It’s one thing to pay tribute to an iconic rock band by playing the group’s songs and taking on their personas in a performance. It is quite another thing to take the songs that were originally recorded in a studio and recreate them live on stage. That is what Get the Led Out, a Led Zeppelin tribute band, does each and every night that they perform.
“When people growing up were listening to Led Zeppelin albums, the songs that we perform are the cuts that they were hearing,” said Billy Childs, who is the bass guitarist and a vocalist in Get the Led Out. “We’re a Led Zeppelin tribute group with a different angle. We don’t do the look. We don’t get involved with that. We recreate the studio versions of the songs.”
Get the Led Out will perform on Aug. 30 at RiverEdge Park in Aurora as part of the City of Aurora’s Downtown Alive! concert series.
The rock band Led Zeppelin began in London, England, in 1968 and consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham. The band scored hits with such songs as “Stairway to Heaven,” “Dazed and Confused” and “Whole Lotta Love.” The group disbanded in 1980 after the death of Bonham.
Led Zeppelin had four musicians and Get the Led Out has six due to the fact that the tribute band is recreating the studio recordings. In the studio, Led Zeppelin layered many guitars, vocals, keyboards and other instruments in a process known as overdubbing. It is physically impossible for only four people to recreate those recordings in a live performance.
So, the Philadelphia-based Get the Led Out performs with six musicians. In addition to Childs, the group consists of Paul Sinclair, Jimmy Marchiano, Paul Hammond, Andrew Lipke and Adam Ferraioli. The band first started in 2003.
“It has been four years for me now,” said Childs of his involvement in the group. “I am the newest member.”
Childs said that although early members of the band wanted to do impersonations of Led Zeppelin musicians, it was Sinclair who wanted to take on the studio recordings and perform them live.
“They were doing the look-alike thing at the time,” said Childs of early incarnations of the group. “Sinclair was not interested in a look-a-like thing and since he was so good at what he did musically, they were willing to change.”
Sinclair’s vision of performing on stage as themselves and doing the studio versions of the Led Zeppelin songs was not always a popular concept with other early members in the band. One by one they left and were replaced, according to Childs.
“The bass player before me was the last original guy,” Childs said. “He was just not getting into the studio idea.”
According to Childs, it is the dedication to performing the music precisely as it was recorded that makes Get the Led Out special.
“Every note has to be where it was on that recording,” he said. “We all do our homework.
That’s our defining quality. Not the looks, but the music.”
Audience members are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket.
Food and drink are available for purchase inside RiverEdge Park. No outside food or drink (except water) are allowed in the park during events.
Children 12 and under are free with an accompanying ticketed adult.