Of all the bands in the history of rock music, what would compel Brent Burke to form a Dave Matthews Band tribute band?
“First of all, I’ve always loved their music,” the Keller native says. “They have such a wide range of songs. The music is fun and challenging to play.
“But also, I realized awhile back that I can kind of sing like Dave Matthews. That’s an important part of it. Because if I sang like Robert Plant, I would be in a Led Zeppelin band.”
Ah, but the world already has plenty of Zeppelin bands. There are plenty of Beatles, Rolling Stones and Kiss tribute acts, as well. But Dave Matthews Band — that’s a little bit outside of the norm.
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The AXS TV series, in its eighth season, gives a national stage to great tribute acts in all genres, from Dolly Parton to the Allman Brothers, from Metallica to Queen. This season, Warehouse is one of 10 groups selected to perform live from historic Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood.
The hourlong concert begins at 9 p.m. Wednesday.
“Every one of us in the band has a full-time job,” says Burke, who’s a firefighter at DFW Airport by day. “But on weekends, when we play shows, we can pretend to be rock stars for a few hours.”
Warehouse, named after a fan-favorite song from DMB’s first studio album, was formed in the fall of 2013. Burke, who also plays acoustic guitar, placed some Craigslist ads and found a like-minded bass player in Josh Dutton, who in turn brought drummer Bobby Ysaguirre into the fold.
The band was complete once Chris Beaty (sax) and Sly Tanenbaum (fiddle) came aboard.
Together, they walk a tightrope act during every performance.
But can they perform?
The guys of Warehouse are capable of re-creating the songs note for note, just as they were on the original records. But Dave Matthews Band is famous for “messing around” with its songs during live performances, practically re-inventing some of them, so Warehouse had to master that as well.
“That’s one of the reasons I love playing in a Dave Matthews tribute band,” Burke says. “There’s a lot of freedom to mix things up. We go by the studio albums to get the core of the songs down. Then we incorporate things they’ve done in their different live albums.
“One night, if we’re playing ‘Crash Into Me,’ we might do the version from ‘Live in Chicago.’ The next time, we might do the ‘Live in New York City’ version. It’s never the same from show to show.”
Burke and the boys aim to please, so you can be sure they’ll focus on the hits and crowd pleasers.
“Usually we play ‘Ants Marching’ every show, just because it’s such a fun song and gets people up and dancing,” he says. “We also play ‘Crash Into Me’ pretty much every time.
“Of course, there’s ‘Warehouse,’ which is one of my favorites. When I started to listen to the band, that was one of the songs that brought me in. I think it showcases the whole scope of Dave Matthews Band.
“‘Bartender’ and ‘Grey Street’ are two more of my favorites.”
It stands to reason that the “Greatest Tribute Bands” gig could be big for Warehouse. It has upcoming North Texas shows at the Cottonwood Arts Festival in Richardson (May 6), at Watters Creek in Allen (May 20) and at the Dallas Arboretum (June 1).
“If we get more publicity out of being on ‘The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands’ and get to play a few more gigs because of it, that would be great,” Burke says. “We love playing around here in Fort Worth and Dallas. But if this helps us expand to other parts of the country, the more the better.
“But the main thing we want is for people to experience what Dave Matthews Band is like. Some people might say, ‘Oh, they were just a ’90s band that had a few hits.’ But the fact is they’re an amazing band.”
The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands
- 9 p.m. Wednesday
- AXS TV