With the reverence accorded anything "new" these days, it's no surprise that credit has been slow in coming to the Pink Floyd tribute group Wish You Were Here. Led by longtime Michael Stanley bassist-singer Eroc Sosinski and Cleveland rock vet Jim Tigue, the octet may be Mushroomhead's only competition for the title of Cleveland's biggest band.
"After 10 years and over 35 sold-out shows at the concert clubs -- and now we're playing Blossom -- it's gratifying that we're finally being recognized by the media for what the fans have known all along," says Sosinski. "What's funny is that the week we played to over 4,300 people at Blossom, one rag thought reviewing a show that 12 people attended was more important. But I'm not bitter."
He's quick to acknowledge that Cleveland has treated him well. He stepped into Michael Stanley's band in 1993. Wish had its roots with Tigue in Harvest, which formed in 1987 and evolved into Tie Dye Harvest, a popular band that mixed original classic rock and covers. Sosinski left briefly in 1992, but missed the chemistry with Tigue. Also, he suspected that Harvest's popular Pink Floyd revue segment had more potential, because of the band's enduring popularity and rich catalog.
"Both their music and lyrical themes are timeless and universal, appealing to a wide variety of people, young and old," Sosinski says. "There's a beauty and power that coexist, often in the same song. Nobody sounds quite like them."
Wish You Were Here comes close, though. Wish's The Wall show features a barrier of giant white simulated bricks. Last year's show at Scene Pavilion drew over 3,000 fans and welcomed a new member to the coed octet: a giant suspended pig named Ziffel.
The show also employs quadraphonic sound, video projections, and lasers. In light of all the effort and expense that go into their productions, it's understandable that Sosinski bristles when Wish is dismissed as "a cover band."
"A cover band plays their versions of a variety of artists' songs, whereas a tribute band strives to accurately recreate a particular artist's music and, often, their live performance style," he says. "I've gotten over the shortsighted views by some that there's no value or nobility in playing someone else's music. Classical musicians throughout the ages as well as Joe rhythm-guitarist-of-this-week's-fad are usually playing someone else's composition.
"Not every musician is a writer," he adds. "Personally, I just love performing music."