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Bob Levine talks with Joe Pascarell, front man for The Machine, a Pink Floyd tribute band

Bob Levine is a volunteer usher at The Tarrytown Music Hall.

The Machine played the Tarrytown Music Hall recently.

When I asked have they ever played the Music Hall before, Joe Pascarell gave a resounding yes. Eight times.

They love it because it’s a local gig. He lives in Nyack and lived in Tarrytown briefly when he was very young. For them, that’s what stands out about the Music Hall. Other local theaters like the Music Hall are the typical venue for “The Machine”, but they have also played at larger summer venues like Bonnaroo.

At first, starting a tribute band was not a conscious decision. He began to feel this was a way to take the music more seriously. Pascarell did not want to just play music as a “weekend thing.” There were not a lot of tributes bands back in the late '80s when they started. Obviously he loves Pink Floyd and was playing their music anyway. He loves how developed, emotional and, yes, at times long their songs are. He never gets tired of playing them. He was then told by an agent they could get more gigs as a Pink Floyd Tribute Band. Their name “The Machine” was chosen because using the name of an album or song title is a great marketing tool.

I have seen my share of tribute bands. Mostly at the Music Hall and most have been great. But I have always wondered are there rules or “rules of thumb” they have to live by? Mostly getting copywrite, permission, or at least the blessing of the band they are paying tribute to, and is it worthwhile to create tributes of bands that are still active?

Joe said you do not need to get permission or legal clearance to play anyone else’s music live. Anybody can do that. They did have to get copywrite permission when they released an album of their performance. As far has getting Pink Floyd’s “blessing”? They do have a positive quote from one of Pink Floyd’s producers on their website, but Joe feels Pink Floyd probably does not pay much attention to what they are doing.

He said when former Pink Floyd front man Rodger Waters toured this past year and played at Yankee Stadium, it did affect them from a marketing perspective.

As a lifelong lover of the Beatles, I have seen numerous Beatle tribute bands that all have one thing in common. They make a concentered effort to look, not just play like them. Every hair and beard length is almost an exact replica. Not with The Machine. Joe said he will probably wear the some clothes on stage tonight that he is wearing right now. It is not about that and he has never intended to do that. This does not consume his whole life. He just loves playing the music and playing it well.

Like many artists that play the Music Hall, Joe has been doing this a long time. He will be leaving the band after 25 years. He is not tired of the music, but the travel, the business aspects and many of the day to day hassles that artists, say, such as U2 don’t have to worry about. Although he feels very fortunate to be
doing this, he feels performing is not why you get paid. It’s 5 percent of what you  do. It’s all the other issues that get very tiring.

For information on upcoming shows at the Tarrytown Music Hall click here.

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joy November 07, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Interesting, as is the comparision to the Beatles tribute bands.
Bob Levine November 07, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Thanks Joy.
hardwired7 November 12, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I saw The Machine way back in the mid-'90s in Albany. It was a great show. It's cool to hear that they're still together and rocking.
CRAIG November 12, 2012 at 06:41 PM
The Machine is good. If you want GREAT go see: "Australian Pink Floyd". They are unbelievable, I have seen the Machine 2x and Aust PF 3X, just as a frame of reference
Bob Levine November 12, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Good reference Craig.
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