“Party on, Wayne.” “Party on, Garth.” With that simple exchange, two cinematic icons of the’90s inspired a generation to navigate life’s ups and downs with a relentless ambition to rock hard. But even the most committed revelers can hit a wall — which is why we asked some of San Francisco’s top party-starters to offer their tricks of the trade. That’s right, these pros are the ultimate experts in maximizing merriment and keeping the good times going: They are the men and women behind your favorite cover bands, and know a thing or two (or 12) about sustaining the celebratory vibe with a crowd-pleasing playlist all night long and beyond.
Tainted Love: “It’s all about the music — as in the greatest era of pop music ever,” says Tainted Love singer Alex Pels (bottom right, blue scarf). “We just got lucky; we chose the ’80s and stuck to it, because there is literally something for everyone, ages nine to 99. Believe it or not, we discover new great songs from the era all the time. We just play them really well, and celebrate with each other onstage. When you do that, the audience usually wants to celebrate with you.” And never underestimate the power of social lubrication. The key to sustaining a party vibe, according to the band’s keyboardist, Steve Moon (center, white shirt): “Plenty of easily available booze.”
The Illeagles: “We strive on keeping the songs as true to form as possible, allowing an audience to sing along with all these memorable hits one after another,” says bass player Joey DiBono (far right) of the North Bay-based Eagles tribute band. “Yet we add a little of our own flavor to them also, putting the Illeagle stamp on it. The way our set ebbs and flows is crucial and well-thought-out to keep the audience engaged, as evidenced from our live shows where no one leaves until it’s over.”
Super Diamond: Better known by his alter ego, Surreal Neil, Super Diamond frontman Randy Cordeiro (center) has plenty of wisdom for wouldbe party-starters. “Never separate yourself from the audience. I get into the trenches by getting to know them. Drink and party with the fans. After all, I’m just like them. We’re all fans of the music, the fashions and the times!” Also a top priority? Time for some self-focused TLC. “Take care of yourself,” he says. “Staying youthful is key for any entertainer’s longevity. Working out, exercise and yoga are part of my daily routine. Stay positive. Always look for the good side. Bitching and complaining just isn’t fun.”
Petty Theft: “The key thing for us has always been just to have fun and enjoy and appreciate every show that we do,” says Monroe Grisman (third from right), vocalist and guitarist for Petty Theft, which pays tribute to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. “If we stick to that, then we’re guaranteed to have a really great time and everyone else too. That’s why we like to call our shows ‘Petty Parties’ as we celebrate the music of Tom Petty together with the audience and share our mutual love of the songs together. That’s why we never get tired of it and have kept it going for the past 15 years.”