Serious Guise

Dennis Gonzales: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric) | Mark Griffin: Electronics, Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Vocals | Wolfgang Hopka: Bass guitar, Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Vocals | Rick Williams: Drums, Vocals

Genre: Covers | Standards, Pop, Rock

Sound description: Never-ending KGB Skyshow circa 1986.

RIYL: Classic top-40 rock

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Inception: San Diego, 1986

Influences: Steppenwolf, Kansas, REO Speedwagon, Foghat, Greg Kihn Band, Savoy Brown, Blue Oyster Cult, Quiet Riot, the Edgar Winter Group, the Doobie Brothers, Foghat, Toto

Background:

Serious Guise is a Top-40 classic-rock cover band that plays all types of gigs, from Viejas and Barona casinos, street fairs, countless nightclubs in California and Nevada, corporate and private parties, weddings, and three trips to Japan in 2000 to play for the troops.

Singer/guitarist Mark Griffin recalls “One of the funniest things I remember was going through customs [in Japan], and you have these hard-nosed officials asking for an autographed photo. Seeing them running down the hall like school girls, waving it over their heads, totally made me feel like a rock star. Wolfgang was nearly deported back to Germany that day. I don’t remember why, but maybe that autographed picture had something to do with it.”

The current Serious Guise lineup has been around since 1996, but the band’s roots go back to 1986. Serious Guise includes founding guitarist Dennis Gonzales, Rick Williams on drums and vocals, guitarist-vocalist Mark Griffin, and Wolfgang Hopka on bass and guitar.

A perusal of their YouTube videos reveals muscular crowd-pleasers from the likes of .38 Special, Billy Idol, Godsmack, Metallica, and Buckcherry, performed with a creativity uncommon among cover-band musicians with a 40-hour-a-week day jobs.

The band does not play original music, althoug “We do our own version of some songs, which basically comes out to be like an original,” according to Gonzales.

Williams clarifies. “For the most part we like to stay in the spirit of the original, but when we do stray or run different songs together, the crowd reaction is very positive.”

Adds Griffin, “We take some songs and make them our own, especially if it’s a song that people might associate with being ‘tired.’ For instance, we’ll take ‘Funky Music’ and turn it into a medley of cool funk songs by bands like P-Funk, James Brown, or Stevie Wonder.”

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