locator on my phone. And trust me, I use in every city. When returning from tours, I immediately turn to my other fix, racing motorcycles in order to burn off added calories of said chili cheese dogs. Considered an ancient Chinese secret, this balance makes me happy!"

What are your goals for the upcoming year?

With the release of our new remake album, "The Hard Way", along with our exciting new concept show, we plan to tour as much as possible March through October. We are also planing to shoot two music videos, still trying to decide which songs to make them for. Difficult to make decisions like this when every song on the album is more than worthy. Later in the year following the touring season, we will begin pre-production for our next album. Our live show currently features 19 songs, all remakes and 5 of those are 2 song medleys. "The Hard Way" has 11 of those songs on it, so the additional 8 songs from the live show, plus what we create in the fall will go on our next album to be released in early 2015. We are an extraordinarily ambitious band so anything is possible. We are open to everything that's sounds fun and if it makes sense for us, it will be added to the schedule.

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Posted on January 6, 2014 and filed under Music Monday.