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James Durbin Returns to the Boardwalk

by Jacob Pierce on May 18, 2012

If James Durbin has his way, he’ll find time to eat a funnel cake and ride the Sea Swings after he kicks off the Boardwalk’s summer event season tomorrow, May 19. Unfortunately, time will be in short supply.

Durbin, who wowed national audiences when he came in fourth on American Idol last year, will be flying into San Francisco from New York on Friday, May 18 and out to Ohio after his Santa Cruz show to promote his album Memories of a Beautiful Disaster.

Durbin, who started singing in bars when he was 15, used to perform in the Santa Cruz band Hollywood Scars under the stage name Jimmy Levox. More recently, the former Soquel High School student and avid wrestling fan had the privilege of meeting one of his more famous supporters, fellow Santa Cruz local Chris Rene.

What ever happened to Jimmy Levox? You guys still cool?

Le Voix is French for the voice or something. I don’t know. That’s his deal. I don’t know where he came up with that. We still talk from time to time. He’s doing good for himself.

Do you plan on picking up pro wrestling if this singing stuff doesn’t work out?

I don’t plan on ever having singing not work out. But who knows? I was just in New York and one of the guys on my record label came into the studio and said, ‘Hey, I just got done talking to WWE about trying to get your ass into the ring.’ WWE’s worried I’ll break my neck or something. I’m like: ‘Don’t put me in that kind of a situation, man! Have me be a referee. Just let me be there in the ring. Let me experience it, and then I’ll leave and never come back, I promise.’

So, who would win in a fight, Metallica or Iron Maiden?

Definitely Maiden. Wait, current Metallica or old Metallica? Well, I still think Maiden now could be Metallica back then or now.

Is the Giant Dipper still your favorite thrill at the Boardwalk?

Yeah, I’m a big guy, so it’s kinda the only ride that can accommodate my bigness. I haven’t gotten a chance to ride on the big swings, but I love big swings.

Have you met X-Factor finalist Chris Rene yet?

I actually did! I went to my publicist’s house [Durbin and Rene share the same publicist] to go the LA Kings vs. San Jose Sharks game, where I sang the national anthem. My publicist said, ‘I have a surprise for you,’ and Chris was there. We exchanged numbers and have been talking a little bit, so I owe him lunch. It just depends on when we’re in the same place at the same time.

You owe him lunch?

It’d just be nice to go sit down at Zoccoli’s and have a sandwich and hang out and talk about allof this, all this craziness. Someone in town that knows exactly what I went through and is going through it too.

What do you like about Rene?

He’s a cool guy. He’s real genuine and he’s just high on life. When you enjoy what you do for a living and making people happy, that’s only high you’ll ever need. There’s no high like being onstage.

James Durbin

Saturday, May 19 at 5:30pm

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk