Tribute to The Who joins slate of acts at Holyoke's Mountain Park
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By George Lenker | Special to The Republican on August 06, 2015 at 2:59 PM, updated August 06, 2015 at 3:07 PM
For Garret Lechowski, it wasn't just about The Who, but also the when and the why.
"It was always something I wanted to do," he said about forming a tribute band to The Who, "And the older I got, I thought I better do this now or I'm never going to do it."
The band, named Who Are You, will perform as part of a slate of tribute acts at Mountain Park on Aug. 8. at 4 p.m. Also on tap will be Get the Led Out (Led Zeppelin) and Lotus Land (Rush tribute).
Who Are You has been playing out for the past five years now. Based out of the Berkshires, they have played everywhere from Ottawa, Canada to North Carolina.
"I started the band back then just for something to do because I hadn't work musically in a long time," Lechowski said. "It's a sideline to my main career as a psychotherapist."
The Who has long been his favorite band.
"The earliest musical recollection I have is of 'Tommy' (The a Who's famous rock opera) being played by my mother in the house when I was growing up," he said.
Lechowski plays guitar as well as singing the songs that Pete Townshend sings with The Who. But one real challenge in duplicating The Who is finding someone who can sing like lead vocalist Roger Daltry. That comes in the person of Craig Simmons of Lee.
"He kicked around the metal scene for about 15 years before joining this band," Lechowski said. "We get a lot of compliments on his singing. He can really hold his own. It's pretty impressive."
Lechowski said that although they don't really look like The Who, he wears a replica of Townshend's signature white jumpsuit and Simmons twirls the microphone a la Daltry.
"I also periodically smash guitars. it's a pricey proposition, but I keep gluing them back together," he said with a laugh.
Lechowski has gained an expertise in The Who, as he has seen them 20 times.
"I think the music is timeless. You can't say that about too many acts. You can say about the Stones or The Beatles or maybe Pink Floyd, and I think The Who is definitely one of those top five British bands," he said.
He thinks the band's music also transcends generations.
"We just played a show in Buffalo and in the audience was a 13-year-old girl singing along with 'You Better You Bet," he said. "That song is 34 years old. I thought that was really cool."
Lechowski said while the audience goes especially crazy for songs like "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again," the band has a different favorite when it comes to playing the songs.
"I think we all agree that the song '5:15' is the one we all absolutely love the play," he said.