[Weekly Q&A]

Franky Perez returns with new gigs, new songs and a new lease on life

From supporting social justice with album proceeds or sharing his personal struggles to inspire hope, Franky Perez is a musician with heart.
Photo: Bridget Bohas

Before Imagine Dragons, before The Killers, there was singer-songwriter Franky Perez, whose 2003 major-label debut Poor Man’s Son spawned the single “Something Crazy.” The Vegas native has since diversified into a range of projects, playing guitar for hard rockers Scars on Broadway, contributing music to the TV series Sons of Anarchy, performing with Slash (and nearly landing the lead-singer gig in Velvet Revolver) and even getting to sing with The Doors last year before Ray Manzarek died (“It was unreal, man”). Perez has two new weekly Vegas gigs lined up, along with a pair of solo albums ready for release, his first solo material since 2005’s My 4th of July.

What do you like about playing for local Vegas lounge audiences? I’ve never really looked at it as a lounge show. And that’s not because of ego. It’s just that I’ve never looked at any time I get onstage as a lounge show. I’ve been lucky enough where the casinos let me do what I want musically. They’ve never put a parameter of where I can go, or can’t. They love what I do, and they believe in what I do and they say, “Go do it.” ... I’ve had the opportunity to play in massive stadiums—I played in Norway with Slash for 27,000 people—and I’ll put the same show on here in one of these little rooms as I did out there for 27,000 people. There’s no difference to me.

Are you playing covers or original songs? It’s a combination of both. I’ve been here long enough where people want to hear my originals. It’s probably about a 50-50 mix. The covers I pick are ones that actually mean something to me, that I can sell.

The Details

June 8, 10 p.m., free, the Lounge at the Palms. Thursdays beginning June 13, 9 p.m., free, Quinn’s Irish Pub at Green Valley Ranch. Fridays beginning June 14, 9 p.m., free, Jack’s at Palace Station.

You’re based in LA now, but do you still keep up with the Vegas music scene? I do. I still do, because one of the things I’ve been able to do for the last five years is—I’ve always done it; I started years ago with Left Standing—I’m always trying to find new acts, develop them and then send them on their way to their next project, or I introduce them to management companies or labels. So I always keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening here. Some of the most talented musicians that I’ve ever come across in my life—and I’ve been all over the world doing this—are in this town.

Do you ever get overwhelmed with all of the various projects you’re working on and need to take a step back to work on your own material? That’s the one thing I’ve never shied away from. I always make time for my stuff. I have two bodies of music that I recorded that we’re currently looking for a partner to release. It looks like I found a partner for one of them, this one record I wrote called Heavy Heart. It’s a singer-songwriter record, and we’re donating 100 percent of the proceeds to an organization called Dream Again Campaign, which is an organization that fights to educate people on human trafficking and sex slavery. And then over the last year I’ve been battling some stuff personally. After six years of sobriety, I relapsed, and I found myself in some pretty heavy places. I’m actually currently living in a sober living [facility] in Los Angeles, and I’m just here for shows. I went to rehab, did the whole thing, and I’ve just basically hit the road back to recovery. One of the things I did before I actually just surrendered was I made this album. The album is called Addict, and I recorded it all in hotel rooms throughout the Valley here. It’s a rock record. It’s definitely some of the most honest music I’ve ever written. You can hear the pain in my voice.

Have your recent personal struggles given you a different perspective on your career? A hundred percent. Through all this, I’m slowly coming out of this fog, and I realized what really matters. If I’m not well, all the success in the world means nothing. I’ve heard my song on a TV show, and I was dying inside. I have people that love me. I have beautiful children. I have a beautiful wife. I have amazing friends that have been pulling for me, and I just didn’t want to hear it at the time. So my outlook now is that I just want to be healthy, I want to be happy, and I want to be able to help others. The biggest point I want to make is, my addiction is as bad as it gets. I’m a bottom-feeding alcoholic drug addict when I’m using. When I’m using, I’m bad. When I’m not, I’m great. And I just want to let people know that you can get help. If you’re feeling that way, you can reach out. You can get help. You’re not alone.


Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

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