BooneStitchAgain-3For fans of live music, chances are a ticket for this gig won’t be as tough to score as a stub was for U2 in Minneapolis or for Dave Mathews’ show this weekend at Target Center.

However, Pat Boone will be at Treasure Island Resort and Casino this December and it’ll be a rare chance to catch a true Rock n Roll legend.


While many of us know him only as a Sinatraesque crooner of pillowy pop and gospel, 50 years ago he was Elvis’ rival on the charts. Before the Fab Four, this guy defined Eisenhower Era shizzle.

50’s rocker, 70’s gospel man, 90’s Metal Head, and now a Country radio host.

Pat lacked the sneer, overt sexuality and hip swivel of The King – but that was his hook. With his neat hair, cheshire cat smile and gleaming white buck shoes, he performed R&B hits in a way that made rock n’ roll as safe as Jell-O and McCarthyism for white audiences. In fact, his ’55 version of “Ain’t That A Shame” outsold Fat’s Domino’s original. To his credit, he was gracious enough to give props to the artists he was covering – which led Little Richard to once quip,”Pat Boone is the man who made me a millionaire.”

We got the chance to record the voice-over, slash and loop the music tracks, and create the sound-design and audio post production for the radio spot promoting this event. Brad Gilmore, the writer from Minneapolis advertising agency Periscope, had written the ad to represent a gentle walk down memory lane (hey, this ain’t Outkast after all). He hired some of the best Twin Cities voice-over talent to get the job done; the rubber voiced Tim Russell and Shirley Venard nailed down the older couple, while honey-toned Tracey Maloney was our announcer. After a few passes at the dialogue, Shirley mentioned that the feel of the scene reminded her of one of her first TV acting jobs with fellow voice-over actor and Guthrie Theater veteran, Allen Hamilton – she had us in stitches with this story.

Prairie Home’s Tim Russell. Masters of deadpan, Shirley Venard & Allen Hamilton. Tracy Maloney at Babble-On

All the music that we mixed into the radio spot is stuff from Pat’s early years – tunes his core audience will know, love and appreciate. Personally, I would’ve enjoyed throwing in some of the tunes he did on 1997’s, “In a Metal Mood” – an album of heavy metal songs recorded with big band jazz arrangements sung in Pat’s sweet style. Depending on your perspective, it was either one of the greatest comedy albums ever, or …an act of blasphemy. Just read some of the finger wagging comments that came from this coalition of the strange – evangelical christiansand heavy metal heads.

Sorry, no Myers-Briggs typology can explain that relationship.

Sadly, most of his devoted fans failed to get Pat’s tongue-cheek joke and, after he showed up at the American Music Awards that year decked out in black leather and temporary tattoos, he was sacked from his Trinity Broadcasting Network program Gospel America. However, once the controversy subsided and he explained that he was merely being a “parody of himself” he was re-hired. Talk about a Greek Tragedy.

Here’s Pat covering “Crazy Train” from Ozzie Osbourne, Alice Cooper’s, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, Deep Purple’s, “Smoke On The Water”, Van Halen’s “Panama”, and the topper – Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven”.

And, for more of a taste of what you’ll hear in December, here’s the radio spot for Pat Boone’s concert at Treasure Island.

Tim Russell can be booked through his Twin Cities voice-over agent, Wehmann Models and Talent, inc. You can also check out his website, prairiehomevoices, to find out more about his lenghty repertoire. Shirley Venard, Allen Hamilton and Tracy Maloney can all be booked through their Minneapolis voice-over agent, Lipservice Talent Guild.

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