Vegas’ Franks and Deans put a punk rock spin on the Rat Pack

Their success is inked into another man’s shin.

A few years back, Allan Carter, founder of Vegas’ SquidHat Records, told signees Frank & Deans that he’d honor the first act to sell 1,000 copies on his label by getting a tattoo of their band logo.

“I keep my promises,” Carter says as he pulls up a pants leg, the glow of illuminated blowfish above him on his tiki-themed back patio, revealing the tat in question.

Two years ago, Frank & Deans dropped their debut, “How Did You All Get In My Room?,” an album full of punked-up takes on Rat Pack tunes, old-school Vegas with new velocity levels.

It would become SquidHat’s biggest seller — for now.

Squidhat’s distributor has already ordered three times as many copies of the band’s new record, the aptly titled “The Best You’re Gonna Feel All Day,” than they did the last go-round.

‘We give them fair warning’

How did Franks & Deans get here?

By playing here, there, everywhere.

They’ve performed in 7,000-seat amphitheaters in Milwaukee, sandwiched between Foghat and Toto. They’ve done car shows, weddings and senior dance parties, played basements and theaters alike, opened for Bad Religion and gotten loose with Otis Day.

Here’s how it goes down: “We have a spot in every show where we introduce the band and (guitarist-singer Ryan “Arpee”) Sampson says, ‘Hi, we’re Franks & Deans from Las Vegas, Nevada, and we’re here to (mess) up your grandma’s music,’ ” grins singer-guitarist Jordan Hoss, a big dude with an equally outsize crooner’s voice.

“We give them fair warning,” adds the group’s dancer, Miss Nicole Muse (“She keeps the guys looking and the girls dancing,” bassist Robert DeTie explains.)

‘Freedom to explore’

While Franks & Deans’ sound was pretty specific on their debut (Frank, Sammy and Dean with amps to 11 and Pabst tallboys in place of martini glasses), they branch out significantly on their new one, which would be hard to classify as a punk record, really.

“I think on the first record, you had to validate the concept: We’re a punk band that plays Rat Pack songs,” Carter explains. “On the second record you get the freedom to explore the musicianship of it a little more, and the range.”

“All Day” luxuriates in said range.

At times, they play things relatively straight: Franks & Deans don’t tinker too much with The Coasters’ “Down to Mexico,” an album standout with radiant harmonies, one of the band’s clear strengths.

Elsewhere, they tweak a tune into a new genre, nudging Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang” into ska.

And then there are the mashups, DeTie’s specialty, where they’ll merge a punk favorite with a standard from a different era.

On “Day,” they successfully crash Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” into Green Day’s “Brain Stew,” Sinatra’s “Luck Be A Lady” into The Specials’ “Ghost Town,” Rancid’s “Roots Radicals” into Bobby Darin’s “Splish Splash.”

“That happened as an accident,” DeTie says of the latter number. “Those two songs came on Pandora back to back. I was just like ‘Holy (crap), they go together.’ There’s times when I’ll put Rat Pack in one ear and punk rock in the other and sit there for a minute and go, ‘These songs go together.’ ”

‘Bring the party’

On paper, this could all read like a clunky novelty, a forced gimmick that would grow old as rapidly as these songs are played.

But Franks & Deans pull it off by a). possessing serious musical chops, with exceptional vocal interplay b). coming at the source material from multiple entry points as opposed to a singular approach c). hangover-the-next-day-level live shows that could sometimes pass for stand-up comedy routines, frequently spanning three hours.

“When the main thing is to bring the party, it doesn’t matter what music you’re into,” Hoss says, explaining how the Deans have been able to go over with such diverse crowds, from metalheads to kids, seniors citizens to punks, gray-hairs to dyed-orange-hairs.

Though the band now consumes more and more of their lives, with the group spending a good portion of the year on the road, touring months at a time, they still keep everything in-house. Hoss does the booking, Sampson oversees the finances, Muse does the merch at live gigs, DeTie handles transportation, drummer Michael “Pip” Ullemeyer puts together the fliers and helps with artwork.

It’s working: This bunch is getting almost as big as their crocodile grins, which are as much a part of their show-day uniform as their tuxedo T-shirts.

“Consider me the Huey Lewis of the tribute band world,” Sampson quips, joking about being an “old man rocker.” “I love it. It’s gotten us to play places that I never thought I’d see myself play at all.

“I’m 38 years old,” he adds. “I’ve been waiting my whole life to get to this point.”

Contact Jason Bracelin at or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

Spring Preserve kicks off its Holiday Express
Springs Preserve hosts its Holiday Express, which includes a train ride, visits with Santa, SNOW, and a village winter wonderland.
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like