COMMUNITY people + places
Waiting for His Defining Moment Photograph by Spencer Burton
Musician and local scene mainstay Ryan Pardey sees himself as part of a unique generation of Las Vegas residents that have come of age at the same time the city did. “We were kids when the population was 250,000 back in the early ‘80s and got to see it change into what it is now, a city of over 2 million.” Pardey and his peers were fortunate to have had an influence on the cultural landscape. “We really got to be part of how this city developed, many of us did.” Indeed, he and his fellow Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Visual and Performing Arts grads made waves locally and on the national scene since leaving the performing arts school in the late ‘90s. In his senior year there Pardey played the lead role of preacher C. C. Showers in a production of The Diviners. The cast included actors Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds), Baron Vaughn (Fairly Legal) and Rutina Wesley (True Blood). Later, while serving as owner-operator of the late ‘90s, early ‘00s cultural hub, Café Espresso Roma, near UNLV, he produced intimate concerts pairing national touring bands with emerging Vegas groups. His work there helped find a local and then national audience for The Killers, one of Vegas’ biggest music success stories to date.
His own band, Halloween Town, has a devoted local following, and Pardey’s stamp of approval on other acts carries weight in the music scene. Halloween Town’s debut album, Zafra Ct., is named for the street in Las Vegas on which he lived from 1980 to 2008 with his family. His father, Rod Herm Pardey, and brother, Rod J. Pardey, are accomplished professional poker players. Big brother Rod is also a singer/ songwriter. While entertainment and gambling are usually relegated to minor roles in a city, in Las Vegas and in the Pardey family, they occupy center stage. To Ryan Pardey, the city leaves a noticeable, if not easily defined mark on the kinds of creative people it produces. They are sophisticated, yet humble. They know how to be professional and also when not to take themselves too seriously. They can appreciate an over-the-top production show or a modest concert at an intimate venue. His own favorite music venues include The Royal House where he has booked numerous concerts in the recent past and Downtown stages like the performance area set up for the Beauty Bar in the alley behind the establishment. “I like playing there, with the right audience at the right time . . . The noise of the city, sirens and all, mixing with the music and resonating between these buildings. Could you be anymore connected? ”
What’s a surprising fact some of your friends and fans may not know about you? I worked the lost and found room at Electric Daisy Carnival. I was able to get about ten iPhones back to their owners. I’m fascinated by all the festivals. I wanted to see what that one was about but couldn’t afford a ticket.
If you could do whatever you wanted what would your life look like? First I would get a boat and a crew and we would sail around the world. And then we would rebuild Las Vegas. I would build my dream coffee shop and dream music venue.
What do you see for your future in music? I’m not sure what I am going to get into next. I guess I’m still looking for the work that is going to define me.
BLVDS Las Vegas
MUSIC + ENTERTAINMENT