Bob Caudle’s Rat Pack career began with a blackjack tournament.
While waiting for his winnings from a cruise ship cards tournament, someone signed him up to sing a karaoke version of a Dean Martin song.
Distracted by his recent acquisition of $1,000 from the card game, Caudle belted out the tune and said he was about to move on when he was approached with a bottle of champagne and an invitation to the cruise’s “Princess Idol” talent show.
He went on to win that competition as well. Shortly after that, he received his first offer to perform as Dean Martin from a corporate event planner who was in the audience.
From there, the 1982 Nevada Union High School grad started building up his version of the Rat Pack. Tonight he brings that smooth ‘60s sound back to his hometown for a concert at the Center for the Arts.
Caudle has re-imagined a modern day Rat Pack, complete with live band, to croon the classics and add some more up-to-date twists on Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.
“We try to be retro and current at the same time. I like to think, ‘what would these guys be doing today?’” said Caudle.
Caudle connected with top talent to complete his Rat Pack and the swinging Lil’ Big Band he affectionately calls a “Rat Pack on steroids.”
Today’s mix includes Caudle, Mike Martis crooning Sinatra songs and Peter Petty who brings the look of Cab Calloway and the sounds of Bobby Darin.
The “stars” are backed by their Lil’ Big Band, which includes Musical Director Bonnie Otto on piano, Otis Mourning on sax, Dave Johnson on trumpet and trombone, Alan Parks on upright bass and Peter Philluson drums.
For two years running, the Dean-O-Holics won the National Rising Star Award for best Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin tribute band.
They have played with Deana Martin (Dean Martin’s daughter) and Wayne Newton and performed for both Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin’s wives, Barbara Sinatra and Dean Jeanne Martin.
They perform sold out performances everywhere, from Anchorage to Orlando, including Sinatra’s old stomping grounds, the Sinatra Showroom at Lake Tahoe’s Cal-Neva Resort and Jilly’s in Chicago. From the crooning to the gags, the dancing and the hip sounds of musical director Bonnie Otto and her baby grand piano are backed by a rhythm and horn section of the swingin’ Lil Big Band.
Tonight’s show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22 for members, $25 for nonmembers and are available at the Center for the Arts Box Office , BriarPatch Co-op or online at www.thecenterforthearts.org.
For more about the Dean-O-Holics, go to http://www.deanoholics.com.
Features Editor Brett Bentley contributed to this story.