Saturday, June 18, 2011 | 1:55 a.m.
Las Vegas is known for its headlining musical acts, but only a handful of artists got their start here. Most musicians who play the valley’s showrooms are transplants from across the country who came to Vegas for its vast entertainment opportunities.
In fact, locals often complain about the lack of venues where upstart bands can play. “The music scene in Las Vegas is so bad,” Panic! at the Disco drummer Spencer Smith of Summerlin told MTV. “There’s not a lot going on.”
Even so, a few artists and bands were able to find their voices here. Below is a look at our homegrown talent:
/AP Photo/Jim Cooper/File
Arguably Las Vegas’ biggest homegrown success story, the Killers have sold more than 18 million albums worldwide. They found critical acclaim with their debut album, “Hot Fuss,” released in 2004.
Lead singer Brandon Flowers formed the group in 2001 and in the early days, having no place to practice, they reportedly sneaked into a band room at UNLV to jam and write songs, including their hit single “Somebody Told Me.”
The Killers have since released three studio albums, a compilation album and a live album, and have toured the world several times. They played twice for President Barack Obama, including during a 2010 Las Vegas campaign rally for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, where they performed a folksy version of the state song, “Home Means Nevada.” The band is currently working on its fourth studio album. Watch a YouTube video here. Read a story from the Sun archives here.
/Photo courtesy The Cab via Facebook
The rock band started with two members, friends who played music together at Liberty High School in Henderson, but by 2005 had morphed into a five-member group. They signed with local label Olympus Records in 2006 but released no songs. A year later, they signed a national contract.
Their third single, “Bounce,” peaked at No. 69 on the Billboard Pop 100 chart. It and another song, “One of Those Nights,” are featured in the Rock Band 2 video game. One YouTube video is here, and another is here.
/AP Photo/Dan Steinberg
The artist formerly known as Shaffer Smith was born in Arkansas but moved to Las Vegas as a child. He attended Rancho High School where he adopted the stage name “GoGo” and joined an R&B group called Envy. After Envy disbanded in 2000, Ne-Yo set off on a solo career as a songwriter and singer.
He has had five top 10 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 list as a singer and two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200. He also has written dozens of chart-topping songs for artists including Rihanna, Leona Lewis, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, and has appeared in three films: “Save the Last Dance 2,” “Stomp the Yard” and “Battle: Los Angeles.” He’s working on his fifth studio album. Read a story about Ne-Yo's 2009 tour here and watch a YouTube video here.
The heavy metal band, formed in Las Vegas, peaked in 1990 during the height of glam metal’s popularity. The band’s heyday was short lived, although it continues to record and tour today.
Slaughter’s first album, “Stick It to Ya,” was their biggest with several hit singles, including “Fly to the Angels” and “Up All Night.” The album reached double platinum status in the United States. In the decade that followed, the band released four more studio albums with more than a dozen hit songs. One YouTube video is here, and another is here.
Photo by AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
The Crystal Method
Both members of the electronic music duo were born in Las Vegas, but the group got its official start in Los Angeles. Ken Jordan, who worked as a DJ and college radio program director at UNLV, left Las Vegas in 1989, with Scott Kirkland following him a year later. In 1993, the Crystal Method was born and launched on its path to becoming one of the world’s most popular electronic acts.
Their best-selling album, released in 1997, is titled “Vegas” and reached platinum status. The duo return to their native city this month to perform at the Electric Daisy Carnival. Read about the Crystal Method here, or watch a YouTube video here.
Photo by Ryan Olbrysh
Escape the Fate
The post-hard core band from Las Vegas got its big break in 2005 after winning a local radio contest hosted by My Chemical Romance. The musicians opened for the band on tour and scored a recording contract.
They have since released three studio albums. Their 2010 self-titled third album, their first on a major label, has been their most successful to date. The four-member group has had three members break ties with the band. Most famously, singer Ronnie Radke was asked to leave the band after he was sentenced to prison for multiple run-ins with the law involving drugs and a fight that led to a man’s death. Watch a YouTube video here. Read a story from Las Vegas Weekly here.
Antonia Christina Basilotta was born in Philadelphia but attended high school in Las Vegas. In fact, the cheerleading outfit she wears in the video for her 1982 megahit “Mickey” is the actual uniform she wore as head cheerleader at Las Vegas High School.
Basil has had a decades-long career as a singer-songwriter, dancer, choreographer and actress, but her biggest hit by far was “Mickey.” It sold more than 2 million copies and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list.