A Bensalem-based six-piece cover band—Stealin' the Covers—will make its debut this Saturday in nearby New Hope.
The band is mostly a group of friends, according to lead vocalist Vic Monaco, and because of that they're having a lot of fun.
"We've had the most fun rehearsing than any of us have had in a long time," he said.
Stealin' the Covers is Monaco, who also plays rhythm guitar; lead vocalist Donna Davis; John Daly who plays lead guitar and sings; Grammy winner Pat Robinson on keys, guitar and vocals; drummer Dan Nace and bassist and vocalist Michael Klakowicz.
"There's only one person I didn't know... Michael [the bassist]," Monaco said. "And he is just a dream to deal with. All of these people are top-notch musicians."
Monaco and Davis have been in three projects together in the past. He's played music and known most of the other guys for years, he said. And Daly and him are cousins, but haven't played together in an official project until now.
"The fact that I'm getting to play with my cousin, John, is kind of remarkable," he said. "We took lessons from the same guy growing up, but John was a prodigy and I just wanted to play baseball. We would play together at family gatherings, but I would dread it because he was so much better than me."
But now that they're older they are having a great time, he said. Additionally, Stealin' the Covers is an opportunity for his cousin to play music he doesn't get to play in his many other projects. The band is trying to be different by playing tunes that not every band covers.
Not your Average Cover Band
"We don't want to be the band who plays the same thing as everyone else," Monaco said.
Of course they play the Beatles, but they play some more obscure songs by Queen and Van Halen, too, he said. They also throw in a little rockabilly, and even cover more popular hits like "Everybody Talks" by the Neon Trees.
There focus is to play rock and roll, with a little a bit of country, and to just get people on their feet.
"Our goal is to always try and keep people dancing," Monaco said.
Their first show will be at Triumph Brewery in New Hope on Saturday, Feb. 2. It's an early show, so Monaco said people might not be into dancing, but to get the crowd involved the band will be open to taking requests.
"Because some of the people in the [band] are music encyclopedias... they've played every pop song since the 1960's... so most likely we'll know the song," he said.
In addition to being able to play pretty much any song, Monaco said the fact that Stealin' the Covers has five vocalists makes them a bit different than other cover bands.
"Having five vocalists is really exciting to me," he said. "Everybody [except the drummer] takes turns singing."
And not only harmonies. Everyone will take turns singing leads, he said.
"If someone does not like my voice, they might not like the band," Monaco said. "But with this many singers, their bound to like a few of the [vocalists.]"
Returning to Garage Band Roots
When the band was just an idea, Monaco hoped to start a new project with friends and people he trusted and respected, hoping that would be more enjoyable.
"Trust is the only reason this is working. If you don't trust people its tougher," he said.
The band started rehearsing back in October or November of 2012, practicing at Monaco's Bensalem home. He knocked out a wall in his garage to make a practice space.
Playing music with friends is an opportunity to return to garage band roots from when the members were teenagers.
"When we were teenagers, the people who got together in bands were buddies and friends," he said. "And I missed that terribly."
Monaco said that he really wanted to get back to having friends and people he trusted in the room with him, "and that's what you do as teens."
"It's not so much a business. It's fun," he said. "Once it stops being fun, then most of us will probably stop playing."
Since many of the members of Stealin' the Covers are in other projects, or have other jobs, they aren't trying to play out every night or even every weekend.
"The plan is to have two gigs a month," Monaco said. "So far, we are going to be able to do that."
The band's debut show will be Saturday, Feb. 2 at Triumph Brewery, located at 400 Union Square in New Hope. They'll play from 2 to 5 p.m., and there's no cover charge.
Then they'll start preparing for a show closer to home at Kenny's Spirited Eatery in Upper Southampton on Feb. 23, and they already have shows lined up for March and May.