Q&A with Frank Sidoris
Cover Photo Credit: @photosbydraia
RVM: How old were you when you first started playing guitar and what influenced you and made you want to start?
FS: I was 15 years old, just about to turn 16 when I first started taking guitar lessons. I had been skateboarding nonstop at the time with every intent on making it as a professional when the guitar took over. A bunch of my friends had already been playing guitar around that time and I felt that it would only take my love for music to a new level to actually learn how to play an instrument.
RVM: Growing up in the Las Vegas entertainment industry, what did you think at a young age you would be doing now?
FS: Whatever it was in my head at the time, it involved a stage. So much of my upbringing was around entertainment in some fashion and it always felt like the right place to be. Within the first year or two of playing the guitar I would envision the future from a “when I’m on stage” perspective and it came true, at first through local bands for years, and eventually on to touring acts, etc.
RVM: What was your first tour vehicle when you first started touring?
FS: We drove through the entire lower 48 States in a passenger van affectionately referred to as “The Mule.” Terrifying trips through the Rockies in the winter and everything.
RVM: What’s the craziest thing to happen to you or that you’ve ever done on stage?
FS: There’s plenty of absurd moments to report from on stage over the years, I’ve lost count of the amount of people that have ran on stage to attempt to take Slash’s hat during our set. It never ends well, but the video footage of the chase scenes between the security and the hat stealers are always hilarious.
RVM: What was the number one show you’ve ever played and why?
FS: It used to be tough to pin it down until we played Allegiant Stadium a couple years back opening for Guns N Roses. As a Vegas native, it couldn’t have meant more to play for my hometown with a VGK flag on my mic stand. We were technically the first rock band to play there which still blows my mind, the crowd was immediately on our side, and we had a core memory level show.
RVM: What was your favorite go-to meal while on tour or your touring staple?
FS: I’m a big proponent of always getting out in the city you’re in and discovering what it has to offer. Coffee, food, etc. Pre-show I swear by two bananas and Pedialyte. No cramps!
RVM: Did you have moments of failure before you made it big in which you felt like quitting your pursuit of music?
FS: Aside from my previous bands breaking up, the goal was always to go forward. It never felt like a failure, it was definitely a learning experience and growth at the end of the day. Touring has its incredible ups and very real downs that can make you question some things over time, but you power through as it is all most definitely worth it.
RVM: The son of a Las Vegas showgirl, what are some fun memories you have about growing up being the son of the well-known Angela Stabile?
FS: Most kids who grow up here and go to the Strip once a year when their family visits. My sister and I on the other hand have taken advantage of every single bit of what Vegas had to offer in the early 1990’s through the early 2000’s because of my family. We often talk about how fortunate we were to be raised in such an amazing and specifically family-friendly Vegas era. We knew the ins and outs of the amusement park/water park, the buffets, and shows on the Strip. The entire decade was one incredible memory and continues to feel that way as adults. We love Vegas, and it remains to be my favorite place in the world.
RVM: Being a rock star obviously has its perks. What are some of your favorite things or doors that open for you based on your rocker status?
FS: I’d say being able to be in any sort of close proximity to my heroes. Being in the same room and even jamming with the people I’ve grown up idolizing in some cases has been so special over the years. Never loses its luster.
RVM: What legendary musicians and/or bands were you a fan of that you have now at this point in your professional career toured with?
FS: I’d say one of the most unlikely and full circle moments for me was playing live alongside of two of my heroes at the same time, Alex Lifeson of Rush and Alice Cooper. Alex never seems to play with other artists other than his own band, so it seemed like it wasn’t real when I received the email that we’d all be playing the same charity event together. We had the best time and I found myself calling these guys friends after the event, still hard to believe. Then comes my current touring band, Mammoth WVH. I’ve had some of the best times of my touring life out here with Wolfgang Van Halen and this crew.
RVM: What was that groundbreaking moment when you realized you’d made it?
FS: There have been a few of those “pinch me” moments that are forever burned into my memory, and most of them are from the inside of stadiums or at massive festivals where there was roughly 90,000 people chanting the chorus to your song in unison. Aside from that, I still have big aspirations and ideas for the future that haven’t come to fruition yet which I am looking forward to the most. I don’t feel that I’ve made it yet, there’s still so much work to do.
RVM: Now the owner of the historic Hard Hat Lounge, what’s your favorite thing about owning the iconic long-standing tavern?
FS: Being able to serve the Downtown Las Vegas community and the Las Vegas industry has been one of the most rewarding feelings ever. Especially in one of the three oldest and iconic bars in town. Vegas and its culture are my life as well as my families and all I want to do is be there for the city in any way that I can.
RVM: Who would you most enjoy collaborating with?
FS: I’d say the biggest fish of all would be Paul McCartney, but I feel a more realistic goal would be working with Jack White. I’ve respected his approach to breaking all of the rules since I started playing guitar and then comes how he’s created his own music industry within the industry.