Frank Scinta Interview
(The Scintas)

As their website says: “If you like your entertainment straight up-----no painted faces, no acrobats, no mimes, just pure talent performing unforgettable music, impressions and comedy, then The Scintas is the one show you must see”.

That about says it all doesn’t it?

Well-----not exactly.

Frank Scinta spoke with us about the history of this celebrated group.

Q – Your group used to play around Syracuse quite a bit awhile back. I was surprised to see you’re based out of Las Vegas.
A – Well, we all moved to Las Vegas seven years ago, with the intent of being headliners here and 10 and behold 7 years later we’re headliners on the Strip of Las Vegas. We’ve been headliners here for 6 years.

Q – What rooms are you headlining?
A – Well, we were at the Rio Hotel for 5 years, in the Scinta Showroom. We had our own showroom there. Now we’re in the Scinta Theatre at the Sahara Hotel.

Q – And when you say headliners, what exactly does that mean?
A – We’re in our own theatre. We’re a show. It’s not a band anymore like we used to be. We have our own band now and all of our stuff is done right up front.

Q – How many people do you perform to in a showroom?
A – At the Rio it was 600. In our new theatre at the Sahara it’s an 800 seat theatre.

Q – You have your older brother Joey and your younger sister Chrissi in the act. How’d you know you’d all get along?
A – Oh, we don’t always get along. (Laughs). We’re typical Italians. We don’t always get along. We’re brothers and sister so of course we’re gonna argue. You know, we don’t always like each other, but we always love each other.

Q – Well at least you can always go onstage.
A – Oh, yeah, man. We always put our differences aside when it comes to that.

Q – Your friends with people like Wayne Newton?
A – Oh, yeah. Wayne became a friend almost instantly when we moved here. In fact he knew about us when we were touring like the mid-west. In fact, his wife comes from Ohio. We used to perform in Akron, Ohio a lot and his wife used to come see us with his mother-in-law and knew all about us way before we came to Vegas. So, when we came here, he got onstage one night and he said, ‘I don’t ever endorse entertainers. But, I want to tell everybody here this is a new act in town. And, you heard it hear first, they’re gonna be here for a long time’. And-----he introduced us. We were in his audience. We’ve become very good friends. In fact, he used to breed Maltese puppies and he gave me one as a gift. I still have him. He’s 6 years old now.

Q – To have Wayne Newton endorse you is really an honor.
A – It is. He still is a great entertainer. We be-friended people like Siegfried And Roy, Lance Burton, there’s so many that have come to see us and gotten onstage with us, and sang with us. From the Righteous Bros. to Lou Rawls to Tony Orlando. I mean, it’s amazing. ‘N Sync when they were on top of the charts came to see us at least five or six times. It’s always a good feeling to have big stars come to see you.

Q – Your bio. describes you as a musical prodigy. Where does that talent come from? Were your parents musicians?
A – No. My grandfather could play any string instrument. I remember sitting on his lap, just as a little boy, I would do the picking part of it and he would play the chords. I didn’t know how to do it. But, he always used to tell my mom, ‘This boy is gonna play. He’s gonna be good’. And when he died, he had 27 grandchildren. He left 2 guitars to my brother Joe and myself. And that’s how the band thing started.

Q – You actually appeared on Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour?
A – (Laughs).

Q – You also appeared on the Merv Griffin Show and Jerry Lewis’ MDA Telethon? How did you get all this work?
A – Well, that was all me when I was a little boy. I was playing a banjo and singing with Dixieland bands when I was very, very young. I just loved to entertain. Joe was out there with rock bands. He had his own thing going. We didn’t come together until I was like 19 years old. And Chrissi was just a baby. She would come in on weekends, and just sing for one set and have to leave with mom and dad.

Q – You also do impressions in the act?
A – Yes. We do a lot of them. Joe does Mick Jagger, Joe Cocker, Jerry Lewis, Jimi Hendrix. I do Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder. Some of them are done comically. We don’t ever take ourselves seriously. The Dino and Jerry routine we do is really cute. In fact Jerry Lewis’ family has been to see us a bunch of times. His son said out of everybody he’s seen do his father, nobody does it like my brother Joe.

Q – Would that have been Gary Lewis who said that?
A – No. It was Scotty. His son Scotty. We do know Gary. Scotty Lewis has been to our show a bunch of times. Rich Little, who you know is the greatest impressionist of Joe Cocker is the best impression of anyone he’s ever seen.

Q – Even better than John Belushi’s?
A – It is. It’s incredible. It really is. It brings the house down. We took it out of the show for awhile but we realized after so many e-mails and people going, ‘Where is he? Where is he? Where’s Joe Cocker’? We put him back.

Q – You’re from Buffalo, New York. What kind of places were you playing when you first started out?
A – Well, the first place we played was McGuire’s Arches. Paul McGuire who was a color commentator now for ESPN, NFL Football; he had a little place called McGuire’s Arches. He’s the guy who put Joe and I together by accident. Within about 6 months of being there, a gentleman who owned the Buffalo Playboy Club came to us and wanted us to perform there. So, it was called the Executive at the time in Buffalo. Everybody knows it from Syracuse to Canada. It was just a great place to perform. We performed there a lot. One of our ex-Buffalo Sabres, Jim Schoenfeld had a place we performed at. I mean, there were a number of places we performed at. The Executive which was the Playboy Club was the most successful for us, at home.

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