NEPA Scene Staff

Former Badlees singer Pete Palladino performs at Opera House in Jim Thorpe on March 17

Former Badlees singer Pete Palladino performs at Opera House in Jim Thorpe on March 17
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From a press release:

Singer/songwriter Pete Palladino, best known as the lead vocalist of Selinsgrove rock band The Badlees, will perform with an all-star lineup of local musicians, including some of his former Badlees bandmates, at the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe on Sunday, March 17.

Doors at the Opera House (14 W. Broadway, Jim Thorpe) open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7 p.m.

Tickets, which are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and $25 for VIP passes, can be purchased on the Opera House website, by calling 570-325-0249, and by visiting SoundCheck Records (23 Broadway, Jim Thorpe) or calling them at 570-325-4009. The facility is open from noon-5 p.m. on show days, and tickets are available for most shows at the door at showtime. Parking is available and free after 5 p.m. at the Carbon County lot behind the train station.

Pete Palladino, one of Pennsylvania’s most successful recording artists, redefines what it means to be a vocalist. Over his 30-year career, including his long stint with now-defunct roots rock band The Badlees, he has built his fan base one person at a time through his dynamic performance style.

He naturally gravitated into acting with his debut in the 2016 film “All in Time,” which was written and directed by former Badlees manager Chris Fetchko, based on his time with the band. The band also contributed 10 songs to the film, shot locally in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and is featured heavily on the soundtrack. “All in Time” will screen in NEPA once again as part of the 2019 Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival on Saturday, March 23.

Whether watching Palladino live on stage, listening to him in headphones, or seeing him on the big screen, it’s easy to see that he is far beyond a singer with a magnificent voice and remarkable stage presence. In addition to recording eight studio albums and several other releases with The Badlees, he also made solo albums like “Sweet Siren of the Reconnected” and “50:45 Live.” He is calling his new power pop project The Circa 68.

“Time to road test a bunch of new songs! I’ve enlisted some of the best musicians I know, Dustin Douglas and the Electric Gents and my buddy Jeff Feltenberger, to help bring these tunes to life,” Palladino said. “Here we go!”

Returning to the Mauch Chunk Opera House, Palladino’s program on March 17 will include his original songs, including some from his new album set for release later this year, and numbers that he helped popularize as the vocalist of The Badlees. His live band will comprise of some of his many musical friends, including all three members of Wilkes-Barre blues rock band Dustin Douglas and the Electric Gentlemen – singer/guitarist Dustin Drevitch (who also played guitar for The Badlees), bassist Matt “The Dane” Gabriel, and drummer Tommy Smallcomb. Other former Badlees, guitarist Jeff Feltenberger and violinist Nyke Van Wyk, round out the lineup.

The Badlees created and performed original roots rock music since 1990. Palladino, Bret Alexander (guitar), Paul Smith (bass), Jeff Feltenberger (guitar), and Ron Simasek (drums) joined forces decades ago after a few happenstance introductions that, some would say, were driven by destiny. In 2009, guitarist Dustin Drevitch and violinist Nyke Van Wyk joined the band. Individually, the members are very different on many levels, each coming to the table with unique personalities and musical influences. However, these differences are why The Badlees worked in the first place and survived ups and downs in the ever-changing music industry, releasing several independent albums and achieving national success with their 1995 album “River Songs.”

“River Songs” was released on their indie label Rite-Off Records and sold over 10,000 units before being picked up by national label Polydor/Atlas. The album was re-released across the country in October of 1995 and spawned three national hits – “Fear of Falling,” “Angeline Is Coming Home,” and “Gwendolyn.”

In 1998, after recording a follow-up album, Polydor/Atlas was sold to the Seagram Corporation, which delayed the release of the album and eventually led to The Badlees being dropped from the roster. They continued to perform and produce albums independently, ignoring trends and making great music regardless of what was in vogue at the time. Wrapping complex, thought-provoking lyrics in the rock band format was The Badlees’ secret sauce, garnering radio hits, critical acclaim, and a fervent fan base.

In 2013, they released their 10th studio album, “Epiphones and Empty Rooms,” a double-disc release highlighting the band’s complex duality. In 2014, Alexander and Smith left the band and the remaining members played The Badlees’ final shows with special guests.

Despite their differences, The Badlees and its individual members have inspired, mentored, advised, produced, and performed with many artists throughout the Pennsylvania music scene, cementing their legacy for generations to come.

Photo by Rich Howells/NEPA Scene