“Mark Cuban handpicked all the music for the television show. I found this out from Katie Daryl, the show’s host.” Vince Lupo of San Diego tribute band the Ultimate Stones checks in by phone to talk about their upcoming appearance on a new cable show called the World’s Greatest Tribute Bands, slated to air on AXS TV.
The series will air live every Monday night from the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles. “AXS TV is on a mission,” says their website, “to find the world’s greatest tribute bands of the most legendary rock stars of all time.”
“[Daryl] said, we wanted you guys to kick off the series.” The Ultimate Stones will appear March 11 at 8:00 p.m., which will actually be the second episode. “Britain’s Finest, a Beatles tribute,” Lupo says, “is on the first show.”
Cuban, a billionaire, started AXS last year with concert promoter/arena owner AEG, radio deejay Ryan Seacrest, and the Hollywood talent firm Creative Artists Agency. “And CBS bought a minority stake.” Lupo says the CBS connection will give AXS TV an edge in the airing of live concerts, such as the tribute-band series. “This is nationwide. The show will potentially be seen in 38 million homes. They are gearing AXS TV up to become the next MTV or VH1.”
A local booking agency that specializes in tribute acts called Music Zirconia brokered the deal that got the Ultimate Stones on the AXS TV producer’s radar. And the Zirconia connection, Lupo says, came about from a desire to have the Ultimate Stones working more gigs. “We signed with them in early December. And by mid-December, they’d presented the slot on AXS to us.”
The band’s compensation will come in the form of national exposure. “There will be a direct contact number on the television screen during our performance.” It has been a good year for the Ultimate Stones: “And we have that Stones 50th anniversary thing going. For us, it’s been like the perfect storm.”