Daryl "Lippie" Lipska brings a joie de vivre to his chosen vocation. For 15 years his namesake band, Lip Service, has been playing in Sun Valley at a myriad of locations. This week the rock and roll quintet continues its two-week gig playing après ski outside at the Warm Springs Lodge and another Saturday night show at the Boiler Room in Sun Valley.
Lipska, who currently lives in Wisconsin but began the band in Santa Cruz 20 years ago, gathers his band mates from Minnesota's Twin Cities. They play an average of 100 dates a year, he said over lunch at Warm Springs Lodge.
"We've been entertaining kids—big and little—for years. One of my trademarks is children. I see kids here who grew up on stage and now they're watching. There is second generation of Lip Service fans right out here. I've been told, 'This little bundle of joy is what happened last time you were in town,' he laughed.
The band consists of Lippie on sax, harmonica, percussion and vocals; Dale "Dale-vis" Strength on synth; Mick Fishel on guitar; Jim Sissini on bass, and Joe Yager on drums.
(Strength is known as Dale-vis on the basis of his father Texas Bill Strength's friendship with Elvis Presley. They were both with Sun at the same time and recorded together. Dale remembers him coming by the house for visits.)
The band agrees there's something about playing in Sun Valley that's special.
"People really plan vacations around when we play here," Lipska said. "We get e-mails on our website asking when we're playing. It's a neat thing—like coming home."
In fact, the band's members have lots of friends in the area, and are up on the mountain skiing each morning and generally living large.
"I'm having a great time," Sissini added. "They pay me to ski and I throw in the music for free."
"Hey, that's my line, Dawg," Lipska shot back.
Of course, Lip Service is the first band of the season to be entertaining under the small tent stage outside on the deck at Warm Springs. And it's been rather cold, not the spring skiing that might have welcomed them.
"We knew it was a dangerous job when we took it," Lipska said, before excusing himself to begin setting up.
His bandmates sat for a minute before leaving to help. Talk inevitably turned back to their fearless leader.
"I think, really, the band is called Lip Service because he talks so much," Sissini said.
"He's a great performer," added Strength, who for three years was Olivia Newton John's musical director. "It's a very accomplished band."
Paying Lip Service
Lip Service plays Warm Springs Lodge in the afternoons through Sunday, March 19 and 9 p.m. Saturday, March 18 in the Boiler Room in Sun Valley.