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Just the mere mention of albums like The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Wish You Were Here, Meddle and Animals brings up frenzied discussions of which one was the best. Much like fans of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd fans have their favorite eras and are steadfast in their adoration of these eras. One thing is for sure: whether you’re more of a fan of the Syd Barret era (Saucer Full of Secrets, Piper At The Gates of Dawn); the mid-career, post-Barrett, mind meltdown era (Meddle, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, The Wall); or even the post-Roger Waters era (Delicate Sound of Thunder, The Division Bell); one thing is for sure: Pink Floyd fans are die-hard and will defend the seminal rock band till the bitter end.There are those old enough to catch these influential psychedelic rock icons live. Some may have been lucky enough to catch all three eras of their rock solid career. Some, maybe just one era. But for a lot of new fans, the chance to catch Pink Floyd live is limited to an old VHS copy of Live At Pompeii or Delicate Sound of Thunder Live. But thanks to Pink Floyd tribute band Pink Droyd, those unlucky souls who never got to see and hear Pink Floyd live can experience the next best thing.
I got a chance to talk to lead vocalist and guitarist Kevin Quandt about the band that formed more or less accidentally just after New Year’s Eve in 2007.
“I pulled together a short-term Pink Floyd tribute project called Earthbound Misfits,” explains Quandt. “It was a ragtag group of Fort Wayne musicians, including myself on guitar and lead vox, George Mallers on lead guitar and backing vox, Dave Baker on keys, Ian Titus on bass, Ron Baker on drums and Emily Akins on backing vox.
“We only planned to have one show at Piere’s with a couple other Fort Wayne bands,” he continues. “It was a ton of fun, so we decided we needed to host another, but because of time constraints we needed a lineup change. I heard there was a keyboardist at Sweetwater, Daniel Fisher, that was in a Pink Floyd tribute band back in Boston, Pink Voyd, and I just had to ask him to audition. Needless to say, he blew us all away. We did a second show, again at Piere’s, titled as Pink Rush (Pink Floyd/Rush tribute night) and shared the stage with the local Rush tribute act Grace Under Pressure. Again, it was a great show, but this lineup had to change to accommodate personal schedules.”
Quandt and Fisher joined forces to put together a lineup for a more permanent Pink Floyd tribute band. One of the no-brainer choices Mike Lennon, whose band, The Lennon Brothers, had been known for their Pink Floyd tribute shows during the 90s. Though there have been many lineup changes over the years, including several backing vocalists from all over the country – including Indianapolis, South Dakota, Ohio and Fort Wayne (the talented Grace Bender) – Pink Droyd’s core lineup remains Quandt, Fisher and Lennon, along with bassist Craig Harnish and drummer Nick Talevski.
With the recent remastering of seminal Pink Floyd albums, I wondered if Pink Droyd took that into account and tried to work that into their shows, possibly building on that momentum.
“Definitely,” says Quandt. “While Pink Floyd [have] re-released their entire catalog, they put special focus on Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall with the “immersion” box sets. We thought it was a great time to feature those albums in a series. With Roger Waters bringing The Wall to Indianapolis on June 2, we thought it would be nice to ‘team up’ with Roger and let him close out our album concert series.” That album concert series finishes up June 2 with a performance of Animals at the the Rock The Plaza show held at the Downtown Public Library.
Playing the songs to a T is one thing – a very important thing, actually – but aside from the music, another very important aspect to a Pink Floyd show is the visuals – the lasers, the lights and the big screens. It’s not a gimmick like it was with a lot of bands in the 60s and 70s. The visuals were just as much a part of the experience as the music. Do Pink Droyd deliver on the visual end?
“Performing with this band is unlike anything else I’ve done. The production is a big effort, but it truly is a blast. It’s not uncommon for us to pull into a venue to hear someone say ‘Wow, that’s a lot of gear.’ Our team is very professional and efficient. We’ve got this down to a science, though there are always gremlins in the system.”
What sort of things are seen at a Pink Droyd show?
“We’ve been through many different production setups, props, etc. and will continue to experiment and deliver new ones. We have used The Wall backdrop for many shows, the Pulse lighting arch, certainly the lasers and circular video screen (our version of Mr. Screen), the fully functional ‘light jacket’ from Delicate Sound of Thunder, Pink Droyd bucks, etc.”
What about a giant pig? “Pig, huh? We just haven’t had the right show to bring that out. Stay tuned.” Can’t wait.