Distant Signals Rush Tribute
Interview with guitarist Mike Moscato
Dave Normile - Drums;Dave Smith - Lead Vocalist, Guitar, Pedals;Don Tomlinson - Keyboards, Pedals, Guitar, SFX;Matt Desantis - Bass;Mike Moscato - Lead Guitar
How long have you been in Distant Signals?
Mike MoscatoMight be 3 years now... Slightly over
Are you a founding member?
Mike MoscatoNo, Don Tomlinson is the founder.
Rush is a tough act to cover-- I'm guessing you're a big fan.
Mike MoscatoFunny thing...I was never a big fan until I was asked to audition. I only knew some of the hits, then I found out how utterly fantastic they were, and how tough it was to play! I never got into prog music much. I had to get up to speed quick. It was more of a challenge than I thought it would be.
What drew you to audition in the first place. I mean, I think most people think members of a tribute band are already fans..?
Mike MoscatoDon was in a cover band with me, and he said he was having trouble with his guitarist in Distant Signals, asked if I wanted to audition. I said what the heck, sure, I am looking for a challenge. Worked out pretty well after a bumpy ride initially (laughs). I was never good at following different time signatures.
Who are some of your influences as a player?
Mike MoscatoRitchie Blackmore is my absolute favorite. Neal Schon, Jeff Beck, Alex of course...John Sykes and George Lynch were big too. Maybe Randy Rhoads, lastly, Stevie Ray.
Besides the complexity of playing Rush, what is challenging about doing a tribute band?
Mike MoscatoNothing really...the music is already there for us to copy. I think since there are other good Rush tributes out there, coming up with something that sets you apart from the others has been important to us.
I'm interviewing the singer from Steel City Crue. They go all out with wigs, costumes, etc. Do you guys do that or is it strictly the music?
Mike Moscato3 of the members can play multiple instruments, so we have more versatility than most acts. We put kimonos on for one show, before we played 2112. No costumes for us.
Some folks look down there nose at cover bands. Is that something you've encountered?Mike MoscatoA little...I noticed that alot more when Scott Mervis asked the question about tributes a few weeks ago.
Rush has a strong fan base-- how is attendance when compared with say, a standard bar band? It's more of an event when you play, yes?
Mike MoscatoEvent with a theme, yes. We almost sold out the HRC here 2 times. Playing there again on Nov 14. We pack Brother's Lounge to capacity in Cleveland, twice now, and will do it again this Saturday. We also had success in Buffalo and The Falls. The Rush fans act like a big family
It seems like you guys are smart about playing in a wide area. So many bands burn themselves out playing locally.
Mike MoscatoWe only play 2 times per year here
How many gigs a year would you say you average?
Mike MoscatoWe may have done 12 last year? Possibly 10, try to do one per month, sometimes 2.
How's the pay?
Mike MoscatoPretty damn good sometimes. Biggest guarantee yet at the Hard Rock Rocksino in Cleveland, playing before Foghat in July.
Anything you'd like to add before I go?
Mike MoscatoWell, I just love to perform on stage. Cover bands and tributes are easier to fill a niche and play to more people. Honestly, I love the creative process of being original too, but had a much harder time finding the right people. I am truly enjoying the challenges of playing Rush music...the tribute naysayers should make better music, if they want better.gigs.