Get The Led Out a ‘labor of love’
Get The Led Out isn’t just another Led Zeppelin tribute band. To see Get The Led Out in concert – and you can at the Durham Performing Arts Center April 6 – is to hear a replication of the iconic band’s recorded work. There are six band members in Get The Led Out versus Led Zeppelin’s four in order to create its overdubbed studio sound.
Paul Sinclair is lead vocals and plays harmonica in Get The Led Out. The band formed in 2003 with musicians from the Philadelphia area. Sinclair had been performing a night of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith in the suburbs, and caught the attention of the new band.
“A lot of stuff happened between then and now,” Sinclair said in a phone interview last week on his way to a concert at The Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C. “I like to think it has more to do with approach than anything,” he said. A lot of Led cover bands are also impersonators, too, but what GTLO does is unique, he said.
“Our whole gig is making it sound like the record,” Sinclair said. People grew up listening to Led Zeppelin records. Live performances aren’t near and dear to him, like those songs heard on the radio and at parties growing up.
Sinclair is 48-years-old.
“I’m a ’70s kid,” he said. As he was headed to that D.C. concert, the 1970s satellite radio station was playing. Sinclair would have gone to see Led Zeppelin in concert in 1980 if the band hadn’t ended with the death of drummer John Bonham.
For Sinclair, that music of his youth – Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, too – is the greatest music that ever existed. “Zeppelin II” was the first Led Zeppelin album he bought, and it sucked him into the group. Then like with any band, he found all the rest of their music, he said.
“I was a fan of two singers – Steven Tyler and Robert Plant. These guys made me want to be a singer in a band,” Sinclair said.
He has met Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, a number of times, as well as band member Joe Perry. Sinclair builds hand-wired guitar amplifiers and outfitted Perry with amps. Sinclair hasn’t met any remaining members of Led Zeppelin, but Get The Led Out guitarist Paul Hammond has. Sinclair said Get The Led Out is not Led Zeppelin and is never going to be Led Zeppelin, but they are trying to get every nuance and detail right in replicating studio recordings as live performances.
Led Zeppelin’s work – “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “Ramble On,” “Immigrant Song” to name just a few songs -- is embedded in American culture. “Stairway to Heaven” is covered and referenced endlessly, from college dorms to the movie “Wayne’s World,” which includes a joke about a sign in a music store stating “No Stairway.” Sinclair calls “Stairway” the “Free Bird” of Led Zeppelin.
Sinclair loves playing iconic hits of the ’70s.
“I know what it means to the audience. First and foremost I’m a fan,” he said. “We’re all big fans of the movement.”
Concerts are 20 songs from a vast catalog of 75 songs, Sinclair said, of which they play 61 or 62. The average fan knows 35 to 40 songs, he said, so each GTLO concert is different.
Now Sinclair’s memories of Led Zeppelin’s songs are tied to Get The Led Out and its shows, for those they play most frequently. But other songs remind him of his youth, of the moment he first heard them.
“We love these songs. It’s a labor of love,” Sinclair said.
WANT TO GO?
WHO: Get The Led Out
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. April 6
WHERE: Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St., Durham