I graduated from high school in 1986. Can you guess my favorite bands? Tears for Fears takes the top spot but in my top five was/is Duran Duran.
Did you know that NoHo has it’s very own…well not ours anymore…but still loyal…DD cover band? Their name is RIO and I bet they dance on the sand.
Imagine my smile when the band contacted me to tell me that they are returning to North Hollywood for a show at The Federal Bar this Saturday July 11th at 8PM.
Who the heck are these talented fools anyway? Check this out. They’ll tell you.
The band members are…
Jason “Jake” Jacobs is Simon LeBon
Gil Barron is John Taylor
Chadwick Steinmetz is Andy Taylor
Danny Alfaro is Roger Taylor
and Curt Clendenin is Nick Rhodes
I cannot wait to put on my leggings and hop on over to the Fed, order a Sex on the Beach and check them out. Meanwhile, I had a chance to sit down with the guys and get some inside info.
How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
Gil Barron: I have known the guys for as long as seven years. I met Jake (Simon LeBon) first through an ad seeking a singer.
Jake Jacobs (Simon LeBon): Since 1978 and we met in Birmingham England at the Rumrunner 😃
Curt Clendenin: I met Jake Jacobs (Simon LeBon) in 2000, soon after moving to North Hollywood from Chicago. He and his roommate George were my next door neighbours. Their band, Pretty Sneaky Sis, featured Danny Alfaro on drums, who plays as Roger Taylor in RIO. I met Gil, the founder of the band, in 2012, when I joined.
Did you start out playing together as a tribute band?
Gil: Yes, though we prefer ‘tribute band’.
Editors note: I changed it from ‘cover band’ because the talent is moody!
Jake: No, went straight at it
Curt: When I was still living next to Jake and George, I concocted an album of songs for Christmas, using a 4track analogue recorder. They performed a fantastic rendition of “Baby Please Come Home,” on it, which I’ve always been grateful for. Aside from that, RIO is the only music project I’ve collaborated on with members of RIO. I am open to more.
Aside from what is on your website, what is the story of RIO’s formation. How did you come together?
Gil: I have always been a fan and responded to an ad in 2007. (We Came together) through an ad and through Jake’s contacts.
Jake: I was in an acting class in Hollywood with a vintage Duran Duran shirt on and a guy told me about a tribute act out of San Diego. I drove quickly.
Curt: Jake called me up one day and said “RIO is playing at the Orange County Fairgrounds for New Year’s Eve 2012, do you want to sit in as Nick Rhodes?”
How did each of you choose who you would portray? Merely by talent or did some of you have a strong preference?
Gil: John Taylor was the reason I picked up a bass in 1983.
Jake: Pure talent. 😳
Curt: Before I joined, the rest of the fellas already had their characters picked out. Once Dina became our Manager, she Nicknamed me, “Click”. This references my frequent photo-ops during performances, as well as the sound of the tap shoes I sometimes wear into the audience afterwards.
What DD songs, that you perform, are each band members favorite and why?
Gil: My favorite is Save A Prayer because it is a very emotional song in itself with an interesting bass line.
Note from Tatyanna: Oh my! This is my favorite for the same reasons. *swoon*
Jake: Careless Memories because it rocks the hardest
Curt: I get a big kick out of “Reflex”, and making new noises when Simon brings the mic over to me.
Tell us about some of the embarassing, funny or amazing experiences you have had as a tribute band:
Gil: Embarrassing: being pulled to the floor by a drunk girl onstage; Funny: a woman whispering in my ear “I’m horny”; Amazing: seeing people of all ages singing along.
Jake: We played a huge show at the Dallas Texas house of blues and when the curtain opened I saw a ton of Duranies standing with their arms folded and just staring expression less. We got them quickly to smile and enjoy.
Curt: I am continually amazed by “The RIOWorld” community growing. Duranies we meet from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc… show up and become friends. They share their Duran Duran stories and experiences with one another. I dig seeing them connect on the social networks.
Here’s a fun story…Jake and I dressed as Simon and Nick and went to John Taylor’s book signing at Cinespace. We were armed with postcards to promote the upcoming RIO show at the time, and intended to shanghai John Taylor with a bunch. The security guard pointed out to us, the only door that John could possibly exit. While waiting, we connected with a lot of great Duranies (many who continue to commune at our 80s time travel experiences). All of a sudden John came out the door in a flurry of excitement. We approached him, insisting that we’ve known each other for over 30 years and gave him a handful of postcards. 10 minutes after that, it was reported on the news that cops pulled him over for driving through a red light in Beverly Hills.
What is unique about this upcoming show at the Federal Bar on saturday?
Gil: A new member.
Jake: We very rarely play in Los Angeles plus the Federal is an amazing venue!
Curt: This is our second time in almost a year, playing at The Federal Bar in the NoHo Arts District. We usually play out in Orange County areas, so this is a great relief for those friends of ours who’ve been asking us about playing more in Los Angeles. It looks like its going to be packed!
What has been your biggest challenge as a tribute band?
Gil: Getting Duranies to accept a tribute band.
Jake: We are not a variety act it’s all Duran Duran so that can be difficult at times to book some places.
Curt: Getting booked at more casinos. We’d love to play more casinos.
How do you wives/partners feel about your Rio adventures. Are they involved at all?
Jake: Supportive of course!
Curt: My friends and family support our endeavours and my Mom in Chicago definitely wants us to play out there sometime. The great news is, my friends like Duran Duran.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge for offering support?
Gil: Our manager, Dina.
Jake: James Elliott and Dina Kourda, our cheerleaders.
Curt: Thank you to my Mom and Dad and family for perpetually encouraging me to follow my passions and explore my talents. Thank you Dina for all the great work you’re doing in getting us booked and forming new contacts. Thank you to James Elliott for cooperating with Dina. Thank you to our friends who sing and dance alongside us as we channel Duran Duran.
Outside of Rio, what are some of the band members passions in the world ie: crocheting or like feeding the homeless:
Gil: I enjoy crocheting the homeless.
Jake: I personally dj for a living and I’m considering gardening.
Curt: A movie I acted in, “Bloody Bobby,” is currently in post-production and ought to be finished in a month. Another movie I am in development on, “Diablo Steel,” will begin shooting at the end of this year. I’ve recently begun a semi-periodic radio show called “Inspirado Projecto Radio” on KCHUNG 1630AM in Chinatown. You can also hear me co-host the only podcast in the world about Andy Kaufman faking his death, called KaufCast Podcast.
Thanks guys! See you tomorrow!
Want to see a behind the scenes look at the band? Grab some iced tea and enjoy.
You can find RIO on social media:
The boys are playing two sets for a fun night of Duran Duran hits and deep cuts.
Date: Saturday July 11, 2015 08:00 PM
Place: The Federal Bar
Attire: Please wear clothing! Thank you!