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Greg Vaughan: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Sitar, Vocals

Genre: Alternative, Covers | Standards, Rock

Sound description: Sounds a lot like REM. On a good night, anyway.

RIYL: REM

No shows scheduled | Post a show | View show history

Synoposis

Inception: San Diego, 2009

Influences: REM

Background:

There is no shortage of tribute bands in San Diego. However, only REM tribute Murmur was built by an agent around the looks of its front man, in this case North Park resident Greg Vaughan, who resembles Michael Stipe. This band debuted January 29, 2011, at the Belly Up.

Stipe doesn’t play an instrument in concert, while Vaughan, a 1988 Patrick Henry High School graduate, is known for his instrumental prowess. Having studied under Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth, Vaughan won the 2005 San Diego edition of Guitar Center’s Guitarmageddon competition and tours as sitarist with music and belly dance troupe Danyavad and the Shimmy Sisters. He also takes the part of a bat-winged guitar shredder in the Depeche Mode–themed Blasphemous Guitars.

Though Vaughan acknowledges his resemblance to Stipe, the idea originated with Brent Meyer, president of tribute-band agency Music Zirconia, which has offices in Pasadena, San Diego, and San Francisco. “[Meyer] wrote me a proposal outlining how much he needed a top-quality R.E.M. tribute and why he thought I would be perfect for the project,” Vaughan recalled. “The idea first occurred to him while watching me perform with gothic belly dance rock opera The Wizard. He figured anyone crazy enough to sing and dance at a gothic belly dance convention might be willing to impersonate Michael Stipe.”

There are several R.E.M. tribute groups scattered around the globe, but once Meyer laid eyes on Vaughan, he couldn’t resist starting one from scratch. “I’m always looking at musicians with a Machiavellian eye. As soon as I saw him, I thought, Oh, he’d be great,” Meyer remarked.

Vaughan has never seen R.E.M. live. “Obviously, I have to see them now. In the meantime, I have been devouring live DVDs and internet clips.”

Stipe is known for his political commentary during concerts, but Vaughan doesn’t think he’ll extend the accuracy in Murmur’s re-creation that far. “I do find his speech cadence fascinating,” Vaughan said. “I can see how some of my fans see a similarity in our personalities — more than the music.”

While Vaughan has never been mistaken for Stipe, he has been confused with another celeb. “Ironically, as Brent was composing the letter to me about being Michael Stipe, I was performing at the Wanderlust Festival on a bill with Moby,” says Vaughan. “So, that weekend was confusing because about a third of the fans who approached me thought I was Moby.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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