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After an amazing 2011, what's next for James Durbin?
By WALLACE BAINE - wbaine@santacuzsentinel.com
Posted: 01/19/2012 01:30:02 AM PST

By any account, 2011 was a flat-out amazing year for young James Durbin of Santa Cruz.

He began the year by wowing the country with an astounding audition for Fox's "American Idol," then resolutely climbed his way to the top of the ladder of fame on the show by staking out his own territory as "Idol's" resident rock god. In May was the epic "Durbin Day" live concert at Main Beach, followed up by a dive into rehearsals and recordings for his first album "Memories of a Beautiful Disaster," which was released in November. And the year was capped with his local New Year's Eve wedding to longtime fiance Heidi.

After a year like that, what can you do for an encore?

At a promotional event at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center on Tuesday, Durbin said that his plans for the new year have not quite taken shape yet, but he's got some big surprises in store.

"We're trying to hop on a tour right now," said Durbin, who turned 23 on Jan. 6. "That's why I was just in Tampa. I was talking to a band, trying to generate a relationship with them, maybe to pair up with them. It went really well."

Durbin and his band, which features longtime Archer guitarist Dylan Rose, are currently on a mini-tour to promote Durbin's "Memories" album on the Wind-Up label. After seven weeks on the charts, the album is now at 178 on Billboard's Hot 200.

A spot on "Conan" last week was the highlight of a tour designed to drum up radio interest in the new album.

We kicked off with a gig in a Mexican restaurant in Bakersfield," said Durbin. "Then, moved on to a biker bar in Clovis, played for a private event for Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue, then Conan,' and Portland, now here [at Kuumbwa], Modesto is tomorrow. Then after that is Dallas, Philly, then off to Libertyville, Ill. The big thing about the end of the month is that we'll get to have two full-band, full-on rock shows, which we haven't been able to do in a while."

The performance on Tuesday in Santa Cruz was a short acoustic set, featuring members of Durbin's band. Beforehand Durbin spoke briefly about his Dec. 31 wedding at the Mount Hermon Memorial Chapel near Felton. Several former "Idol" contestants were on hand at the event, including Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart and Stefano Langone, who served as Durbin's best man. The ceremony was postponed for more than 18 minutes while the wedding party waited for the arrival of Abrams.

"Casey had the GPS and directions and everything," laughed Durbin, "but he still got lost, driving around for two and a half hours, going as far as Boulder Creek."

As for plans for a Santa Cruz concert, Durbin said that he could not comment on specifics, given that the details are not yet in place. But he did say the plan is to have a show sometime in May, which would mark the anniversary of the free Durbin Day show at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

"Yep," he said, acknowledging the anniversary date. "That's the idea."