WAUKESHA - Take
advantage of one of the last nights of Waukesha’s Freeman Friday Night
Venture down Clinton
Street to hear WFFNL regular Rick D’Amore as he croons out hits from
Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley outside Mia’s Italian Restaurant.
D’Amore has been
playing in the area since 1964, when he first sang “I Saw Her Standing
There” by the Beatles. After playing every major hotel, restaurant and
bar with his band - all with no real agent - D’Amore worked his way into
places all over the country by hooking up with the right people. He had
the chance to play in San Francisco and in New York when he lived in
Connecticut for three years.
settled in Milwaukee and played a variety of genres and venues, including
the lounge scene. He also headlined the Leinenkugel’s stage at German
Fest for 28 years.
sings a variety of hits from the 1950s and 1960s, his personal favorites
are Presley and Sinatra with hits such as Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the
Moon” and “Luck be a Lady” and Presley’s “Suspicious Minds.”
Some of his other favorites include songs from Neil Diamond and Tom Jones.
“It’s stuff that I
grew up listening to,” D’Amore said. “That’s what I’ve enjoyed
the most. Plus, it’s been the most successful.”
One thing D’Amore
hears from listeners is that he sounds like whatever music artist he is
“You know, I’m so
into the music, sometimes subconsciously I am trying to do that but I
don’t realize I’m doing it,” D’Amore said.
D’Amore grew up
listening to Elvis on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and Ricky Nelson on
“The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.”
“I’d run in the
bedroom and take my sister’s hairbrush and pretend I was them,” he
D’Amore was raised
in a musical family. His mother had a voice like Ella Fitzgerald,
D’Amore said. Unfortunately, she was not able to pursue a career, but
always strongly supported D’Amore’s aspirations.
“She was always
there in the front row,” D’Amore said. “She was my biggest
Peter, has also made quite a musical name for himself and is a regular at
WFFNL. Their first performance together was “Wipeout” at Festa
Italiana, and the duo played regularly at Mia’s.
“As a kid, I grew up
watching my dad singing on giant stages,” Peter said. ”Ten years ago
exactly, my dad gave me a chance to play gigs with him, so we would be
like a ‘D’Amore Duo’ - father and son. I was not an experienced
musician back in ‘03, but he stuck by me.”
Rick D’Amore has
even taken the opportunity to involve his entire family in his career. One
year, his wife and six children joined him on stage at Festa Italiana to
sing Three Dog Night’s “Celebrate.” His wife even serves as his
“She’s been with
me all these years putting up with all the stuff,” Rick D’Amore said.
Rick D’Amore prides
himself on being an entertainer and making his listeners happy.
“The integrity he
brings to the stage (after 50 years as an entertainer) is staggering,”
Peter D’Amore said. “He gives his audience 200 percent, and with
scientific-turned-artistic precision, he is there only to enrich their
lives and make them happy.”
endeavor Rick D’Amore is known for is his radio and TV jingles, mainly
from the 1970s and 1980s. In addition to AT&T and Yellow Pages, Rick
was part of the jingle for the original launch of McDonalds’ Chicken
D’Amore owns Name That Card, a baseball card shop on West Bluemound Road
in Milwaukee, and he is looking forward to future work as the emcee for
some doo-wop groups. He also performs regularly with his band at the
Italian Community Center and continues to enjoy the outdoor
atmosphere at WFFNL.
“I like the
variety,” Rick D’Amore said. “I like the spontaneity. If you can
keep people there for a little while, while there’s a thousand other
things going on, that’s real rewarding.”
Friday Night Live presents the following local acts this week:
Kenny & 3D’s at Cuddles and Martha Merrell’s, 231 W. Main St.
Back at Allo! Chocolat, 234 W. Main St.
Cramer at the Waukesha Civic Theatre, 264 W. Main St.
Park Community Church at ReBorn Wellness, 259 W. Broadway
Sean at The Freeman-Thomas Press stage, 801 N. Barstow St.
Holly at The Steaming Cup, People’s Park and Almont Gallery, 340 W. Main
Square at Hannon’s Fine Food & Cocktails, 357 W. Broadway
D’Amore at Mia’s on Clinton, 800 Clinton St.
Connection at Magellan’s on Main, 370 W. Main St.
Freeman Friday Night Live runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. each Friday in
downtown Waukesha through Sept. 27.