It was only a few short months ago when American Idol finalist James Durbin moved 18,118 energized hockey fans with his rendition of the National Anthem.
Known for bringing metal and rock and roll to the Idol stage, Durbin’s powerful vocals and passionate energy echoed throughout STAPLES Center before a Kings-San Jose game regular season game in Los Angeles in early April.
“It’s always a fun song to sing,” Durbin said. “So many different people have sung it and they all have their own different versions so it’s fun to put my own spin on it, too.”
Before taking to the ice, Durbin reminisced about attending his first professional sports event – a San Jose Sharks game against the Colorado Avalanche.
“I was about eight or nine years old and was sitting in [the winning seat at the game],” Durbin said. “They pulled out a number and said. ‘The person sitting in this seat will receive a compact, portable disc player.’”
Just minutes after his seat number was called, a puck flipped over the glass next to Durbin and his group, adding to the excitement of the game.
“When we were going to pick up the CD player the next day, the Sharks were practicing, and another puck flew over and I ran over and grabbed it,” Durbin said. “I still have both and they’re both still cold.”
With the release of his first album in November of last year, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster, Durbin kicked off a nationwide tour after performing with his band on American Idol in mid-April, followed by a show at the famous Viper Room in West Hollywood.
The Santa Cruz native and his band will also be performing alongside rock and roll mogul, Buckcherry.
“I think the biggest complement that we get at our live shows is how much it sounds just like the record live,” Durbin said. “I like to sing songs that give people good feelings.”
The journey to bring rock and roll to the forefront of the Idol stage wasn’t always an easy one. Durbin’s persistence and determination guided him to inspire others with his edgy performances.
“I think it just gave me a bigger boost, a bigger kick in the [tail] to do something that people would remember,” Durbin explained. “I don’t like being a nameless face in the crowd. I like sticking out like a sore thumb.”
Durbin continued: “I wanted to introduce people to something that maybe they thought was scary at first. It’s all about turning people on to new stuff and that’s what I like. I like being the captain for that.”
Just like hockey players have their pregame superstitions, Durbin, too, has a few superstitions of his own. Before hitting the stage each night he tries to meditate and listen to his song lineup, visualizing his performance.
“Sometimes I even get up and dance,” Durbin said. “I do whatever I’m going to do on stage and perform it exactly the way I want it to happen on stage.
“I know the same with any sport, you picture it in your head exactly how you want it to happen and you put that energy out there and it’s going to manifest and happen. It’s having faith. You have faith in yourself and you have faith it will happen and sure enough it will.”
For those musically-inclined Kings fans, to read past installments of Center Ice…