Arts & Entertainment

Still holding his own

PENDLETON -- Despite his privileged upbringing, Frank Sinatra Jr. knows all about hard work.

He was brought up to believe that, like everyone else, he had to find a job that would support him.

He found that career in music.

But it was no easy task. Especially when you're following in the celebrated wake of a famous dad.

"I had to work very hard when I first started out in this business," Sinatra said in a recent telephone interview with the Herald. "There's a well-known saying that there's no such thing as a free lunch and I believe that wholeheartedly."

Even if your dad was ole blue eyes himself, the legendary international superstar of yesteryear, the late Frank Sinatra.

Frank Jr. will bring his familiar voice and eclectic choice of music to Wildhorse Resort & Casino for a one-night performance Oct. 16.

The last time he performed in the Northwest was in Richland in 1972.

"It will be nice to see your part of the country again," he said.

Contrary to some information written about Frank Jr. during the past 30 years, his dad never discouraged him from pursuing a music career.

"He didn't encourage me either," he said. "He wanted me to make my own decisions, which is something I think more parents should allow their children to do."

Sinatra, who'll soon be 65, is a warm, soft-spoken and articulate man with an engaging sense of humor. He also chats candidly about himself and the shadows that followed him being the son of Frank Sinatra, the media, and the ever changing world of music.

"I think I had more than one goal in mind when I started my own music career," he said. "I wanted to play piano and compose music. I actually got drafted into singing because that really wasn't the road I planned to go down at first."

He studied music and conducting in college and in 1963 he began singing with the Tommy Dorsey band. During the 1980s and 1990s he performed in Las Vegas but hasn't been back there since 2002, he said.

"I think I just sort of outlived my usefulness there," Sinatra said.

He feels blessed to have survived cancer, which was diagnosed in 2005.

"I just saw my doctor recently and am very happy to say I'm still cancer-free," he said.

Besides touring on occasion, Sinatra also makes periodic appearances on TV series, such as the first season of The Sopranos. He most recently played himself on The Family Guy in 2006 and will be featured on the popular cartoon sitcom again in early 2009.

Sinatra's show at Wildhorse will include contemporary tunes, and he might even sing a few songs that his dad made famous in the '30s and '40s.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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