Got You Covered
by Jaclyn Killins
With this column Jaclyn begins her latest assignment—covering the Island’s popular cover bands. True weekend warriors, cover bands enterain thousands of people at club dates and dances every week, year-in year-out. Want to hear something you know? These bands know how to play it!
The parking lot of the Roadhouse in Cornwall is packed when I arrived on a Valentine Saturday night for my first venture into the world of cover bands. Entering, I can hear the music loud and crisp. With precision and energy the band is playing Pretty Vegas by INXS. I pay cover, and maneuver through the crowd to a table where I can survey the scene.
The dance floor is full of people dancing their middle-aged butts off. I’m feeling a bit young and a bit out of place and a voice in my head is sayings: “We ain’t at Baba’s anymore, Toto.”
On stage the band Davey Jones has a professional appearance, from the gear to the lights, to the ease with which they play.
The band consists of Davis Ward on guitar and vocals, Roger Jones on guitar and vocals, Jeff Wilson on bass, Jeff Barrow on keys and John Trenholm on drums. They were the Davis Ward band for about 5 years until Jones joined them a year ago and they morphed into Davey Jones, a band that plays everything “from Stompin’ Tom to Ozzy,” Ward said.
Back at my table, a few ladies sit down and we chat. I’d been making jokes earlier in the evening about embarking on an Anthropological study of Cougars, but I am polite and try not to stereotype. Of course I have to laugh when one of the ladies, a cute blond admittedly over 40, states that she doesn’t date anyone over half her age.
The talk shifts to music and another of the ladies, Angela Bryan of Cornwall, tells me she likes Davey Jones because they stay true to the songs. “They do their own thing but they are not trying to overdo what the artist already did,” she said.
Eventually I get up and dance and I quickly discover how unifying it can be when a band rocks out to a tune that everyone knows. Even an Indie music fan like me could appreciate the feeling of inclusion on the dance floor with everyone belting out lyrics and throwing arms around the shoulders of strangers. I’m not a fan of dancing but when the last few notes of Sweet Caroline play to end the night I feel I can go on for hours.
There is a formula to songs that get people dancing, Ward explains in an interview the next day. “140 beats a minute in the key of E,” he quotes a member of AC/DC. This formula, (Michael Jackson’s song Beat It for example) gets people dancing. “It’s called the white man shuffle,” Ward laughs, referring to the male standby of shimmying from one foot to the other.
Regardless of this formula people enjoy Davey Jones because they pull of a great show. “I love to entertain people,” Ward said. And this really is clear when Davey Jones is performing. Ward may not be the partier he once was when he was opening for David Wilcox and Ronnie Hawkins, but he can still rock.