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

Tribute to a Vibe

Instead of a single artist BETAMAXX pays tribute to an entire decade, in this case, the '80s. On a sunny Friday afternoon in summer, three of the members explain.

"Our competitors call us an '80s tribute band," says guitarist Eric Valenzuela.

"We're not trying to duplicate any particular band," bassist Andy McRory says, "or even a genre like big hair metal."

So what does BETAMAXX , one of the nominees for Best Tribute Band at this year's SDMA awards actually have on their set lists?

"We're like a Top 40 cover band from 1989." That's Kirk Howe, the band's singer. "We have an '80s look with an updated feel. The whole premise of the band is to do 80's danceable music and not just the top 20 hits," he says, "but the deep cuts. Familiar stuff that people will say they haven't heard in a long time."

"Or, anthem-style tunes," Valenzuela says. "Those are songs that are typically not danceable, but they strike a chord with a listener."

An example of an un-danceable anthem? "Don't Stop Believin' by Journey."

McRory: "It's about the opening chords," he says, "the ones that really get a reaction."

Howe: "Our audiences are people in their 50s, tourists, all the way down to guys in their 20s on leave from the Navy. They'll hear the first three notes of "Sweet Child of Mine" and the dance floor will fill up. It's like throwing a switch."

Valenzuela: "It's interesting to see the 20-somethings on the dance floors that know the words to every single song we play, says Valenzuela, even though they were not popular in their day."

It turns out that four of the band members, Valenzuela, Howe, McRory, and keyboardist Hans Becker all went to the same Serra Mesa church, St. Columba Parish. "We've known each other for 20 years," says McRory. But BETAMAXX the band actually started three years ago at a 40th birthday party jam. "We all knew '80s songs," says Howe, "and it went pretty well. We decided to start a tribute band."

Like the Disco Pimps? "No," says Valenzuela. "Their thing is '70s."

Other BETAMAXX members include vocalist Breanne Arrigo-Reilly, Tim Breech on drums, and guitarist Wayne Duncan. The band books Jimmy Loves in the Gaslamp, various local area casino gigs, Humphrey's Backstage, and corporate events and private parties. The seven-person lineup demands a higher asking price but, Valenzuela thinks, the additional membership gives the band a distinct advantage.

"It allows us to replicate a lot of songs without using backing tracks like a lot of '80s bands do. We've never used them." The Disco Pimps, he says, do.

"What you're hearing in BETAMAXX," says Howe, "is being played on the stage by someone." Certain sounds, he admits, can be difficult to recreate. "Like Depeche Mode songs. They're all keyboards." But he says the extra effort is worth it. "We're giving it to them live, like it used to be."

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Einstein Come Through, David Cook at Ocean Way Studios

Events May 15-May 19, 2021
Next Article

The Conservation Game: The real Tiger King

Should have the same detrimental impact on celebrity animal handlers that The Cove and Blackfish did on SeaWorld

Instead of a single artist BETAMAXX pays tribute to an entire decade, in this case, the '80s. On a sunny Friday afternoon in summer, three of the members explain.

"Our competitors call us an '80s tribute band," says guitarist Eric Valenzuela.

"We're not trying to duplicate any particular band," bassist Andy McRory says, "or even a genre like big hair metal."

So what does BETAMAXX , one of the nominees for Best Tribute Band at this year's SDMA awards actually have on their set lists?

"We're like a Top 40 cover band from 1989." That's Kirk Howe, the band's singer. "We have an '80s look with an updated feel. The whole premise of the band is to do 80's danceable music and not just the top 20 hits," he says, "but the deep cuts. Familiar stuff that people will say they haven't heard in a long time."

"Or, anthem-style tunes," Valenzuela says. "Those are songs that are typically not danceable, but they strike a chord with a listener."

An example of an un-danceable anthem? "Don't Stop Believin' by Journey."

McRory: "It's about the opening chords," he says, "the ones that really get a reaction."

Howe: "Our audiences are people in their 50s, tourists, all the way down to guys in their 20s on leave from the Navy. They'll hear the first three notes of "Sweet Child of Mine" and the dance floor will fill up. It's like throwing a switch."

Valenzuela: "It's interesting to see the 20-somethings on the dance floors that know the words to every single song we play, says Valenzuela, even though they were not popular in their day."

It turns out that four of the band members, Valenzuela, Howe, McRory, and keyboardist Hans Becker all went to the same Serra Mesa church, St. Columba Parish. "We've known each other for 20 years," says McRory. But BETAMAXX the band actually started three years ago at a 40th birthday party jam. "We all knew '80s songs," says Howe, "and it went pretty well. We decided to start a tribute band."

Like the Disco Pimps? "No," says Valenzuela. "Their thing is '70s."

Other BETAMAXX members include vocalist Breanne Arrigo-Reilly, Tim Breech on drums, and guitarist Wayne Duncan. The band books Jimmy Loves in the Gaslamp, various local area casino gigs, Humphrey's Backstage, and corporate events and private parties. The seven-person lineup demands a higher asking price but, Valenzuela thinks, the additional membership gives the band a distinct advantage.

"It allows us to replicate a lot of songs without using backing tracks like a lot of '80s bands do. We've never used them." The Disco Pimps, he says, do.

"What you're hearing in BETAMAXX," says Howe, "is being played on the stage by someone." Certain sounds, he admits, can be difficult to recreate. "Like Depeche Mode songs. They're all keyboards." But he says the extra effort is worth it. "We're giving it to them live, like it used to be."

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close