Going solo pays off for Campanella


Drummers don't usually do solo acts, especially in Vegas lounges.

But Paul Campanella has replaced his sticks with a guitar pick and a microphone, at least on Fridays at Santa Fe Station. From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Campanella performs his solo act in the 4949 Lounge, covering everything from Justin Bieber to Train.

He's made a career as a drummer, starting at 15 when he saw a Motley Crue concert. Tommy Lee and the pyrotechnics were impressive to a teenager looking for career ideas. His musician father further encouraged him to take a musical path when he handed Campanella a fistful of cash for playing a gig with him.

"That was my high school job, working with him," Campanella says. "He handed me some money at the end of a gig, and I said, 'Hey this is pretty cool. I could do this.' "

His solo act, complete with guitar, didn't start until three years ago when a manager from the pub at Lake Las Vegas asked for a referral. He still plays drums with the band Red Light.

"They had cut back on their budgets," Campanella says. "So the managers would call and say 'Hey, we can't afford a whole band, do you know anyone who could come down and do a solo act?' I wasn't working at the time, so I said 'I can do it.' It's now become half my income."

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Campanella moved to Las Vegas six years ago to settle down. He made a good living playing drums but he was constantly on the road. He had young children and wanted to see them grow up.

"I was in a hotel in Sicily," he remembers. "We had a day off, and I was thinking there's got to be a better way to make a steady paycheck and see my kids. So eventually I wound up finding a band and moving here."

 

Comment section guidelines

The below comment section contains thoughts and opinions from users that in no way represent the views of the Las Vegas Review-Journal or Stephens Media LLC. This public platform is intended to provide a forum for users of reviewjournal.com to share ideas, express thoughtful opinions and carry the conversation beyond the article. Users must follow the guidelines under our Commenting Policy and are encouraged to use the moderation tools to help maintain civility and keep discussions on topic.