Inspired by watching his friends tribute band, The HOO, perform Who songs, John Cuniberti decided, after 25 years behind the glass as a recording engineer that he wanted to return to what had led him into the sound engineering business in the first place, playing in a band. Not interested in the songwriting, business or promotional aspects required to launch an original act, building a British Invasion era tribute band like The HOO seemed better suited to the task at hand. Not one of those Vegas impersonator acts but a band of highly skilled and passionate musicians, playing the hell out of the songs as they might have been played by the original bands in the nightclubs of England. They were loose, high energy and having fun!
Looking back at his early influences, John looked towards one of his favorite bands The Yardbirds for inspiration. Always considered one of the best and most respected of the British Invasion bands, The Yardbirds unique combination of inspired musicianship and experimental genius fit the bill perfectly. From British renditions of Mississippi blues songs with a young Eric Clapton, to the edge of psychedelia with an unbridled Jeff Beck and a broodish Jimmy Page, The Yardbirds changed the early rock landscape then as it does today. A tribute to The Yardbirds not only presented the challenge of creating accurate renditions of the recorded Yardbirds songs, their free-flowing and open jams called “RAVES”, but also recreating the sonic environment and spirit of the time.
Now inspired, John put a call into one of the best musicians he knew, Chris Solberg. He sold him on the idea in about 5 seconds. Ironically, the first time John met Chris was around 1969 at a gig where he was playing Jeff Beck covers note for note. Chris’s talents were not unnoticed by others and over the next 20 years he composed, recorded and toured with artist such as Santana, Eddie Money and Chris Isaak. Chris also suggested two long time friends and dedicated musicians, bass player Kit Newkirk and singer/harmonica player David Seabury. Finding a rhythm guitar proved more difficult but was worth the effort when Solberg reconnected with Bob Lewis.
With a band now in place, we all poured over recordings, videos and books dissecting the songs, feels, instrumental parts, equipment, clothes, sights and sounds…everything we could,…to dig into the heart and soul of The Yardbirds. For the next six months we studied and practiced over twenty of the songs that were The Yardbirds best known material. Sounding like a ‘bar band’ doing Yardbirds covers was not the goal! What The RaveUps do is re-create the sound and feel of The Yardbirds in the most detail we can. Playing accurate renditions of the recorded versions of Yardbirds songs is what The RaveUps are all about. Our name is derived from one of the most famous Yardbirds albums “Having A Rave Up With The Yardbirds”.
As it turns out keeping the bar high is never-ending. The quest for accuracy in terms of songs, parts, feel and attitude is an ongoing process that we all embrace and appreciate. The more we know about The Yardbirds the more detail we hear and implement. And in the end it has become more about the journey we share and not as much about the goal or an end. Have a look and listen…The RaveUps hope you like what you find.