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'Idol’ alum James Durbin gives back
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Published: Monday, January 6, 2014
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014 18:01

“American Idol” veteran James Durbin feels like a big kid.

He and his wife, Heidi, have set aside a room in their home for his collectibles, which range from wrestling memorabilia to LEGO. His prized possessions center around grappling, an obsession he didn’t hide on “Idol’s” 10th season.

“I have a WCW, black and white, NWO Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth in the package,” Durbin says proudly.

“I have a loose one and I have one in the package. What else … I have a War Games, gosh, ’77, ’78, double VHS. That’s a gem. I love that. I also have a WCW Great American Bash signed by Macho Man and Rick Flair.”

It was this love of pop culture that influenced the lyric video for “Parachute,” the first single from his forthcoming album “Celebrate.” It is set for release on April 8.

“I don’t really like videogames, but I have a Super Nintendo,” Durbin explains. “I thought that would be cool to do a video that was like an old videogame.”

Durbin will return technology down a notch when he performs an acoustic set at Pub Rock in Scottsdale on Wednesday, January 8. He’ll play tracks from “Celebrate,” as well as his first release, “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster.”

“It’s just so much fun to jam on these new songs—especially when you’re playing acoustic,” Durbin says.

“You don’t have to worry about so much about staying with every ebb and flow of the song itself and how it originally is. You can change the tempo a little bit, change the mood and the vibe to fit with the acoustics. That’s where it all comes from is acoustics. Every song I’ve written on this record was written with an acoustic guitar. It’s fun to show them kind of how they originally were before introducing everyone to what they sound like on the record. It creates for a lot more musicianship I guess. I am a musician, after all.”

Durbin says every song on “Celebrate” is a potential single, something of which he is proud.

“I was playing it for my brother-in-law yesterday—he’s a musician as well,” he explains. “We were talking about how pretty much every single song on the whole record it feels like a single. I just feel like there’s this innocence to parachute, which I think works on many different levels for a lot of different people.

“In this day and age of music and what’s being more popular in the last couple years, is getting rid of genres. You play the music that you feel. You write the music that you feel. This record as a whole just kind of throws genre out the window. I think ‘Parachute’ is a great way to kind of bridge the gap between the style of my first record and then the style of this first record.”

Fans can order the album via his website, www.shop.durbinrock.com. The $30 pre-order bundles of “Celebrate” come with an exclusive T-shirt that was created in partnership with the National Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA). Five dollars from every order will be donated directly to the TSA.

Durbin was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome years ago and says he feels the need to give back to the organization that did so much for him.

“You gotta give forward if you want to expect to get anything in return,” he says.

“I grew up with Tourette Syndrome. When I was diagnosed, it was like, ‘I have no idea what this is.’ My mom didn’t know what it was. The Tourette Syndrome Association has all the answers. That’s what they’re there for. So they were there and they helped. They gave us all the info we needed to give to the school system and let everyone know why I was so disruptive. I have to give back to where I’ve grown from.”

James Durbin w/Kelley James, Pub Rock Live, 8005 E. Roosevelt Street, Scottsdale, 480.945.4985,pubrocklive.com, Wednesday, January 8, 7 p.m., $10-$14