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Peter Rivera will rock with band of all local musicians Saturday at the Bing

Peter Rivera, a drummer and singer who is known for his time with the band Rare Earth, is pictured in his north Spokane home Nov. 20. Rivera, 77, is performing at Bing Crosby Theater on Saturday.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Peter Rivera, a drummer and singer who is known for his time with the band Rare Earth, is pictured in his north Spokane home Nov. 20. Rivera, 77, is performing at Bing Crosby Theater on Saturday. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

“Cool Like Us,” the catchy jingle created for the Fox network in Spokane a quarter century ago, could be the moniker of a Peter Rivera/Dave Cebert project. Rivera, the former Rare Earth vocalist-drummer delivered, the lead vocal for the Fox clip, which was crafted in Cebert’s studio.

“We were doing a branding campaign for Fox, and that’s when Peter and I got a feel for each other,” Cebert said from his north Spokane home. “It was a very successful project, which was picked up by the big affiliates in New York and Los Angeles. We cut it on Foothills Drive, and the bonus was that Peter and I appreciated each other’s skill sets.

I’ve had Peter come in and sing on all kinds of things. He’s so incredibly talented and just a top-tier musician. We’ve enjoyed this musical partnership over the years.”

Their relationship has gone from the studio to the stage. Cebert, a keyboardist and a producer, who has worked on projects for National Geographic, Toon Disney and KHQ-TV, is part of Rivera’s band, which will perform Saturday at the Bing Crosby Theater.

The 12-piece rock ensemble comprises local musicians. Joining Rivera, who will sing and play drums, and Cebert are guitarist Joe Brasch, keyboardist Danny McCollim, bassist Dave Hutchesom, percussionist Mike Shug, vocalist Tera Brach, tenor saxophonist and flautist Dave Fague, baritone saxophonist Kyle Fague, trumpeter Jesse Flanagan and trombonist Brent Purvis.

“It’s surreal being part of a band with Peter,” Huchesom said while calling from his Clark Fork, Idaho, home. “I was a fan of Rare Earth. It’s wild playing Rare Earth songs since they had such an impact on me early in my career. People don’t realize how gifted Peter is. Peter is a phenomenal vocalist and an amazing drummer.

“He’s just rock solid. We’re all looking forward to the show at the Bing. We did this show in Everett, Washington, and we know how great it is. We’ll be playing the hits with a four-piece horn section, and you just have to see this show to believe it. Our show in Spokane is going to be a special night.”

Rivera gushes about his bandmates. “They’re all tremendous musicians, and they’re all from our area,” Rivera said. “I don’t need to go to Los Angeles for great musicians. They’re here. Dave Fague is the music director of the Gonzaga marching band. He put together the horn section. You don’t see many bands with as much going on onstage as we will present.”

The Rivera band will deliver Rare Earth hits such as “Get Ready,” “Born to Wander” and “I Just Want to Celebrate.” Expect some deep cuts, as well. “I’m excited about playing ‘Sally was a Good Time Girl’ (It’s actually ‘Good Time Sally’) and Rare Earth’s version of ‘What’d I Say,’ ” Brasch said from his north Spokane home. “Get ready for a very different version of ‘What’d I Say.’ The song is totally different than Ray Charles’ version. Peter’s idol was Ray. We know how special the song is to Peter.”

Expect McCollim to be riffing throughout “What’d I Say.” “We take the cuffs off of Danny McCollim and just let him do his thing,” Brasch said. “Danny is an incredible keyboardist. When he’s done doing his thing, he just gives us a nod and we move on from there.”

Brasch, like Cebert, has been playing with Rivera for 25 years. “I met Peter while working on that campaign (“Cool Like Us”), and the guy never ceases to amaze me. He still has all of the fire and the passion for music. A lot of guys his age just go through the motions. They can’t sing the material the way it was recorded. But Peter still sings the songs in their original key. I look at him playing the drums and I’m like, ‘Jesus, I’m tired and this guy is bringing it!’ ”

Prepare for an old school show that is completely organic. “There will be no backing tracks,” Brasch said. “We came up by not augmenting anything live. We’ll be bringing it to the peeps. We will go all out during this show.” The band will be hanging out into the wee hours since they’re not guns for hire.

“We’re all friends, which makes it extra special,” Rivera said from his north Spokane home. “Not only am I surrounded by great musicians, but all of the egos are in check. Everybody supports everybody else. It makes for a real smooth experience. There is nothing like working with professionals, especially when we’re all friends. And we can’t wait for Saturday!”

Peter Rivera and his band headline Saturday at Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague Ave. Local band Vika & the Velvets open. Tickets are $27. Show time is 8 p.m. For more information, (509) 227-7638 and bingcrosbytheater.com.

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