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Don’t you love the 80’s? Come on, even if you are too embarrassed to say it, ladies you know you love putting on your leg warmers, mini skirts, and perfecting that Madonna hair. Fellas you can’t deny those members only jackets. I mean, they come in every color! You cant help but get up and dance every time you watch The Goonies and hear Cyndi Lauper’s “Good Enough.”
Now that we’ve established that we ALL love the 80’s, you have no choice but to come out to The Handle Bar this Friday for 80’s cover band, The Breakfast Club. Now this isn’t your average cover band, these guys play and sing each and every song. No lip synching will be found here. The Breakfast Club has performed with many different bands including Whitesnake, Hootie and The Blowfish, and even Greenville’s Edwin McCain. Jerry (Vocals, Keys, Drums) was nice enough to tell me a little about the band he and his mates started.
Ashley Cooke: Ok, first I wanted to ask who had the idea to start an 80′s cover band and how did it all come together?
Jerry: In the summer of 1993, the original music band that I was in, Two Pound Planet, was falling apart (after a nice 6 year run). We owed various folks various amounts of money we had borrowed for various things (that sounds very various). I had an idea to start a cover band with two of my soon-to-be-former band mates, make some quick cash, pay off our debts and move on. The original time frame was 6 – 12 months.
After a couple of rehearsals, I saw an ad on TV one night around 3am for an ’80′s compilation CD. I thought to myself, “wowzers, someone is already waxing nostalgic for the ’80s and it’s only 1993. If a CD of only ’80s was being sold, why not a band performing just ’80s.” To my knowledge it had never been done before. I had never heard of a cover band paying tribute to one specific decade (now it’s quite common to see bands paying tribute to specific decades or specific artists). It was either going to fail miserably or be a resounding success. Thank God the latter proved to be the case.
AC: What is your favorite 80′s band?
J: To me, that’s equivalent to asking a parent who their favorite child is. There are many artists I still love to chill by the pool with. Here are some off the top of my head: The Outfield, Huey Lewis and The News, Loverboy, Supertramp, Duran Duran, and countless one or two hit wonders from the ’80s.
AC: Where was farthest place you have gone to play?
J: We’ve played in Rhode Island, Chicago, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, FL and everywhere in between.
AC: What is the strangest place you have ever played?
J: Bear in mind the band has played almost 3000 shows over the last 19 years. My liver aches when I think about how many beers that might be. There have been a few weird ones, but I’m certain I don’t remember them all. We’ve played on a riverboat; occasionally the stage rocked back and forth and the scenery changed every time you looked out the window. We played in Delaware for an art festival; they had built a large stage over a small canal about 25 feet from a street bridge – so we were on this precarious stage (10 feet above the water) while the audience stood 25+ feet away on the bridge.
AC: What song is most commonly requested, if you do take request?
J: Jesse’s Girl by Rick Springfield. It’s become our requisite encore song.
Yes, we do take requests. It’s essentially how we’ve formulated our set lists over the years. We do listen intently to what our fans want to hear, but we don’t ever want to be just like other ’80′s tribute bands. Our focus has always been the more pop-y stuff, one hit wonders, and sounding as close to the original as humanly possible without using any tracks. Anybody can (and many cover bands do) stand on a stage and “karaoke” to a cd. We prefer to take the time, put in the effort, to recreate the sounds and learn to parts verbatim – like someone did when the songs were originally recorded.
AC: What is your favorite song to play?
J: The first one – whatever it might be. There is a lot of anticipation that has built up to that moment. The audience has been gathering for some period of time, we’ve been changing into our stage garb, warming up our voices and bodies, nervous energy courses through our veins, the stage lights go black, the intro plays, we walk on stage and hit our first note, and that first song is electric.
AC: Do you guys get dressed up when performing? If so, do you have a particular character you like to portray on stage?
J: Indeed, no street clothes here. We don’t portray specific characters, though. I think that limits the imagination and overall impact an outfit might have for a three hour show. We choose, instead, to wear a genre of fashion from the ’80s. For example, DavayRay sports an ’80′s guitar rocker look. His brother Matt likes a rocker look, but a bit more dressy. I like a new-romantic, eclectic pop, look.
AC: Are any of the members in other bands, if so what kind of music do they/you play?
J: Nope, no side projects. The Breakfast Club® is everyone’s principle focus. Occasionally, some of us will sit in with other groups (usually friend’s groups) but it’s usually just for fun.
AC: What is the best show you have ever played? Over 20 years of playing there must be a few that stick out more than others.
J: Every show has a different energy about it. The shows I remember are the ones where the audience (big or small) really gives it back to us. We’ve played some over-the-top, throw down wedding receptions in recent years – it’s always cool to see folks in formal wear completely flipping out. We’ve done some reunion shows for Princeton University and UVA where literally thousands of people are jumping up and down at the same time – insane fun. We’ve also played some incredible club/theatre shows – hot, sticky, packed houses where smiles abound and the venue is a mess when folks are gone. Sometimes you can judge how great a show was by what the floor looks like after.
Bottom line, while there has been no one show that was far and away better than the others, we are been truly blessed to have had a lot of great ones. A tremendous amount of appreciation goes out to everyone that has supported us over the years.
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