When Elliot Szabo moved to Las Vegas in 2007, he had enough money to either get his pilot's license or to start a band and record a CD.
He had long dreamed of flying airplanes, but he also yearned for success as a musician. Fast-forward four years. Szabo still doesn't have his pilot's license.
What he does have: a band, a recording studio, a CD and a regular gig at ETA Lounge in Aliante Station.
Born and raised in southern Indiana, Szabo spent seven years in Chicago playing the club circuit until moving here with his girlfriend. He worked a steady day job in sales, thinking one day he would get the chance to pursue his musical dreams. Getting laid off gave him a reason to do just that. He also started his own recording studio with a friend.
"I had always had a plan to make the leap (to professional musician)," Szabo says. "Really, we've just done anything that we can do musically to survive. It's not just about being a player."
A tour in January 2010 helped the Elliot Szabo band get some exposure and a few gigs. Last summer, they opened for Hoobastank during a concert at the Rio's pool.
The band plays a mix of '60s, '70s and '80s but they've been focused on '90s alternative music, including Smashing Pumpkins, Sublime and Gin Blossoms.
The band plays from midnight to 3 a.m. Fridays at ETA Lounge. For more information, visit www.elliotszabo.com.
-- By SONYA PADGETT