Steeped in Floyd
If you like your Pink Floyd to be accurately reproduced and not haphazardly interpreted, then Pink Droyd are the band for you. Through its faithful adherence to the loopy precision of Pink Floyd’s music, the Fort Wayne-based band has earned a reputation that reaches far beyond the Summit City.
And when you throw in a laser light show and top-notch string section, the Pink Droyd experience only gets better.
Strings, lasers and that unique Floyd sound will fill the University of Saint Francis Performing Arts Center on Saturday, April 19 when Pink Droyd and the Pink Droyd Philharmonic Orchestra present All Strings Attached. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the show starting at 7 p.m.
It’s excusable to think that it’s crazy for a band to take on Pink Floyd. But anyone who has spent a week or two locked in room listening to Dark Side of the Moon or Meddle through headphones will tell you that it’s not crazy. It’s passion. Every time the needle drops on a Floyd record some new sound emerges from the depths, some previously unheard aural doodle grabs the ears and demands to be investigated. Same with the lyrics, which burrow into the brain like some delicious puzzle. Pink Floyd’s music simply refuses to get old.
The members of Pink Droyd are driven by that same passion. For lead singer and guitarist Kevin Quandt, Pink Floyd’s music has always stirred him. Imagine his delight at finding a bunch of other musicians equally moved by Floyd.
“It’s a sordid story,” Quandt said. “When you have people who are so passionate about putting on a large scale Pink Floyd tribute, things just sort of happen.”
The first incarnation of what would become Pink Droyd grew out of a one-off show at Piere’s. Quandt had assembled a band of like-minded players called Earthbound Misfits. The show turned out to be more fun than Quandt had expected, so a second gig was scheduled, this time paired with the Rush tribute band Grace Under Pressure. But because of scheduling conflicts with the initial Earthbound Misfits lineup, Quandt had to scramble to piece a new band together.
“We decided to do it again,” Quandt said. “Six months later we hooked up with Daniel Fisher.”
Fisher had recently relocated to Fort Wayne from Boston where he had played keyboards in a Floyd tribute band called Pink Voyd. After the second Earthbound Misfits show, Quandt and Fisher kept jamming together. Eventually they expanded their vision.
Quandt and Fisher found the right guys. Mike Lennon, who played guitar with the Lennon Brothers and worked with Fisher at Sweetwater Sound, had been talking with Fisher about a Floyd tribute. His participation was inevitable. Now with drummer Nick Talevski and bassist Trevor Krall, Pink Droyd, while not a touring band, play shows across the Midwest and beyond.
Pink Floyd, like a lot of British bands in the late 1960s, were steeped in the blues. Their earliest records reflect this, to a point. After founding member Syd Barrett got lost in the haze of mental illness and David Gilmour took his place, the band began to change direction behind Roger Waters’ leadership, offering up music that was at once simple and complex, hard and spacey, sweet and cynical. Navigating the breadth and depth of Pink Floyd’s oeuvre is more than just difficult. Combined with the expectations of their fans, it enough to test any musician’s mettle.
Some fans are obsessed. They want perfection. They want it to sound like the records, like they’ve got their headphones on. They’re animals. Fans of Rush, for instance, have turned the Canadian trio into a band that is a tribute of itself. People in the audience at a Rush show will know if Neil Peart so much as misses a drum fill. Pink Floyd fans are the same way. And the members of Pink Droyd are nothing if not huge Pink Floyd fans.
“We pride ourselves on knowing all of Floyd,” Quandt said. “Somebody will start a song that may be a little deeper than others, and we have to know it cold. Daniel will go into some Syd Barrett song and we’re all right there with him.”
Quandt knows Floyd fans want to hear the hits as well as the more obscure tunes. So “Money,” “Another Brick in the Wall,” “Have a Cigar” and “Time,” among others, are almost certainties. But it’s all fair game. This time around the fun for Quandt has been adding the strings to the mix.
“Roger Waters, of course, wrote his own orchestration,” Quandt said. “We have a five-piece string section – two cellos, two violins and a viola – that has been very involved, very intense. They’ve rewritten songs that lend themselves to a string section. But it will still be Pink Floyd.”
Fans may have their demands and obsessive ears, but it’s the band that makes the music. And in the end it’s always up to the band.
“One of the things about Pink Floyd is they always delivered music they thought was good,” Quandt said. “They tried to deliver music they liked. And they invented songs live. Animals, the whole album, was created and sculpted live. I love hearing people tell me what Pink Floyd means to them. How emotional and cerebral the music is. It just transcends so many genres. From the beginning to the end of the catalog.”