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August 28, 2014

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Zowie Bowie: Roots elsewhere, but Vegas in their blood

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Sam Morris

Marley Taylor and Chris Phillips are moving their “Zowie Bowie” show from Red Rock Resort to the Palms, where it will actually be two shows: one featuring a big band and vintage Vegas music, the other with a smaller combo and top-40 songs.

Zowie Bowie performance

IF YOU GO

Who: Zowie Bowie

When: 10 p.m. and midnight Fridays and Saturdays

Where: The Lounge at the Palms

Admission: Free

They are Las Vegas’ perfect couple — perfect bodies, perfect smiles, perfect tans that accentuate perfect teeth. They have stylish blond hair, chic wardrobes, lots of bling, energy to burn and enthusiasm that gets a room rocking.

Chris Phillips and Marley Taylor — better known as Zowie Bowie — are poster children for smart, snappy, sexy, sizzling entertainers.

The Scottsdale, Ariz., transplants make their debut at The Lounge in the Palms Friday, after headlining at Red Rock Resort for the past three years.

Every Friday and Saturday they will perform two shows. At 10 p.m., it’s a big band show featuring a 13-piece orchestra performing vintage Vegas music. At midnight, it’s a high-energy top 40s show backed by a four-piece combo.

“We think this is the perfect fit for us,” Phillips says. “The Palms reflects the maverick spirit we love about Las Vegas — and it caters not only to tourists but to the Las Vegas community, who we care very much about.”

Phillips and Taylor are engaged, but aren’t rushing into anything. They’ve been engaged for five years. They met in Scottsdale almost eight years ago through a mutual friend.

“We were performing in separate shows and he introduced us,” says Taylor, a native of Pittsburgh who grew up in Texas. “Chris and I were talking separately about doing something in Las Vegas and our mutual friend said ‘You guys should meet.’ We met and became inseparable.”

Their first real date was in Las Vegas.

“We saw the Scintas when they were across the street at the Rio,” says Phillips, a native of Arizona. “We were coming out of the parking lot and turning onto Flamingo. Marley pointed across the street and said ‘That’s the Palms hotel. That’s where I want to play someday. That’s who I want to associate with.’ That was almost eight years ago, before we even had a show.”

When they met, Phillips was performing as Zowie Bowie, borrowing the name of rocker David Bowie’s son, who now uses the name Duncan Jones.

“I chose Zowie because I didn’t think people would pay to see Chris Phillips,” says Phillips, 43. “I had to have a name that made sense. I never claimed to be the son of David Bowie, I was just promoting the Zowie Bowie frame of mind.”

Phillips and Taylor clicked onstage as well as off.

Almost from the beginning they were Scottsdale’s hottest act, performing three nights a week at a luxury club.

“We’d play for 4,000 people on a weekend,” Phillips says. “We were kind of a phenomenon. Scottsdale isn’t known as an entertainment hotbed.”

The couple had their eyes on Vegas and Vegas had its eyes on them.

Three years ago Station Casinos brought them to headline at Red Rock, where they have routinely packed in fans.

“More than 600 locals would come in every night,” says Phillips. “It was a giant party celebrating the spirit of Las Vegas.”

The Vegas spirit is what it’s all about for the couple.

“My reason for being here in Las Vegas is to keep the essence of the vintage Vegas vibe alive,” says Phillips. “In my opinion, something that has gone by the wayside over past few years. I want to bring that back — the style of music, the off-the-cuff show itself.

“Our goal is to create a camaraderie among entertainers here in town, the way it used to be. A place to go where they can feel free to come up onstage and share in the revelry of celebrating Las Vegas. For me, personally, that’s my true passion, keeping that style of music and entertainment alive.”

Phillips says he has dreamed of being a Vegas entertainer since he was 12.

“Ever since I was a kid I always idolized Elvis and Sammy Davis Jr. and the flamboyant Vegas style entertainers,” he says. “So I very much have been into accessories and jewelry and stuff, even in elementary school. I have pictures of me in the fourth grade dressed like a mini-Elvis going to school.

“I fantasized, I dreamed of being Wayne Newton or Bobby Darin. For me, it was about being indigenous to Las Vegas. I have no intention of going to Los Angeles or New York or anyplace else. I want to set up shop here and to be able to create an experience for people who come here. I want them to have that Vegas experience and have that perception of what they think Vegas is all about.”

He says he wants to be a bridge between old and new Vegas.

“We’re trying to bring that old Vegas spirit back in a modern-day show,” he says.

“We’ve never wanted to tour,” says Taylor, a songwriter as well as vocalist. “This is a great tourist attraction. People come from all over the world to see us, and we go home to our pillows every night.”

When they aren’t performing locally they spend a lot of time entertaining for corporate events across the country and doing a lot of charitable work. Locally they speak on behalf of Opportunity Village.

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