An Interview with Dark Side of the Moon
Dark Side of the Moon is a Pink Floyd tribute band that plays shows throughout the Midwest.
The band currently consists of 8 members, Jeff Tucker, Trevor Mallernee, Joey Amato, Jon Klusti, Ray Beeble, Tommy “Tornado” Abersold, Rick Arrendale and Alexa Pokorny, who recreate the iconic sound of Pink Floyd.
We got the chance to sit down with Jeff Tucker and Trevor Mallernee before their show at the Kent Stage on November 21 for an interview.
What are your names, and what do each of you play?
Trevor Mallernee: My name’s Trevor Mallernee, and I sing. Jeff Tucker, he sings, and primarily plays guitar.
Jeff Tucker: All sorts of guitars- Slide, acoustic, a couple different electric guitars. I have a lot of the guitar duties.
How & When did the band come about?
Tucker: It’s funny you should ask that. Tomorrow is my 6th year anniversary in the band. The odd thing is we have 8 members, and none of them are original members. So this band was created by completely different people, in 2007ish, and over that time frame, one way or another, everyone’s been replaced. There are no original members, at 6 years tomorrow I guess I’m the longest running member.
Mallernee: The newest member is Joey Amato.
The night started off with some of Pink Floyd’s songs from their later years, that are more David Gilmour influenced. One of their first songs “Learning to Fly” gave a great first impression of the band. Their utilization of the laser and stage lights really set the mood, and Trevor even invited all the “flyers” to come up to the front of the stage to “fly.”
Do you strive to sound exactly like Pink Floyd or do you try to incorporate your own sense of style and sound into the music?
Mallernee: A little bit of both.
Tucker: There’s certain things that we take liberties with, but then there’s certain things, the solo to "Comfortably Numb" for example. The first solo is note for note exactly because it’s such an iconic piece.
Mallernee: We learn the songs based on the albums, based most of the time on the actual studio albums. However, there’s time when that doesn’t always work out, or there’s really good live recordings you can use as frameworks to modify. So another example is we have a new saxophone player, and he’s a really good musician and we added him to the band, and so we do some things where he plays in songs that we’ve never heard sax in at all. But places where it wouldn’t be out of line for Pink Floyd to do, you know we’re not gonna recreate what Pink Floyd should sound like. But for the most part we try to sound like them, but for the beginning or end we may come up with cool transitions in the songs. We will definitely take liberties.
Tucker: For Pink Floyd, I mean I’m assuming you’re both just huge fans, a lot of their songs have segways, so there’s no stopping point. We need to find a way to end a song, for example like Dark Side of the Moon, there’s no definite end. We do Dark Side of the Moon with all it’s transitions through the whole thing but tonight you’ll hear a lot of that album just in different places so we had to find places to actually end a song and start another one. But you guys be the judge.
After some more songs from Pink Floyd’s later years, the band started playing from the album, Dark Side of the Moon. Listening to “Time” was especially cool due to the moving clock graphics in the background of the stage. The band’s only female member, Alexa Pokorny, sang “Great Gig in the Sky” which blew the audience away with her vocals. Before the intermission the band closed their first set with “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse.”
Do you guys have a favorite song to play live, and if so what is it and why?
Mallernee: Nowadays for me, "Welcome to the Machine." That is a powerful song.
Tucker: And I don’t even wail on guitar and that’s gotta be one of my favorites right now.
Mallernee: A lot of nice harmonies, a lot of good keyboard parts.
Tucker: Now that song, to kinda go back to your last question, if we were to perform it exactly like it is on the studio album, sounds very weak. Not very full.
Mallernee: There are no drums on the studio version of "Welcome to the Machine."
But you incorporate drums into it?
Tucker: Yeah. Now Roger Waters I believe in the late 2000s, went and did a tour in the flesh, and that’s actually the version that we’ll play. That has multiple electric guitar, acoustic guitar, you know the drums, and so unless you know that piece, you’ve probably never heard it sound like this. And so its really cool. That’s one of my new favorites. Of course you know I love "Time," there’s so many dynamics through it, its so sweet and sour through the chorus, it’s kinda punchy through the verses, the solos, the keyboards, the effects of the beginning. So it kinda touches on everything that is Pink Floyd.
When they played “Welcome to the Machine” they did indeed incorporate drums into the song even though there’s none on the studio version. The song remained just as haunting as on Wish You Were Here.
Following the intermission, the band followed up an upbeat jam song “One of These Days” from their 1971 album, Meddle. This song is mostly instrumental, with a heavy, thumping bass line, however, Trevor screamed the only lyrics in the song, “One of these days I’m going to cut you into little pieces.”
How long have you guys been touring?
Tucker: We don’t wanna say that we go on tour because we’d like to say we’re a local band. Yeah we don’t like to say we go on tour, we go on trips. We’ve been to Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, like Pittsburgh. Now before I started on the band, they went as far East as I think Harrisburgh. So we don’t go, we’re not gonna take 2 weeks off and go on tour. Basically we play a weekend, and then go home. And then play somewhere again.
Mallernee: Travelling farther, we’ll try to do back to back shows.
Tucker: Yeah we did Youngstown one night,..but since we’re all working stiffs..
Mallernee: Yeah all of us all have another job. We all have real jobs. We sometimes take more time thinking about this job than our other job (laughing)
Tucker: Basically it’s a glorified, very serious, hobby. We have a lot of fun with it.
The band played “Wish You Were Here” and at this point in the show, Trevor invited more of the audience to come in front of the stage to sing and dance along. At the end of Floyd’s biggest hit, “Another Brick in the Wall Part II,” the band went on a 4 minute jam session that featured a saxophone solo from Tommy “Tornado” Abersold. It also gave every member a short little solo to show off their musical style.
The band ended the night with “Comfortably Numb” as their encore. Tons of people from the crowd were huddled in front of the stage to sing along. Jeff’s guitar solos were spot on, and it was the perfect last song to play before we dispersed.
If you could say one thing to Roger Waters, David Gilmour, or Syd Barrett what would it be?
Mallernee: Don’t do drugs!
Tucker: Yeah Syd was a trainwreck.
Mallernee: I’d be that guy, “When you guys gonna be back together again?”
Tucker: (Mocking Roger Waters) “I’ll answer that question again and again, it’s not gonna
Mallernee: That’s probably the one I’d want an answer for. Please? Yeah because it’ll change with me asking.
Tucker: Well yeah basically any question that you’d want to know has been asked. So for me it would probably be more, because I’m more of a Gilmour fan than a Waters fan, be more of a thank you. He really showed me that I want to do that. And again it’s a hobby, yeah we’ll get paid tonight, but we’ve spent so much more money to do this than what we get paid. It’s a passion for us to do what we do, we’ll have a 14 hour day today. And I could go to McDonalds and probably make more. Its really like that. But to create this music, and to create this environment, and do the light show, and create this aura, and then invite 300, 400, 1000 people to join you. They’re there to see you, and I’m there to see them. There’s magic.
Mallernee: And yeah sometimes there really is.
Tucker: I think it would be more of just a thank you.
Mallernee: That was a good answer.
It really was.