Idol Kings brings rock legends to Scranton Cultural Center

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First Posted: 1/6/2015

A pair of tickets to Journey, who don’t even have their original singer, can cost an arm and a leg. So why not settle for the best thing? The Idol Kings, a tribute band, bring the legends of rock’n’roll back to their glory days and their fans back to their groupie ways.

The band is playing at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple in the Grand Ballroom on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. They will perform the hits of Journey, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp.

“We play three different sets with all different feels,” said Mike Crow, lead vocals and rhythm guitar. “We figured if we can sell out at a venue four hours from home then why not do it for a deserving local venue like the Scranton Cultural Center. This is more about the venue for us then it is about the band.”

The band recently sold out the Arcadia Theater in the Johnstown area but are relatively unknown locally as compared to other bands due to the fact they play out of the area being booked from Main to Georgia and New Jersey to Indiana. Idol Kings is excited for the chance to draw their fans for the cultural center.

“We are a theatre band, not a bar band,” Crow said. “We wanted to play something more than bars and sing something we would enjoy throughout the whole night. We also sing the songs people know the words to, we want the crowd to have as much fun as we are having.”

The band is quite literally a family affair. Aside from having a blast playing together, the band has actually family relations as well. Crow’s daughter, Candi Vee, is the bass player.

“Everyone who plays with us is either related or owes someone money,” Crow laughed. “Since the day Mark Wanko asked me to meet him at Dunkin Donuts and put something in my coffee to make me agree, it has just been amazing.”

Wanko, vocals and bass guitar, is the group’s captain among equals. He has recorded with the likes of Luther Vandross, Aerosmith and Bob Dylan as well as had the licenses to the merchandise of TLC, the Fugees and N’SYNC. Though Wanko isn’t the only one to drop names as keyboardist Adam Ditroia’s father, Sal DiTroi, played guitar for Neil Diamond, Billy Joel and Barbra Streisand to name a few.

However, as the rest of the band attributes their success to Wanko’s business savvy, he thinks differently.

“The reason we are successful is because of Mike’s (Crow) voice,” he beamed. “Hands down that is the reason. It is a voice that blows everyone away.”

“And here I thought it was because of the wigs,” laughed lead guitarist Charlie Russello.

The band tries to emulate each of their covers to the fullest. They not only sound like the stars but dress as them too. However, there favorite part of the show is after when they take off the costumes and mingle in the crowd, so keep an eye out.

“When the costumes come off and we mill around the crowd, no one recognizes us,” said drummer John Carpenetti. “That is my favorite part. I love to go up to people and casually ask them what they thought of the show knowing they have no clue I was just on stage.”

The Idol Kings are ready to become a name in the area and believe they will gain fans at their upcoming show but do have some words of advice: “You won’t like us if you don’t like Journey,” Wanko said. “It is as simple as that.”