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Las Vegas drummer Bobby Morris still slamming at 91

Updated June 24, 2019 - 11:13 am

The Kats! Bureau is the Tropicana Theater, site of the 33rd Golden Rainbow “Ribbon of Life” show benefiting the organization that provides housing and emergency financial assistance to those affected by or living with HIV/AIDS in Southern Nevada.

Applause all around for the 2019 “Summer of Love” show to Golden Rainbow Director Gary Costa, show producer Pietra Sardelli, and directors Andrew Wright, Nicholas Foote and Jenny Ammon-Hunsaker for navigating this year’s cavalcade of about 200 entertainers.

Every year, the show is a classic labor of love.

More from this scene, and elsewhere:

Morris to rock it

Our favorite nonagenarian drummer is ready to pound it down at South Point Showroom on Thursday afternoon.

Bobby Morris, less than a week shy of his 92nd birthday, is performing with the band on “The Dennis Bono Show” at 2 p.m. Thursday. He’s planning to slam through the jazz standard “Cherokee,” and then, as he says, “Open up a little.”

Later, signing his new autobiography, “Bobby Morris — My Las Vegas,” from 4 to 7 p.m.at Family Music Theatre, 8125 W. Sahara Ave. Morris moved to Las Vegas in 1950, He’s performed behind Elvis, Barbra Streisand, Liberace, Harry Belafonte, Wayne Newton, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn — famously, in his heyday Morris backed every headlining singer in Vegas.

“When I moved here, there were 30,000 people in Las Vegas,” Morris says. “We had five hotels on the Strip. When I tell people that, they don’t believe me.”

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Morris’ longtime friend and celebrated Vegas musician and bandleader Jerry Lopez are scheduled to attend Thursday’s book signing.

Morris, also a booking agent in Las Vegas, was the one who gave Lopez’s then-new band the name Santa Fe when the Lopez brothers arrived in town in the mid-1970s. “This was many years ago, and I asked Jerry, ‘Where are you guys from?’ When he told me, I said, ‘OK, you’re now Santa Fe,’ ” Morris says. “I thought it would be a more sell-able name.”

Morris still plays regularly, for musical-arts students across the country. “I’m playing all the time, and my hands are in good shape,” he says. ‘In fact, Herbie Hancock’s drummer, Mike Clark, just called me and told me he’d read the book and loved it. Can you believe that? I am so happy.”

Not on the set list …

But performed with great zeal, Aerosmith performed “Happy Birthday to You” for drummer Joey Kramer on Saturday night. Kramer actually turned 69 Friday, when the band was between shows in its “Deuces Are Wild” residency. Kramer had missed two performances for what was described as “a minor accident,” and not the onstage sniping with Steven Tyler caught by fans’ posts of the shows. But Kramer was in classic form Saturday.

P&T’s nights off

A case of tendinitis in Teller’s right hip forced the Penn & Teller stage show to cancel Friday and Saturday night’s shows. The production is dark next week. The ailment is not deemed serious, and Teller says he’s following doctor’s orders to stay off his feet.

Tiki toasts

Evel Pie and The Golden Tiki Managing Partner Branden Powers and his wife, Lisa Marie Powers, celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary Saturday night in true Powers fashion: with a shrunken-head ceremony at The Golden Tiki. The couple were both added to the club’s ever-expanding display.

The night also marked the one-year anniversary of the death of heavy-metal icon Vinnie Paul of Pantera and Hellyeah. Paul was a regular at the Tiki haven and among the first to be honored with a shrunken head.

“We were married in Hawaii the day he passed,” Branden Powers said Sunday. “We did the first toast to him. It’s the circle of life.”

The Tony Twitter thing

You might have noticed, or not, that my @JohnnyKats Twitter account was suspended for a couple of weeks.

The post that put the Twitter folks over the edge was a post on June 18, 2019, from “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding” at Buca di Beppo at Bally’s. I had posted a video of the bride and bridesmaids grooving to ‘N Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye,” which was flagged for violating Twitter’s music-copyright policy.

My account was reinstated Thursday, but lost in this odyssey is the status of “Tony N’ Tina’s” dinner show. It closed at the end of March, with the showroom returning to a banquet area. The show’s unhappy fate brings to mind a boy-band hit, but I’m not singing it …

Cool Hang Alert

“A Hard Day’s Night” and “Abbey Road” are being revived at 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Copa Room at Tuscany Suites. This is the latest in bandleader Kenny Davidsen’s “Playlists” series, with noted harmonizer Jerry Jones producing. Prepare for extensive boldface action:

Clint Holmes, Anne Martinez, Bucky Heard of the Righteous Brothers, Vin A. of Bronx Wanderers, Michael Cavanaugh of “Movin’ Out” on Broadway, Jimmy Denning and Tommy Sherlock of Tenors of Rock, Colin Cahill, Eric Sean, Charlie Quinn Starling, Cassiopée V. Lapierre of Every Woman’s Band, Stephanie Calvert of Starship, Enoch Augustus Scott of “Zombie Burlesque, Joe DiNunzio AND yours truly (oh, yes) are performing from both albums.

The band: Mike “Beans” Benigno on drums, Dennis Blair on bass, David Braun on guitar, Dave Siegel on synthesizer and Davidsen on keys. Jones, Naomi Mauro and Jamie Hosmer are on backing vocals, with Nina DiGregorio guesting on violin. There is no cover — how we prefer it — and this is a serious hang for Beatles fans and music fans. Get there.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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