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Red Headed Stranger

RIYL

Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson

Inception

San Diego , 2011

Influences

Willie Nelson
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Lovingly paying homage to living legend Willie Nelson, Red Headed Stranger is fronted by Nelson
look-a-like/sound-a-like Red Shepherd. Drummer Dave “D.B.” Madden formerly spent over two decades playing with Wild Child.

"Red and I started this a little while ago," says Madden, who bears more than a passing resemblance to 1980s rock guitar god Pat Travers. He answered a Craigslist ad when Shepherd was looking to start something up.

"A big red flag," says Madden. "He didn't post a picture." He explains that in order to make it as a tribute band, the lead has to look and sound like the original. "You gotta be a dead ringer."

Red Shepherd, from Vista, is a part-time rocker and country musician who looks like a Willie with no hair (in performance, he wears a wig braided by his wife).

"My dad actually looks more like Willie than I do," Shepherd says. "He introduced me to country." Shepherd played in rock cover bands as a teen and in some original-music bands "that never went anywhere."

The tribute approach has been gravy for Madden, who played in one long before tribute bands were in vogue. He agrees that the genre has soared in popularity. "Especially the ones you can't see anymore." But even when founding members are still alive and working together a concert ticket price can be prohibitive. "A couple hundred bucks to see the originals? It's cheaper to see the next best thing [meaning, a tribute] and, they may even be better." He laughs.

San Diego is fertile ground for tribute bands. Consider Back 2 Black (AC/DC,) the Red Not Chili Peppers, King Kruk (Elvis,) Dwight Lightning (Dwight Yoakam,) OU812 (Hagar era Van Halen,) and more, all veterans of traditional and cover bands who decided that as a career move, the tribute dollar is the strongest. As rock and roll ages into the golden years of retirement and its fans and its founders become bona fide elders, all bets are off.

"Some of the vintage acts out there are really tribute bands," Shepherd says, "because they only have one original member."

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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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