One of These Daze, a band is going to enter your life: a band that tickles your memory with the Crystal Visions of your youth. It will take you back 40 years, to an era when rock was just beginning. You'll see the Four Horsemen up onstage, speaking just 2U, grinning their goofy, googly grins. This ageless quartet, one of the world's first bands forced to endure the Electric Eye of a never-ending press nightmare, will pick up their vintage instruments and, with a Caress of Steel, they'll turn the crowd into a frenzy of screaming groupies.
We explore the world of 1964 The Tribute to find out how these lads who aren't really from Liverpool (they grew up in Akron) managed to rock for 20 years straight and sell out Carnegie Hall five times. Meet a band who's always got a little Mojo Risin'.
Our first two paragraphs are filled with the names of real tribute bands. Can you guess what band each name emulates? Answers are at the bottom of the page.
CM: Explain how a tribute band is born.
1964: We had no interest in this being a full-time vocation. We had all sort of left the Top 40s scene. We were all working on original material and we thought this would be a blast, maybe once a month just locally here in Akron.
CM: You got a little more attention than you bargained for, huh?
1964: By the second year, it just took off and we were as surprised as anyone, believe me! I think we just didn't have a good enough handle on how effective this music is for people of all ages. We thought it was going to be a baby boomer thing, but the truth was shown to us that it has a sort of all-generations appeal.
CM: So you hadn't attended "Tribute Bands 101" at your local community college?
1964: Well, the drummer had always had this "You look like Ringo" thing going on, and a guywho had played guitar in most of the bands I had been in, Gary Grimes, everybody had always mentioned to him, "You've got this McCartney thing going on." He's a big Paul McCartney fan, but McCartney was left-handed and played bass — Gary didn't do either one of those. He had to learn how to play bass guitar left-handed for the show — so that's huge right there.
CM: You seem to have found a niche with your focus on the Beatles circa 1964.
1964: We wanted to show people what it was like to see the Beatles in concert. They toured for so few years, from '63 to '66. So we have the same guitars, amps, clothing, hairstyles, guitar strings, drumsticks, cymbals, drum heads. We've researched it down so when we perform, the sound coming off our stage is as close as we can get today to the sound back then. We wanted people who grew up in that era to be reminded of it. We wanted it to be accurate.
CM: What's more important: looking like them or sounding like them?
1964: There has to be an element of both. The thing about the Beatles is that most groups are centered around a central figure, a lead-type person, but the Beatles were four naturally charismatic guys.
CM: Any words of wisdom for the Aerosmith wannabes out there?
1964: Listen every time someone says you'll never be able to do it, and use that as your inspiration. We just kept on keeping on. People ask us, "Don't you think you should be doing your own music?" and I'm thinking, Why didn't anybody ever ask Michelle Pfeiffer that? Or Sean Connery? Or any of the famous actors? They're never themselves, and we can't wait to see their next movies. It's just entertainment, folks. That's all it is!
1964 The Tribute jets into Playhouse Square Center's Palace Theatre Friday, April 8, for one night only. Be there or be square. For more info on the band, visit: 1964thetribute.com.
A few good names
2U — U2
Four Fighters — Foo Fighters
Amorica — The Black Crowes
50 Ft. Queenie — P.J. Harvey
Band on the Run — Paul McCartney and Wings
Back Stabbath — Black Sabbath
Blitzcretins — The Ramones
Bogus Pomp — Frank Zappa
Bone Jak — The Grateful Dead
Capricorn USA — Motorhead
Children of the Grave — Black Sabbath
China Grove — The Doobie Brothers
El Loco — ZZ Top
Eminence Front — The Who
Hot Rod Live — Rod Stewart
KIST — KISS
KISSTORY — KISS
KISSTERIA — KISS
KISSNATION — KISS
Lost Marbles — Grateful Dead
Odds & Sods — The Who
Rocket Queens — Guns 'N' Roses
Rust Never Sleeps — Neil Young
Slippery When Wet — Bon Jovi
Symon Sez — Simon and Garfunkel
The Dreaming Tree — Dave Matthews Band
The Ga-Gas — The Go-Gos
The Sleepfarmers — Nirvana
Vital Idol — Billy Idol
Zepparella — Led Zeppelin
Led Zepagain — Led Zeppelin
Twenty-five tribute bands hail from the state of Ohio, according to www.tribute-band.com. That’s not including 1964 – The Tribute.