NEPA Scene Staff

Former Badlees singer Pete Palladino records live solo album at Opera House in Jim Thorpe on Oct. 13

Former Badlees singer Pete Palladino records live solo album at Opera House in Jim Thorpe on Oct. 13
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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 be recording a live solo record with former Badlees bandmates and a well-known Wilkes-Barre trio at the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe on Sunday, Oct. 13.

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 $20 in advance, $30 at the door, and $27 for limited 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.

There are only 36 VIP seats, and each pass holder is invited to the sound check at 4 p.m. that afternoon, followed by a meet and greet with Palladino and the band, which features former Badlees guitarist Jeff Feltenberger and all three members of blues rock trio 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.

“I wanted to put together a lineup of people I love creating with, musicians I’m very, very in tune with. I love singing with Jeff. Dusty is one of the kindest souls I know, as well as one of the most talented people I know. He speaks music, he exudes music; that guitar is an extension of his body. It’s so wonderful to create music with people who can learn a new song at the drop of a hat, who are 100 percent there,” Palladino told the Opera House in a recent interview.

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” was recently screened at the 2019 Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival in Scranton and is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

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.”

His new solo project, The Circa 68, will feature original songs penned by Palladino and longtime collaborator Mike Naydock. This material continues down the power pop road that has been his longtime love, with some songs tested at the Mauch Chunk Opera House back in March and a few other recent shows.

“The impetus behind these new shows is to road test these new songs, to have that sort of exchange you have when you’re sitting around playing in your living room. I want people to see and hear something they haven’t seen and heard. At the end of the day, we want everyone to feel positive. I love that feeling when you’re on stage and you look around and everyone is tuned in; no one is staring at their feet or stuck in a corner. At the end of the day, it’s all about melody and choruses that are big and just the feeling that you get when it’s a beautiful summer day and the windows are down on your car and a song comes on the radio and it just hits you,” Palladino said.

“I never really wanted to be a solo artist. When I was touring with my first solo record [2001’s “Sweet Siren of the Reconnected”], I would have an amazing show in Boston and I’d walk offstage and I’d be by myself. It was lonely, and I don’t like to be lonely. The great thing about being in a band is having someone to share the victories, the defeats, the hard nights, the easy nights. I don’t need a posse; I just like to be surrounded by musicians I admire and like. It’s just good to look left onstage and see somebody.”

The Badlees were a six-piece rock band who created and performed music since 1990. Palladino, Bret Alexander (guitar), Paul Smith (bass), and Ron Simasek (drums) joined forces decades ago after a few happenstance introductions that, some would say, were driven by destiny. In 2009, 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 Paul 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