Get Experienced: Pink Floyd tribute band brings total package
Published 9:48 am Thursday, February 27, 2014
BENTON TOWNSHIP —While the surviving members of Pink Floyd—Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason-have played a few shows together since their 1994 “Division Bell Tour,” it’s unlikely that the band will ever tour again.
That’s a fact of life for fans who missed out on seeing Pink Floyd play live. Luckily for them, however, there is PFX—The Pink Floyd Experience, a tribute band that has been playing to rave reviews around the country for about a decade. They will be coming to the Mendel Center on March 8.
“PFX played a show here about 10 years ago, and they were great,” said Laura Kraklau, executive director of marketing and communications at Lake Michigan College. “From everything we’ve heard, they’ve just gotten better and better since then. So, we knew we had to book them again.”
The San Diego-based band was started by Tom Quinn in 2003, but it has its roots in an older, regional tribute band, Pink Froyd. Tom started that band after he saw Pink Floyd’s San Diego show on “The Division Bell” tour.
“That’s when I transcribed the whole catalogue, and I started my band,” said Quinn, who plays guitar and also sings. “At first, we actually had to pay to play. People just weren’t that into the idea of a tribute band the way they are now. Ours was the first Pink Floyd tribute band on the West Coast.”
Quinn’s love for Pink Floyd actually goes back to 1973, with Pink Floyd’s release of “The Dark Side of the Moon.” It was the same year that he bought his first guitar and joined a band.
“The first time I heard ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ I was transformed and transfixed by the guitar work of David Gilmore. There’s something about his sense of phrasing—his style, his tone. It’s like a singing voice. It’s very lyrical guitar playing,” Quinn said. “Gilmore is the king of psychedelic blues guitar.”
The rest of the line-up for the band has changed over the years, with the newest member being guitarist and vocalist Randy McStine.
“He’s been a great addition to the band,” Quinn said.
Other members include Jesse Molloy on saxophone, John Cox on keyboards and Bob Sale on drums.
“Our bass player, Gus Beaudoin, has been with me since almost the beginning, since 1997,” Quinn said. “He’s great. He’s never missed a gig.”
Together, the band does everything they can to bring the experience of Pink Floyd to concert-goers.
“You can tell when someone is just ‘mailing it in,’” Quinn said. “We never mail it in. We put it all out there on the stage every night.”
While the band has focused on particular albums for earlier tours, the “Hits and Rarities” tour offers the audience the opportunity to hear all of the well-known Pink Floyd songs as well as some songs that never received much radio play.
“On this tour, ‘Hits and Rarities,’ we’re doing some deep cuts from the albums as well as the big favorites. Of course, people will hear ‘Money,’ ‘Comfortably Numb’ and the others, but we’re reaching back into the catalogue, all the way to the first album, ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ from 1967,” Quinn said. “We have a Syd Barrett tribute we’ll do, too.”
Beyond the music, The Pink Floyd Experience also offers concert-goers the multi-sensory experience that Pink Floyd was known for. The show includes a light show, interpretive videos, plane crashes, a helicopter and a flying pig.
“It’s probably the only flying pig with its own pig pilot in the world,” Quinn said. “People love it when we bring it out during the show.”
When the band is not out touring, each of the members continues working on their own solo projects.
“We all have different projects we work on between tours,” Quinn said. “Jesse has his own improvisational jazz band and also does some DJ-ing. I still have the regionally-based Pink Floyd Tribute band, Pink Froyd, that I play with. The other guys do their own thing, too.”
However, when it comes time to go on tour, the band mates put everything else aside.
“Once we decide to go out, we go all out. When we tour, we do it right,” Quinn said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, and we’re ready to go.”
Tickets for the PFX show at the Mendel Center are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the LMC Mendel Center Box Office at (269) 927-1221 or by visiting www.lmcmainstage.org. A cash bar will be available one hour before show time. More information about the band can be found at www.thepinkfloydexperience.net.
Quinn, for one, is looking forward to the show.
“At 58 years old, I still love to play,” Quinn said. “If you’re committed to what you’re doing, then you’ll enjoy it. I wake up, and I love to go to work.”