David Patrone: Ski instructor, Marine aviation explosives technician, Sinatra buff.
  • David Patrone: Ski instructor, Marine aviation explosives technician, Sinatra buff.
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“I never really knew much about Frank Sinatra as a kid,” says crooner David Patrone, whose decade in the United States Marine Corps was spent as a fan of classical and blues music. That is, until the day he was shopping at a record store and spotted the leader of the Rat Rack on the cover of Reprise’s Very Best of Frank Sinatra collection, tipping his hat toward Patrone.

“I thought, I should check this guy out. He’s got the right kind of hat, I’ve heard his name all my life, and I have ten bucks burning a hole in my pocket.” Thus began Patrone’s fascination with sophisticated Vegas-style jazz and lounge music.

“Sinatra did it all. His life, his music, an Oscar, eleven Grammys, two Golden Globes, uncountable other awards, his philanthropy, his ups, his downs, his pain, his love, his luck both good and bad, and his success tell an amazing story…you could learn a lot about living from Frank Sinatra. He climbed to the top and landed at the bottom and pulled it back up to the top again, several times, in global proportion.”

These days, Patrone covers an even wider array of music than the Chairman of the Board himself, incorporating jazz, lounge, bebop, swing, blues, and even a pinch of comedy. “I’m sort of like a male version of Ella Fitzgerald. Besides Sinatra, I’ve been compared to the likes of Tony Bennett, Harry Connick Jr., Michael Bublé, and Bobby Darin. I like to mix up genres and make up songs on the spot. I also like to crack jokes and tell stories in the middle of my performances. I feel like it’s a party, and I’m the host, so music isn’t my only bag.”

Patrone won Best Jazz at the San Diego Music Awards in 2009. On Tuesday, December 6, he headlines the Waterfront’s annual Prohibition Party — “to celebrate being the first bar in San Diego to get a liquor permit after Prohibition ended.”


1) Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here. “For chill awesomeness.”

2) Miles Davis, Kind of Blue. “For understanding. A great beginner jazz album.”

3) Chet Baker, Sings. “For broken hearts and healing.”

4) Kurt Elling, The Messenger. “For humility.”


“No, but I’ve quit in such a way that I should’ve been arrested.”


“Twelve-step meetings; you just can’t beat that. I recommend cocaine anonymous. Those cats are cool.”


“My house in Oceanside was broken into in 1997, and the bastards got away with my Grandfather Patrone’s family ring and my step-grandfather’s Zippo, which he had with him on Normandy Beach on D-Day. Whenever I see a pawn shop, I drop in and check for those two things.”


“I would say Robert Downey Jr. or Johnny Depp. Not out of vanity; I don’t think I need to have such charismatic actors to portray me. It’s more that they seem to have the required dexterity to recreate all of the clumsy accidents that have almost killed me. A movie about me would probably be safer to produce in animation.”


1) “Heli-skiing in Alaska.”

2) “Carnival in Rio.”

3) “Teaching skiing in a foreign country such as Chile.”

4) “Singing the dissonant harmony from ‘Tanya Jean’ in a duet with Kurt Elling. At the Grammys.”


1) “I’m a nationally certified professional ski instructor.”

2) “I’m a former Marine aviation explosives technician.” ■

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Jay Allen Sanford Nov. 30, 2011 @ 6:35 p.m.

Outtakes: LOCAL HERO? “Steve Poltz. I saw him at a house concert in my friend’s back yard in Jamul, in 2009 I think. He’s an unbelievable storyteller. The stars were out, just Steve and the crickets in a desert arena, in the middle of nowhere.”

WHAT SCARES YOU, AND WHY? “I think all of my fears are justified, like falling off of snow-covered cliffs or getting bit by a rattlesnake while hiking in the Mojave. Maybe I should be afraid of my own hobbies.”

FIRST PET? “Midnight, a black lab, when I was two or three. In a roundabout way, my company Midnight Productions is named for him.”

WHERE DO YOU TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN VISITORS? “Depending on how cool they are, the University Club atop Symphony Towers downtown, Mr. A’s on 5th Avenue, or a jam session at El Camino in Little Italy.”

CAN PSYCHICS REALLY FORETELL THE FUTURE? “I knew you were going to ask me that.”

BRUSHES WITH THE RICH AND FAMOUS? “I’m afraid I’d be sued if I told you all the stuff I’ve done with celebrities. I’ve gotten loaded with Paris Hilton, many Playboy playmates, Dennis Rodman, Carmen Electra, Ike Turner, Corey Feldman, and a bunch of other cats that I both can’t and don’t want to remember.”

ANY LOCAL CELEBS? “I’ve rubbed elbows with San Diego Mayors, Chiefs of Police, sheriffs, sports stars, strippers, and famous vagrants like downtown’s Sign Guy and Tony the Pedicab Guy. I’ve partied with both felons and feds, and usually in my own house. I have a way of bringing all sorts of people together.”

FIRST JOKE YOU REMEMBER? “What do you get when you cross an elephant and a rhino? ‘Ell if I know!”


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