Here’s a band that pays tribute to more than rock music. “It’s always about the music and the musicians,” said David Victor, a former guitarist for Boston and energetic rock-music entrepreneur. “So, I thought we’d turn it on its ear and make it about the community.”
CORRECTION: Sept. 22, 2016
David Victor, leader of Rock Stars & Stripes, a tribute group, played guitar in the band Boston from 2012-2014. Gary Pihl, currently a Boston member, is a former San Mateo resident. Incorrect information was included in the print and initial online version of this story. The error has been corrected.
Here’s a band that pays tribute to more than rock music.
“It’s always about the music and the musicians,” said David Victor, a former guitarist for Boston and energetic rock-music entrepreneur. “So, I thought we’d turn it on its ear and make it about the community.”
What a concept. A rock show that starts with “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Really.
Rock Stars & Stripes, the American Rock Experience is sort of an amalgamation of the 54-year-old San Ramon resident's multi-faceted musical endeavors.
When his six-member group revisits eight chapters of rock history — with visual accompaniment — Friday at Stockton’s Bob Hope Theatre, three local “heroes” will be recognized: Andy Prokop, T. Denise Manning and Faustino Adame.
Nominated by city and county residents during an “Internet callout,” they “need to come to the show,” Victor said, and receive brass medallions and photos with the band.
Victor also personalizes the 90-minute show — no Chicago-Cleveland geographic gaffes like that TV commercial — with information he gathered by attending a Sept. 14 United Way of San Joaquin County (Prokop’s its CEO) luncheon in Stockton.
It’s just the group’s fourth performance after Victor conceived the idea in August. His “off-Broadways” were Pleasanton, Jefferson City, Missouri, and Wyandotte, Oklahoma.
“I wanted to design a show that celebrated the local community,” Victor said. “So, (this) celebrates local communities and those who help give us the ability, freedom and safety to make this music. We acknowledge we know where we’re playing and know something about the community.”
There were times when he played and toured with Tom Scholz, 69 — the guitar-electronics guru with whom he “traded off leads” — and Boston (2012-14) that he really didn’t.
So, classic rock songs are accompanied by video images of Stockton Ballpark and other regional landmarks. An auctioned guitar and the $20 program price go to Rivers of Recovery, an organization that assists U.S. military veterans afflicted by post-traumatic stress disorder.
Victor's Stars and Stripes approach is unique. Sort of tribute immersion. He's developed eight stanzas that the group “just switches out”: California Hippies; Southern Comfort; Boys From Jersey; Midwest Rock Express; New York Groove; Lone Star State of Mind; Boston Strong; and Golden Gate.
“Music created in America by Americans,” Victor said.
His versatile band mates include fellow guitarists Walker Gibson and Robby Duron; Manny Aguirre (bass); Chris Collier (drums) and Jill Burke, who “sings all the high stuff.”
Appropriately, Victor was spotted by Scholz on a YouTube video while playing in a Walnut Creek tribute band. As a Bostonian guitarist he traded off leads on ‘More Than a Feeling,’ ‘Amanda’ and ‘Peace of Mind’ and is the “last person to have sung ‘Heaven on Earth,’ the No. 1 classic-rocked from Boston’s “Life, Love & Hope” album.
Gary Pihl, a guitarist who lived in San Mateo, also has played in Boston.
Victor performed during Boston Strong, a March 2013 memorial for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing: “It was almost a religious moment. It emphasized patriotism, All good feelings. People got up and told their stories.”
Born in Berkeley, Victor grew up in a Walnut Creek family of “artists, painters, drawers,” he said. “Nobody was musical. So I wanted to have my own thing.”
Dad Ronal Borgman worked in human resources while mom Beverly wrote for the Contra Costa Times. His two sisters are “fine artists.”
At 16, he heard a sister’s boyfriend “plunking out” Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” (1976) while sitting on the front lawn. “Two weeks later,” his guitar career was in full gear.
He played in the stage band at Northgate High School: “It was lots of brass and jazz. It wasn’t rock ’n’ roll.” Same thing at University of California, Santa Cruz.
In 1989, with a computer-science degree from Cal State Hayward (now East Bay), he did it all while producing his own “Proof Through the Night” recording.
Boston, Van Halen, Thin Lizzy and Montrose were more suitable in several bands that lasted “five minutes” before he headed to Los Angeles in 1999.
By then, he produced “Impact,” the 1997 debut album by Velocity. “Activator” followed. In L.A., he joined Smokin’, a Boston tribute band, and Exiled Social Club, a jam-rock group.
He now also is half of Bostyx, an acoustic duo that plays the music of Boston and Styx.
He’s also a cover-band original.
“Nope,” said Victor, who married Tamara on Dec. 5, 2015. “Nobody’s doing anything like this. You’ve never seen a show like this. We’ve only done it twice. This is our third shot. It’s a good time. There’s lots of video and a very talented band. Great harmonies. It stands on it own musically — and involves the community.”
— Contact Tony Sauro at (209) 546-8267 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @tsaurorecord.