Wednesday, July 30, 2014

‘Echoes’ of a legendary rock band

Group to play Pink Floyd tribute tonight


A group of valley musicians will play an assortment of Pink Floyd songs tonight in Hailey. Courtesy graphic

    Musician Johnny Valenzuela, three-fourths of the Kim Stocking Band and others will play a Pink Floyd tribute called “Echoes” at 6 p.m. tonight, July 30, at the Wicked Spud in Hailey.
    Of past performances when the band performed Pink Floyd albums in their entirety, Valenzuela said: “This time we’re not just doing an album; we’re doing a full evening of Pink Floyd music.”
    This is the fifth year in a row that Valenzuela has put together a special show for the summer.
    “Having done Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead before … I’m really looking forward to this one,” he said. “The band is really sounding good, and we’re striving to make this one memorable.”
    Valenzuela has put together a different band every year, which he finds extremely rewarding.
    “It’s fun to play with a variety of musicians,” he said.
    The year Valenzuela and his band played Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” album, the band consisted of at least three generations of performers.  The youngest was 16 and the oldest became a grandfather during rehearsals for the shows.
    “It was really cool,” Valenzuela said.
    Asked why Pink Floyd has dominated in Valenzuela’s shows, he said, “They are the masters of space. Not the cosmic kind but in a musical sense. [Guitarist] David Gilmore never shreds. He plays long, beautiful, lush notes that fill the space in the music. There is so much air to breathe in their music. They are masters at what they do.”
    Valenzuela sure has the rock chops to back up such an assertion.
    “Music has been my life since I was 5 years old,” he said. “I remember seeing the Captain and Tennille show and building keyboards out of sofa pillows.”
    Valenzuela’s career, however, careened past the cushioned version of air guitar. After growing up in the Wood River Valley and forming a band with classmates at the Community School, Valenzuela left the area to orchestrate a successful broadcasting career as an engineer and producer in the Los Angeles music business.
    “I was one year out of college, and every week I was in the presence of rock greats. The first radio show I worked on in radio broadcasting, I met Queen.”
    When the music scene changed, Valenzuela moved back home.
    “Our company got shut down and the music climate really changed in the early 2000s,” he said. “I looked around my apartment in L.A. and said, ‘I’m outta here.’”
    As for tonight’s show, he said, “The band is so excited to be reaching across the Pink Floyd catalogue.”
    The band this year includes Chip Booth, Mike Saul, Troy Tadlock (all from the Kim Stocking Band), Sean Jackson, Jim Paisley and Valenzuela.
    “The lineup this year is one of our best, and I’m thrilled to be working with these guys,” Valenzuela said.

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