There was a time when four-piece rock bands dominated the airwaves and filled stadiums all across the country, and even did so composing complex, progressive arrangements. This time was known as the ’70s.
Locals Locomotive Breath pay tribute to this era—narrowing it down to the years 1967-1976—and have selected seven specific bands that embody this time in music: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Doors, the Who, Cream, and Jethro Tull.
“When most bands do tribute bands, they try to bring back these memories of what you were doing when you first heard these songs,” says bassist Daniel Lewis. “I’m in my 50s. To a lot of people my age, these were mythical bands. We were listening to Dark Side of the Moon with our headphones—these albums were huge.”
The name Locomotive Breath is a reference to a Jethro Tull song, and as such Jethro Tull might be the most important band to the group, in that it was hearing them that inspired Lewis to listen to the music again. A couple of years back, Lewis heard one of their tunes on the radio and became enthralled—even more so when he went home and tried to play the bass lines, which aren’t easy.
He’s made this appreciation for the technical difficulty of the music a cornerstone of the band. Locomotive Breath doesn’t necessarily play the more known tunes by the artists they cover, they go for the most challenging ones. For instance, from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, they don’t play “Money,” they play “Great Gig In The Sky.”
As much as this period in rock ’n’ roll was larger than life (even being referred to as “arena rock”), Lewis believes that an actual arena isn’t necessary for the music to be fully appreciated.
“It works on the small stage because at the end of the day it’s still about a band and an audience,” Lewis says. “Everyone loves it, whether they’re in a small bar or a 50,000 seat arena. The relationship between the band and the music they’re playing is pretty much the same.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Friday, March 28. The Pocket, 3102 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz. $8. 475-9819.