© 2019 SIGNS OF LIFE: THE AMERICAN PINK FLOYD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEVE ZIEGELMEYER & BRIAN VOGEL

SIGNS OF LIFE DECLARED "BEST TRIBUTE BAND"

A TRIBUTE BAND'S WORK IS ADMITTEDLY MORE INTERPRETATIVE THAN CREATIVE, BUT DONE WELL IT CAN ALSO BE A LOT OF FUN. LONG-TIME GENRE VETERAN JON STANKORB'S CURRENT PROJECT, SIGNS OF LIFE, PAYS NEARLY PITCH PERFECT HOMAGE TO PINK FLOYD. IF YOU SQUINT A LITTLE, STANKORB LOOKS VAGUELY LIKE DAVID GILMOUR. MORE TO THE POINT: IF YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES (THOUGH WE DON'T RECOMMEND IT: YOU WOULD MISS THE SPECTACULAR LIGHT SHOW), YOUR EARS MIGHT TELL YOU THAT IT'S 1979.

AT FIRST, THE STAGE IS DARK. ALL IS QUIET. THEN THE SOUND OF THE BASS GUITAR PIERCES THE SILENCE AS A KALEIDOSCOPIC IMAGE SLOWLY COMES INTO FOCUS ON THE BACK OF THE STAGE. AS THE RANDOM ASSORTMENT OF COLORS AND SHAPES TWIRL AND DANCE ABOUT THE SCREEN, THE FAMILIAR INTRODUCTION OF PINK FLOYD’S “MONEY” CAPTIVATES THE AUDIENCE. LASERS FLASH, DRUMS ECHO OFF THE WALLS AND GUITARS SHRIEK IN A SYMPHONY OF SOUND. YOU CAN ALMOST TASTE IT.

 

“IT’S NOT JUST MUSIC, ITS A MULTIMEDIA EXPERIENCE” SAID JON STANKORB, LEAD VOCALIST AND GUITARIST OF SIGNS OF LIFE, A PINK FLOYD TRIBUTE BAND.

 

SIGNS OF LIFE SEEKS NOT TO JUST REPRODUCE THE SOUND OF PINK FLOYD, BUT THE ENTIRE BRITISH EXPERIENCE OF THE ORIGINAL ARTIST.

 

“IT’S NOT THE ROCK MENTALITY OF OTHER BANDS,” STANKORB SAID. “WE WANT TO RECREATE THE FLOW OF PINK FLOYD AND STAY AS CLOSE TO THEM AS POSSIBLE.”

 

THEY DON’T PLAY AT BARS. THEY DON’T SCREAM ON STAGE. THEY DON’T USE THE SAME VIDEOS OVER AND OVER. SIGNS OF LIFE DOESN’T WANT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO THEMSELVES, BUT TO THE MUSIC. STANKORB EXPLAINED THAT “WE ARE MORE AKIN TO THEATRE THAN A ROCK ‘N’ ROLL BAND.”

 

“WE WANT TO TAKE THE LISTENER FOR A JOURNEY,” HE SAID, “HAVE THEM LISTEN TO THE SONGS IN THEIR ENTIRETY AS THEY WERE INTENDED.”

“WHAT’S INTERESTING ABOUT THE MUSIC IS THE SPACE AND PACING, THE SONGS HAVE MORE ROOM TO BREATHE. THE MUSIC ISN’T TIED TO TIME, IT REFLECTS THE EXPERIENCES ONE GOES THROUGH IN LIFE. EVERY GENERATION TREATS PINK FLOYD AS THEIR OWN.”

EV: WHAT PROMPTED THE BAND TO DEDICATE YOUR SHOW TO PINK FLOYD?


SOL: BESIDES AN OBVIOUS LOVE FOR THE MUSIC, I PUT THE BAND TOGETHER WITH THE IDEA OF PRESENTING THE PINK FLOYD MATERIAL IN A DYNAMIC WAY UTILIZING THE AREAS FINEST MUSICIANS, WITH A REVERENCE FOR THE VISUAL AND SONIC QUALITY OF THE TYPICAL PINK FLOYD SHOW. I RESEARCHED MANY OF THE OTHER PINK FLOYD TRIBUTES AND WHILE I ENJOYED SOME, I FELT THAT THERE WAS STILL ROOM FOR ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE.


EV: WHAT DO YOU BRING TO THE SHOW THAT GIVES THE AUDIENCE THE TRUE FLOYD EXPERIENCE?


SOL: THE VOCAL AND INSTRUMENTAL ARRANGEMENTS HAVE BEEN CAREFULLY SCRUTINIZED FOR PERFORMANCE AUTHENTICITY... INCLUDING THE SPECIAL SOUND EFFECTS AND SPOKEN WORD ELEMENTS. WE COVER MULTIPLE GUITAR PARTS, INTRICATELY LAYERED VOCALS/KEYBOARD ARRANGEMENTS... PERFORMING THE SONGS WITH PASSION AND CLARITY WITHOUT “GRANDSTANDING.” OUR LIGHTING AND VIDEO TEAM ALSO PROVIDES A STRONG ELEMENT IN OUR SHOWS.


EV: CINCY HAS OUR FAIR SHARE OF FLOYD HEADS THAT’S FOR CERTAIN. FANS TREK ALL OVER TO SEE GREAT TRIBUTES. YOUR SHOWS ARE BOUND TO BE SUCCESSFUL, ARE YOU CONFIDENT THE 100’S OF FLOYD HEADS WILL FEEL LIKE THEY’RE IN CONCERT WITH THE REAL DEAL?


SOL: EACH PINK FLOYD TRIBUTE BAND HAS A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT ELEMENT TO THEIR SHOW. A SIGNS OF LIFE CONCERT FAITHFULLY RECREATES THE “SOUND & VISION” OF PINK FLOYD BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY STRIVES TO CONNECT ON AN EMOTIONAL LEVEL WHICH I PERSONALLY FEEL IS THE MOST COMPELLING. OUR AUDIENCES HAVE BEEN OVERWHELMINGLY LOVING AND VOCAL IN THEIR APPRECIATION AT OUR SHOW. THE EMOTION AND PASSION CERTAINLY COMES THROUGH EACH SHOW.

MICHAEL R. DUE

THE MUSICIANSHIP WAS TOP NOTCH, ALL THE WAY AROUND THE STAGE. WITH THREE GUITARISTS ON MANY OF THE TUNES, IT WAS POSSIBLE TO EMULATE THE OVERDUBED BRILLIANCE OF DAVID GILMOUR QUITE EFFECTIVELY. THE KEYBOARD PLAYER MANAGED TO TROT OUT A FEW CLASSIC ANALOG SYNTH PADS TO CONJURE UP THE MAGICAL RICHNESS OF THE LATE RICHARD WRIGHT. THE BASS DUTIES INCLUDED A CONVINCING "HEY YOU" RUN. THE DRUMMER HAD QUITE A LOUD, SOLID PRESENCE, WHICH FELT GOOD HAVING HIM UP IN THE MIX. AND THE SAX PLAYER WAS INCREDIBLE; WHILE HOLDING TO MANY OF THE FAMILIAR MELODIC LINES ON ORIGINAL RECORDINGS, HE MOSTLY SUPPLIED IMPROVISATIONAL SOLOS THAT ADDED FRESHNESS TO THESE CLASSIC TUNES WITHOUT VIOLATING THEM.

 

OF ALL OF THE MUSICIANS TO TAKE SOLOS, IT WAS JON HIMSELF WHO TOOK CENTER STAGE, BOTH LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY. NOT ONLY DID HE CAPTURE GILMOUR'S STYLE, NEARLY NOTE FOR NOTE ON MANY SONGS, HE ALSO HAD THE TONE. AND FOR FLOYD FANS, ANYTHING BUT THAT TRUE GILMOUR TONE WOULD HAVE BEEN UNACCEPTABLE. AND LIKE THE DRUMMER, JON WAS WELL UP IN THE MIX, LEAVING NOTHING TO THE IMAGINATION...IF HIS GUITAR PLAYING WERE A HUMAN VOICE, YOU'D HAVE BEEN ABLE TO HEAR HIM BREATHING.