Q&A: FRANKIE SCINTA
A MAN, A STAGE AND A WHOLE LOT OF HEART
BY KIKO MIYASATO
Frankie Scinta is one part of a family of longtime Las Vegas performers going by the stage name The Scintas. While the original lineup isn’t currently performing together, today, headliner Frankie, brother Joey, drummer Peter O’Donnell and singer Janien Valentine perform a new show at The D downtown. Part vintage Vegas, part modern-day vaudeville, the Frankie Scinta show is all talent. Las Vegas Magazine’s Kiko Miyasato recently sat down with the singer and musician for a chat.
You’ve recently revamped the show. What’s new?
The show was more family-oriented. Now it’s more raw, more ad-lib. The music is very current, where it was a lot of vintage Vegas before. You sometimes think of your age, and think, “Man, we can’t do current music like Bruno Mars,” but man, we nail it. Avicii, we nail it. I’m loving the new material.
How did you decide which current songs were going to be in the show?
It’s really hard to find music from today that’s really universal to all ages, because no matter what I do in the show, I want somebody (who’s) 60 to appreciate the Avicii tune. I want a kid that’s listening to me doing a vintage song, a Dean Martin song, I want them to appreciate it. So everything is done in a very universal feel.
Are you only a musical family onstage, or is it offstage, too?
Oh my god, there’s always a guitar, singing. In Buffalo (N.Y.) in the fall, we light fires in the backyard, in the pit. Everyone comes over and we eat, we drink and we sit around the fire and sing songs. It’s just heartwarming. Music has been a part of our lives from the beginning—our uncles and our grandpa would sit in the kitchen with a mandolin and a guitar and they would sing all these old Sicilian songs, and that’s what inspired us. Food and music, the two elements that bring people together.
You’re a longtime Vegas performer. Why do you like performing here?
Yeah, 15 years (The Scintas) have been performing in Vegas. You know, fisherman go to the ocean, entertainers go to Vegas. It is the Entertainment Capital of the World. … Entertainment runs the full gamut, from laughter to cheers, and it’s a roller coaster of emotions, and that’s what our show is and Las Vegas is the perfect setting.
What’s the best thing about performing onstage in front of an audience?
It’s the air that I breathe. I live to perform. I can’t wait to walk up on that stage. It’s a rush of energy for me. To see the smiles when you have a great audience, it’s a like a shot of adrenaline that no money can buy.
If you wanted people to remember you by one song, what would it be?
“My Way” by Frank Sinatra. It was my father’s favorite song. Not that I always do things my way, but when you’re committed to something, people tell you to go this way and go that way, pulling you in nine directions, and when you stand on your own two feet and do it your way, whether it’s right or wrong, this is how you’re gonna do it. And that’s what I’ve done my whole life. I always did the kind of music that made me feel good onstage and made the audience feel good. Just like in the song, “when the end is near” … I lived. I loved. And I did everything I wanted to do. I’m gonna do it “my way” until the day I die.