Even though Roger Waters is 79 and his former Pink Floyd bandmates are also on the edge of octogenarian status, the music created by the iconic British band will continue to shine on thanks to tribute bands.
The Australian Pink Floyd, which will perform Sunday at Northern Quest Resort & Casino, is one of the finest at rendering tunes by the unique Rock & Roll Hall of Famers.
“Well, I hope we’re pretty good since we’ve been at this for 33 years,” keyboardist Jason Sawford said by phone from Los Angeles.
Sawford was on to something when he formed the Australian Pink Floyd in 1988. The aforementioned Waters, a difficult to work with visionary, parted ways in 1985 with Pink Floyd. The remaining members of the band toured the world just when the Australian Pink Floyd formed.
“Yes, Pink Floyd was on its Momentary Lapse of Reason tour then and we were just getting started,” Sawford said while calling from Los Angeles. “We were one of the first serious Pink Floyd tribute bands. The tribute scene was just starting. If you would have told me that we would still be around 34 years later, I never would have believed it.”
Sawford has met each of the members of Pink Floyd with the exception of the enigmatic Waters.
“(Pink Floyd drummer) Nick Mason said some lovely things about us and (Pink Floyd vocalist-guitarist) David Gilmour was nice. It’s great that they’re fine with what we do. We enjoy it a great deal.
Sawford said it all started with the music.
“I’ve always had such enthusiasm for Pink Floyd’s music. This is a labor of love. I enjoy being part of this since there is no band that has ever sounded like Pink Floyd.
“You absolutely know a Pink Floyd song when you hear it. Pink Floyd’s music is distinctive. It’s also moving and powerful. The lyrics hit you hard and their music appeals to every generation. I see folks from every age group at our shows.”
Fans will experience the hits and the deep cuts at the Aussie Pink Floyd concert.
“We play the most well known songs like ‘Comfortably Numb,’ ‘Time’ and ‘Wish You Were Here.’ We’ll also play some deep cuts from one of my favorite Pink Floyd albums, ‘Animals.’ We cover all of the bases.”
When the Aussie Pink Floyd started, tribute acts didn’t get much respect or make that much per gig but all of that has changed.
“It’s a very different world right now for bands like ours,” Sawford said. “Tribute bands were dismissed by some people when we were starting out but bands like ours are now taken more seriously. It’s really a good time for tribute bands.
“We play wonderful venues and the fans are so enthusiastic. I get why they love this music so much. I’m just a big fan of Pink Floyd as the fans are.”
Sawford wishes that Waters and his former bandmates could iron out their differences and write, record and tour together.
“As a huge Pink Floyd fan, that would be the greatest,” Sawford said. “But it’s a great shame that it won’t happen. Roger is a very difficult person to work with or so I’ve heard.
“If they could only make music together it would be great, but I can’t see that happening.”
Time is ticking for the legacy musicians.
Aging legends like Waters, Paul McCartney and Pete Townshend are not going to be around forever.
“You need somebody to keep the music alive,” Sawford said. “People only live for so long but fortunately there are bands out there that play the music of these incredible musicians. The music from bands like Pink Floyd has to continue, and it’s our pleasure to play it.”
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