Rocco Silano is in a class by himself when it comes to magic and studying the art. He has won many top awards throughout the world of magic including and award for the “Worlds Most Original Act” a two time winner of the MAC Award (Manhattan Association of Cabarets) and has been nominated nine times for “Magician of the Year” by the Academy of Magical Arts which is the governing body of The Magic Castle.
He now can be seen on VH1’s Celebracadabra! as a mentor to celebrities who learn magic and compete for top honors and $100,000.
Rocco took time out of his very busy schedule to not only talk about his life…what inspire him to do what he does but to interview me as well.
T.E.N . -How are you?
Rocco Silano- Alright, how are you?
T.E.N - Doing great. I’m sitting here watching some of your videos.
RS – Which ones?
T.E.N. – Right now, the video that has you performing with water and a rose.
RS – Oh, nice…nice, yeah! That was in New York . That’s my closer.
T.E.N. – What have you been up to?
RS – I’m having a nice week at the Magic Castle and I’m getting ready for a show to air on April 27 th on VH1.
T.E.N.– How did you become involved with “VH1’s Celebracadabra!?”
RS- Their New York office had been watching me perform for about two or three years at this place in Manhattan and I guess when they pitched the show, they had me come in and they interviewed me and I got the gig.
T.E.N. – Wasn’t there over 500 magicians that auditioned for a place in the show?
RS – Yeah…yeah. They (VH1) didn’t know the direction of the show until they met me. They were gonna do it just “straight lace magic” then, they realized that they wanted to have character and not just regular magician guys.
T.E.N.- Can you tell us a little bit about the show? What’s the theme or what’s it about?
RS- Yeah, its something with magic that’s never been done before…there’s always been magic shows with guys on stage doing magic. This is a “reality show” where seven different magicians teach seven different celebrities seven different categories of magic that the public doesn’t even know exists. There are different categories like “Street Magic”… “Stage Magic”… “Escape Magic’… “Collage Magic”… “Close Up Magic”… “Grand Illusion Magic” and we magicians teach them each category to see who wins the prize at the end. It’s an “elimination type” show. It’s like “Dancing With The Stars” but they’ve incorporated magic.
T.E.N. - What would make this show different than all of the other “reality shows” out there?
RS- Because if you were to put the volume off on your TV set while watching this TV show…you would still be entertained because it’s such a visual show. The impact of the magic…you could even have the volume off and be entertained and watch the whole show. Imagine with the volume on and a story line. (Laughs) It’s got all of the elements of success. No question!
T.E.N.- What inspired you to study magic?
RS- Well, in 1977 I was working as a security guard when Elvis first died on August 16 th. I read in the newspaper that he was reading the Bible. That’s what it said “Elvis died in the bathroom with a Bible in his hand.” So I said, “What does the “King of Rock N’ Roll know that I didn’t know?” I was nineteen years old. I started reading the Bible and I read about this guy turning stones to bread and walking on water…making fish multiply and making the blind see. I was curious about magic. I investigated it and found that we only use about ten percent of our brain within a lifetime. But, back then when Jesus was around he used meditation and telekinesis. He went to India to study how to meditate to reach God. He was able to do all of the great miracles. He was an influence for me on how to duplicate in today’s modern life what Jesus did two thousand years ago. That was one of my influences. Then I watched different movies like “RudolphValentino” and “Zorro” and “James Bond” and I took the elements of those characters that made them so strong and incorporated it with slight of hand.
T.E.N.- Do you think Jesus had a “Divine Power?”
RS- He totally had “Devine Intervention.” You see when he was sixteen years old; he vanishes from the Bible and doesn’t reappear back until he’s thirty. When he was born, the three wise men that came from the Far East to bring him gifts…were “Magi.” They brought him frankincense, gold and myrrh. The gold to represent a King…the frankincense to represent a spirit that would ascend into Heaven like the smoke from incense…and the myrrh which is an embalming fluid to prophesize his death. So, these “Magi” came from the Far East , which was India . That’s where he went when he was sixteen. Him and Buddha…they were from the same time era. He went to study how to meditate like with Tibetan monks who could levitate off of the snow. By using their brains, they can heat their bodies up and levitate off the ground. Telekinesis…Transcendental Meditation we don’t do it nowadays because we only use ten percent of our brains. Back then, we had the same basic principles that we used to build the pyramids. They had that knowledge back then. I have that knowledge now.
T.E.N.- You have not only mastered the standard tricks and illusions but you’ve also invented or co-invented some of your own.
RS- Yes, of course, I invented D’Lite which is the number one selling trick in the history of magic. I had it patented in 1994. I put it on the market and have sold about six million of them so far. They’re gonna be throughout the “Celebracadabra!” show.
(*Editor's note: Roger Maryfarth was also a co-inventor of the D'Lite Illusion)
T.E.N.- That is a really cool illusion.
RS- Yeah, yeah, you’ve seen it right? Perfect! I sell them all over Vegas in the magic shops. Magicians don’t use them anymore but I introduced it to them. I have all of my own tricks.
T.E.N.- Do you think that you are more of an illusionist, street magic, slight of hand or mentalist?
RS- These are all terminologies that have popped up in the mid 2000’s. Street magicians have been around since the Greek times. People performed on the streets. Illusions are what you see if the magician is good. If he is not good…he could blow the illusion. We just create optical illusions with “slight of hand” and a lot of misdirection and timing. Anybody who says that they really can float…they’re the devil. (Laughs) We used to have that power but we’ve put it aside now and we’re on our own man. (Laughs)
T.E.N. - How do you feel about Harry Blackstone Jr’s comment about you?
RS – I have memorized it and embedded it in my brain since then; “Young Rocco, that you’re about to have on the program in a little while, I think is the epitome of the great science and technology of magic!” I was a young kid when he said that on the “Tom Snyder Show.” It just gave me that “Stamp of Approval” that my style and techniques of magic…is gonna work!
T.E.N.- You have won some major awards in the magic world.
RS- I did thank God. “The Federacion International Societes de Magique” is the world championship of magic. In 1994 I won and in 2006 I won with another act. I’m the only American to be a two-time FISM winner and I get to carry that plaque. You know about it so it’s good!
T.E.N. - In your work, you are constantly are developing bigger and better illusions.
RS- It’s a never ending process. The nature of life and the world everyday inspires me to create a miracle. Like just now, I’m talking to you and I see a flower growing out from a bush and I’m thinkin “Wow, I’d be a great effect if I could just take the seed and put it in my hand…put some dirt on it…blow on it and make a flower grow out of my hand.” I just did that but you weren’t here to see it. It worked! Everyday things like that happen. I walked up the steps to my hotel and guess what? The doors opened all by themselves! Now if that would have happened two hundred years ago you’d have been a magician. You know what I’m sayin? The doors opened by themselves.
T.E.N. – Is that something that you’re doing?
RS- No…it’s the automatic doors at the hotel entrance. It looked like magic to me because I walked up and they opened up all by themselves.
T.E.N. - What do you think about the “Phenomenon” show on NBC?
RS- I didn’t watch one episode. At that time we were filming “Celebracadabra!” I heard from other people that it “tanked.”
T.E.N. – What do you think of people like Criss Angel and David Blaine and their type of magic?
RS- I think they’re great! It’s great just the fact that you’ve mentioned them and talk about them. They’re doing “justice” to magic and “keeping it on the map” and good or bad…you’re talking about them. I think they opened the doors for “Celebracadabra!” I think they’re a great credit to the exposure of magic to the demographics of people that they’re reaching.
T.E.N. – Tell me something about yourself that you’ve never told before.
RS – Alright, are you ready? I am forty-eight years old. Normally it’s twenty- nine! It’s a yin and yang. I’m getting older but you have more wisdom and experience. So that’s it.
T.E.N. – Is there anything else that you want to say?
RS- No Man, except; “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail!” “When you’re green…you grow and when you’re ripe you rot.” Learn from everyone and everything all of the time. “When the student is ready…the teacher will appear.” That sums it up, man.
T.E.N. - That’s all the questions that I have for you. I thank you for your time!
RS – Troy , Thank you. I have a couple of questions for you. Is there anything disturbing about yourself that you’ve never told anybody else?
T.E.N. – I wish I could do magic like you…but I can’t.
RS – Okay, how old are you?
T.E.N. – I am forty-one.
RS – Remember what I said, “When the student is ready…the teacher will appear!” If you wanna learn magic…let’s hook it up!
I want to thank Rocco for taking the time for the interview and to interview me as well and Jeff Abraham for aiding with securing the interview.