Band brings ‘The Mighty Zep’ to UF

What happens on stage at a Get the Led Out concert is something unlike anything any Led Zeppelin fan has ever experienced.

It is something probably not even “The Mighty Zep” themselves could have envisioned.

But it must be made clear that concert goers are not in for an impersonation of original Led Zeppelin shows, or even something like a studio session.

“It’s like it’s 1975 all over again,” said Paul Sinclair, lead singer and one of the three original band members of Get the Led Out, one of the country’s “premiere tribute bands.”

The band will make its Florida premiere Friday at 7:30 p.m., at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Unlike the original format of Led Zeppelin, Get the Led Out consists of six members (instead of four), and a female vocalist, Diana Desantes, who comes onstage for the song “The Battle of Evermore.”

The band, which is hailed as the “American Led Zeppelin,” started five years ago when bass player, Paul Piccari, called Sinclair.

Piccari heard of Sinclair’s hard-rock style and of guitar player Paul Hammond and wanted to put together a Led Zeppelin show with them.

But the guys didn’t want to be like other tribute bands that dress up in costumes, learn, play and repeat long improvisational jams.

“I wanted to do something entirely different,” Sinclair said. “We want to give [the fans] all the solos, the sounds, the guitar riffs – what they’re asking for.”

Sinclair said there is a whole subculture of tribute bands, and the competition is fierce.

But the tribute scene implies impersonation, a term they don’t like.

Though the band members’ goal is to perfectly recreate the sounds and moods of Led Zeppelin, their performance and perspective toward the music have changed throughout the years.

“One thing I learned was that when Led Zeppelin recorded their songs, it was about capturing a moment,” Sinclair said. “It wasn’t as thought-out as I thought it was.”

He said it is a real exercise in memory to learn someone’s improv from start to finish.

“They jammed around those musical ideas and created something unique,” Sinclair said. “Recreating that is something next to impossible.”

So long as everyone does their homework, it takes only a couple rehearsals to master some songs, as is the case with “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” But of course, every song is different.

The music gets smoother, better and closer to the record each time they play live, Sinclair said.

To this day the band still revisits songs it learned five years ago.

Recently, they learned how to play the main guitar riff in “Whole Lotta Love” even more like the original. This was a particularly difficult song, and to them, one of the biggest rock songs of all times.

“With the pursuit of perfection and the enthusiasm of the audience it doesn’t feel like we’re playing the same songs over and over again,” Sinclair said. “Trying to make it that much closer for the fans makes it a challenge every single time”

Sinclair approaches the music as a fan.

“The experience of a concert to me is pretty thrilling,” Sinclair says. “If I weren’t singing, I’d be watching in the audience ’cause these guys are so awesome.”

Drummer Andrew Lipke, is well known in Philadelphia for his internationally acclaimed ’80s pop-rock band, Hit the Ground Running.

Lipke is considered by fellow band members to be a prodigy and a musical genius. He plays the harmonica, the banjo, electric and acoustic guitar and keyboards. He also does selected vocals and percussion for the band.

Sinclair himself also plays the harmonica for the band and on his own time plays drums, guitar and keyboards. But professionally, all his energy is focused on singing and managing his band.

“It’s like having five girlfriends,” he said.

Managing a crew of 17, that is eternally on tour is taxing, he said.

“Sometimes you wonder, ‘what did I do, I could’ve become a doctor, a lawyer,’ but when you’re on stage, and you’re looking out at 1,000 people who are huge Led Zeppelin fans, for those moments, it is total and utter bliss,” Sinclair said.

When the band plays for more familiar crowds, they will sometimes introduce original songs.

“People are hungry for this kind of rock,” Sinclair said.

Their own music has a strong inLed Zeppelin influence. Singers like Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith are the reason, Sinclair said he made his life the mess it is.

Sinclair and guitar player Paul Hammond have been playing together since they were kids.

They are now traveling all over the country and have had offers to go abroad.

“Now, the sky’s the limit,” Sinclair said.

The band members want to take the sound and fury of “The Zep” across the country and around the world to the big arenas where Metallica, Aerosmith and other greats have played.

“Doing this is a freaking joy,” Sinclair said. “I plan on doing this until my last gaping breath.”

Article also published in the Independent Florida Alligator

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