About 10 years ago, an unexpected thing happened in music: the smooth and soft pop sounds of the 70s and 80s experienced a resurgence in popularity with a little help from the viral comedy web series, Yacht Rock. Around the same time, the tribute band Yacht Rock Revue began touring the country. It subsequently has gone on to become one of the most popular bands that specialize in covers of yesteryear.
YRR stands out from average tribute bands because there’s no focus on a single artist, but rather, the entire aforementioned genre. The members are also clothed as if they just walked out of a time machine from 1979. One of the band’s singers, Nicholas Niespodziani, spoke with me shortly before the Yacht Rock Revue is due to rock—albeit softly—Irving Plaza on Jan. 13.
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How would you say that the Yacht Rock Revue differs from your average tribute band?
Mainly, we differ in the number of people. We have seven. Most tribute bands have either four, six or 13 members. [Laughs] The number one way is that we’re a tribute to a genre rather than to a specific band. We’re the flagship of our genre. We probably play with more original artists than any cover band, ever.
It seems like this style of music just continues to increase in popularity.
The crazy thing is that when we started this band, it became our full-time job, and we started to try to brainstorm things we would do when the fad ran out. We assumed it would be a two or three-year thing. It’s still our job and we’re still doing it 10 years later…and it definitely seems to be getting more popular. We’re getting to play bigger and bigger venues, and get pickier and pickier about our green room demands.
What is your favorite song to perform?
The guys who did the Yacht Rock video series, who now do the Beyond Yacht Rock podcast, kind of challenged us on their podcast. They played “Heart to Heart,” and said, “This is something the Yacht Rock Revue could never do, because it has too much subtlety and too many dynamics for them to perform.” We took that as kind of a line in the sand and we stepped right across it. I’m pretty pleased with our version. I think Kenny Loggins would approve.
How would you describe the audience that comes to the shows?
I would describe them as enthusiastic, scantily-clad and well-lubricated.
The band has played at a variety of festivals and cruises. Which were the more memorable ones?
We just got to go to Greece, which was pretty cool. We played on a cruise ship anchored off of Santorini. As far as most interesting bill…for the Final Four, we opened up for Ludacris, Macklemore and Flo Rida, and Muse was later that night. There was like 30,000 people there and it was crazy.
Most recently, we did the Train cruise [Sail Across the Sun], and the Weezer cruise was awesome because Dinosaur Jr. was on there. We did the Star Trek cruise with William Shatner. We got to play “Pink Cadillac” with Joe Piscopo on the Star Trek cruise. No joke, Joe Piscopo comes in with this tuxedo and his New Jersey attitude during our soundcheck, and directs us through his version of “Pink Cadillac.”
We played on the Kiss Kruise a few years ago. We were in a Japanese restaurant on the cruise ship and they had all the windows blocked out. We came in, and everybody wanted our autograph, and we were like, “What’s going on?” And then 10 minutes after, Paul Stanley and [Kiss manager] Doc McGhee came in and sat at the other table. All the people that were asking for our autographs realized they got autographs from the wrong people.
What can fans expect at the upcoming show at Irving Plaza?
Man, Irving Plaza is probably in our top three venues in the country. That place is amazing. The energy is always just out of sight. We’ll start close to on time, and the music will not reflect the weather.