Cover Christmas:
Featuring Members of Zepparella, The Killer Queens, and I Don't Know - An Ozzy Tribute?
Holly West - Bassist in Zepparella

Rockin’ Interviews - How did you get your start in music?

Holly West - “Ever since I was little, I wanted to play something. In elementary school I started playing clarinet and in middle school I started playing guitar but I didn’t really get it at first. I had some pretty good instructors but I just didn’t understand it. Then I picked it back up at 27.”

R.I.- What was the first cover band you were in?

H.W. - “I wasn’t playing covers with my first band. I started playing covers and originals with my second band and then I branched out to playing 5 nights a week with a guitar player in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Then I got into a 3 piece and we played at big casinos. I just started playing with more and more people.”

R.I.- What is your favorite part of being in a tribute band?

H.W. - “The fact that it makes me a better player by playing somebody else’s catalogue. You can play a bunch of songs that are very safe to play but if you’re not branching out, you’re not doing enough for yourself creatively. Being able to learn one specific, really awesome bassist’s parts is really important and I think I’ve grown as a musician.”

R.I.- What is your favorite Led Zeppelin song?

H.W. - “It’s really hard to say because there are so many good ones. I think my favorite ones to play are ‘The Rover’ and ‘Lemon Song’, they're just a lot of fun.”

R.I.- Why do you think people dislike the idea of tribute bands?

H.W. - “I think they stop at thinking a tribute artists isn’t going to do much else, but if you look at a symphony, they’re playing other people’s music. If you look at hired guns, they’re playing other people’s music. I think most people think that it’s all you’ve got and the joke’s on them because it actually makes you a better player in the end. If they were to tell me to stop playing in a tribute or  band, I would tell them to stop symphonies and operas.”

R.I.- Because this is “Cover Christmas” I want to know what your plans are this holiday season?

H.W. - “I don’t really celebrate a lot of anything, I think I celebrate on a daily basis. So my favorite part of the holidays is when they’re over and to bring on the new year because I like new beginnings.”


 

Brandon Parrigin - Guitarist in I Don't Know - An Ozzy Tribute?

Rockin’ Interviews - How did you get your start in music?

Brandon Parrigin - “My father plays guitar, so he started me off with the basics. It wasn’t until we were in Best Buy when Guitar Hero came out and I heard War Pigs by Black Sabbath the interest really began.”

R.I. - How has Randy Rhoads affected you and your playing?

B.P. - “Randy Rhoads has been my idol since the very beginning of my musical career. ‘Paranoid’ was the first song I learned how to play and it was because of Randy’s version off of the Tribute album. His combination of heavy metal and neo-classical was something truly unique that I have always admired and attempt to mimic in my own style.”

R.I. - If Randy were still alive, what do you think he would be like nowadays?

B.P. - “I would like to say that Randy would still be playing heavy metal, but I have heard stories that Randy was actually thinking of leaving Ozzy’s band after the Diary of a Madman tour to pursue classical guitar. I know how much Randy loved classical guitar, so I could see that as a very strong possibility if he were still alive today.”

R.I. - What was the first cover band you were in?

B.P. - “When I was 16 I had a band called R.I.P. (Rock In Peace). We would play a variety of 80’s heavy metal. Some artists we covered were Ozzy, Dio, Van Halen, Avenged Sevenfold, and others from that era.”

R.I. - What is your favorite part of being in a tribute band?

B.P. - “I really like doing the Ozzy Osbourne tribute because it allows me to really focus on recreating the persona for the specific artist. With the songs we do we span through 3 eras of guitar players: Randy, Jake (E. Lee) and Zakk (Wylde). Not playing the music from a wide variety of artists allows me to really dial in on critical aspects of each guitarist, like their tone, picking styles and mannerisms.”

R.I. - What is your favorite Ozzy Osbourne song?

B.P. - “There are so many good ones, it’s really really hard to choose. My favorite Randy era song is ‘Diary of a Madman’. His combination of Randy’s neo-classical and heavy metal approach in that song is just perfect, and combined with the lyrics of the song still gives me goosebumps to this day. My favorite Jake era song is probably ‘Killer of Giants’. I really like the clean pick in the intro that Jake does. For the Zakk era, I’d have to say ‘Miracle Man’. That song just has so much energy and drive, and his intro to the solo is just amazing.”

R.I. - Why do you think some people dislike the idea of tribute bands?

B.P. - “I can understand people’s dislike for tribute bands because it’s just copying the work of someone else. Being in a tribute band, it doesn’t allow for much (if any) of the musician’s own ideas or creativity because their job is to mimic the artist they are paying tribute to. With that being said, I do think that tribute bands are also a “gift” for their audiences because, when done well, they allow the people to be able to experience or re-live seeing a band/artist that may not be around anymore, or might not be able to deliver the same show that they could twenty years ago.”

R.I. - Because this is called “Cover Christmas”, I want to know what your favorite part about the holidays?

B.P. - “I’d have to say it’s just the general feeling of family that tends to come with the season. Everybody is coming together to be able to share time together, it’s something that is truly unique to this time of year.”


 

Emily Ruvidich - Guitarist in The Killer Queens

Rockin’ Interviews - How did you get your start in music?

Emily Ruvidich - “I started with classical piano in first grade. My grandparents were very musical. My grandma played piano and my grandpa played banjo and harmonica. My parents really wanted me to play an instrument so in first grade they forced me to play piano and I hated it for the longest time. They would bribe me to practice: every 10 minutes I would practice, I’d get an M&M. I started loving it from there. Then I wasn’t allowed to play until I finished my chores. I went from classical piano to flute to bass and guitar.”

R.I. - What was the first cover band you were in?

E.R. -”I was in a couple little bands when I was in North Carolina when I was there. Then one was an all-girl AC/DC tribute band and then I was in a Motley Crue, Poison, and Ozzy tribute band. It was a lot of fun getting to play all my favorite band’s music.”

R.I. - What is your favorite part of being in a tribute band?

E.R. - “I think my favorite part is watching myself growing as a player because I have to learn everything note for note. Especially with my Queen tribute band, when I was learning all the songs for that. Brian May is such a phenomenal guitarist and all the songs were just above my level. I put so much time into them and I love seeing how I evolve as a player having to learn everything note for note. I get to learn other people’s style and the tricks they use.”

R.I. - What is your favorite Queen song?

E.R. - “My favorite Queen song to play is ‘Hammer To Fall’. But my favorite one to play with crowd interaction is ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ because as soon as we start it, every freaks out. Sometimes the crowd will be singing so loud and they’ll go into the wrong part and we have to follow them because they’re so loud. That’s happened with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’. Queen has so many really fun songs to play. Brian May is such an amazing guitar player and he has so many technical parts to play. It’s thoroughly enjoyable.”

R.I. - Why do you think some people dislike the idea of tribute bands?

E.R. - “I honestly have never gotten that. I wonder that a lot. I really don’t know why. I guess people think that we aren’t doing as much work as an original band which is not the case. That’s the only thing I could think of. I wonder that too but whatever floats your boat. I think to do a tribute band, you have to be spot on. I can totally get if I paid money to see a tribute band, I want to see the songs how they’re supposed to be originally played. Some people don’t stay true to the original.”

R.I. -Because this is “Cover Christmas”, I want to know what is your favorite part about the holidays?

E.R. - “My favorite part is the cold weather. I’m a polar bear, even though it doesn’t get that cold in L.A. I just like to have a nice break. I love to spend time with my family because that’s really the only time I get to see them the whole year. I really like the time off with my parents and my sister.”


 

© 2020 by Shannon Wilk.

Located in Connecticut, USA
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