Sin City Presents Magazine March 2019 Volume 6 Issue 3 - Page 21

FROM THE SUNSET STRIP TO SIN CITY

Yes, SHA has seemed to stand the Test of Time. We are still here. One of the secrets is we are all good friends, and all respect one another. We don’t take it too seriously and have a fun time performing.

I am blessed and very fortunate to have a great bunch of extremely talented guys and gals in the band. We all try our best to play each song like the Skynyrd records everyone remembers.

There have been several members come and go over the years. It started when I Lived in Los Angeles with some of my buddies Sean Okin and Bob Emerson. Sean was the First lead vocalist. He always wanted to be in a tribute band playing and doing lots of shows. I guess at that time it didn’t happen fast enough for him so his heart was not all in it and expressed he wanted to leave the band. Sean has since passed away (RIP) and we all miss him. I think it was Sean who found us David Reed Watson. Dave was a perfect fit for the band, he had the look and the voice to sing Skynyrd. Sean Passed on the torch to Dave and even gave him his Ronnie Van Zandt Hat. I believe Dave still has that Hat.

The Original Sweet Home Alabama was a Los Angeles version since we lived there. When Dave and I made the move to Las Vegas we put the band back together with all new members. I have a lot of fun memories while with Dave. When he first met his girlfriend Taylor, (which I am proudly responsible for hooking them up) during rehearsals he would be on his phone texting her and sending her pics and videos. Then he'd jet off on his motorcycle afterwards to Vegas to see her. After a while Dave and his original Projects started to take off and they were planning tours, Dave had expressed he needed to pursue those dreams and leave Sweet Home Alabama. We all supported Dave’s decision and dreams and always wish him the Best. David is a true talent and is always missed in the band, we’ll always have a place whenever he wants to join us on stage for a song or two or three.

Jay Cee (who you might recognize as Sin City Sammy) has done a handful of shows with us filling in the Lead Vocalist position and did a stellar job. He’s always welcome to join us on stage.

Dru Jaxin who had been a guest on lead vocal on a song or two from time to time took on the role of lead vocals full time about a year ago, he’s really taken the reins and stepped into those Ronnie Van Zandt shoes. He has helped take this band to the next Level, easy going and a pleasure to work with. You really need to hear and see Dru sing Bob Segar and Jason Aldean, he soooo Good!

We totally agree, just as Sean Okin passed the hat to David Reed Watson, Dru has taken the hat and filled the roll of front man for SHA with every bit of talent, charisma and temerity that Johnny had when he stepped into his brother Ronnie’s shoes.

I love performing with Dru, he’s such a talented vocalist.

Bob Vitti was our original keyboard player in Los Angeles. Bob is still a member of the Band now and does a handful of shows with us every year.

Sweet Home Alabama is kinda like the Real Lynyrd Skynyrd with a lot of Members...LOL. I always wonder what my bandmates think of me… LOL. Maybe you need to do a reverse article and ask them questions about me... [laughing]

Our current lineup includes Dru Jaxin - Lead Vocals, Jeff Outlaw- Lead Guitar, Merry Adin, Bass and Vocals is our wild child, a consummate professional, her incredible stage presence and infectious smile connect her with the crowd at every show, her fans LOVE her! Drummer, Danny Robert has been with me in the band since 2014, I'm not sure we would be at this place without Danny, Danny is as solid as a rock, he’s always playing with a smile on his face and is just an absolute pleasure to work with. Ladia Kinakin - Lead Guitar, is as solid as it gets on guitars, I really enjoy doing duel guitar parts with him our chemistry fantastic and no ego. Stephen Doodigan - Keyboards and Vocals, Stephen is a master keyboard player, he actually writes and charts out all the songs… it’s unbelievable. I have to add in the backup Vocals between Merry and Stephen are awesome. They blend so well with Dru. It’s just amazing. Stephen is our newest band member and keyboard player. He really stepped up and earned his place in this band

You can’t have Skynyrd without keys… it just doesn’t work, and we’ve been blessed to have some of the best.

Vegas is a hot spot for working musicians and keyboard players are a precious commodity, so occasionally we have to switch up the line up based on availability. Some of our additional members that rotate in on the roster include Bob Vitti – Keyboards, an amazing player and good Friend. He brings his Leslie to the shows we play… which just sounds so amazing on the Skynyrd Songs. Fred Bensi too, Fred is always enjoyable to play with and he’s also the keyboard player for Missing Persons. It’s fun to see people come to our shows and know that Fred is in Missing Persons. Drummers are always in great demand as well in Vegas, we’re very lucky to have Shon McKee (Stoney Curtis Band) on our roster as well, he’s a great longtime friend and an excellent drummer.

Chris Scoville - Guitars and Vocals, JP Michaels - Bass and Vocals also round out the lineup when needed.

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