Decades Band Covers Hits Through the Years
By Phil Reser
Top TenJune 2015
By Phil Reser
One of the joys of playing music in a cover band is that you get to replicate some of the most popular songs in the history of music.
Drummer Billly DiBono is the founder of the Chicobased cover band Decades, the opening act for this year’s 10- week Summer Serenade Concert Series next to the banks of the Sacramento River in Anderson River Park.
Since 2010, Decades has been working around the clock to learn material spanning from the 1940s Glenn Miller Orchestra’s "In The Mood” to more recent hits like “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars.
According to DiBono, the idea for forming Decades came from his dad, Don DiBono, former owner of the Cabos nightclub in downtown Chico during the 1970s. He now runs Entertainment Services, a musical production and booking business.
Joining Billy DiBono in Decades’ lineup are lead singer Samantha Francis, guitarist/saxophonist Will Watje, bassist Toby Brooks and keyboardist/vocalist Ben Ruttenberg. “It’s fun being able to have an endless amount of material to choose from,” DiBono says. “It feels like the world of music is at our hands. Everyone in the band can suggest any song into our mix. It’s more about, is this something we can pull off ? At one time, we had a lot of holes to fill with our music sets, but as things unfolded, the songs came along to fill the voids in the different eras and styles we play.”
Most shows are casino or club shows, and they’ve developed a formula for each type of show they play. “We want every show to be different,” he says. “We recently created a theater show around a performance we did at the Cascade Theatre in Redding. With these type of shows, people are sitting down in reserved ticket seats rather then out on a dancing floor. Its a lot of fun for us to work out these different performance formulas.”
Decades played 125 performances throughout the West Coast last year, earning its place as one of California’s most in-demand bands.
Its energetic live shows showcase each musician’s versatile instrumentation (including sax, harmonica and trumpet along with guitar, bass, keyboards and drums) as they switch from one to another throughout the show.
“We spend a lot of time getting behind the instrumental sounds that have made each song a big hit. It’s a challenge, but practicing three or four times a week helps us give every single
tune we do the justice it needs to be interpreted for people that remember what it sounded like originally. Sometimes it takes us a whole week to work up one song.”
Decades has earned numerous achievements and highlights.
The band has performed more than 400 shows since its formation, including opening for The Drifters in 2013, a performance in Hawaii in 2014 and warming up the audience for “Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles” this year.
Decades’ debut album, “Take Me Back,” has independently sold more than 1,500 copies and was recorded by Grammynominated producer Sylvia Massy (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Prince, Johnny Cash, Tool, System Of A Down). It includes eight covers and four originals, all of which were inspired by ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll. Their original song, “Little Girl,” made its radio debut on 106.7 Z-Rock on August 15, 2013.
During their studio recording sessions, Massy suggested that Decades do a progression with their next album by moving into the 1960s, have the third album go into the ‘70s, and so on.
DiBono says, “Even though we don’t make our living with original music, it beats working a day job. We are learning and polishing ourselves through this type of band. We haven’t ruled out anything with our future. Our goal right now is to entertain folks with established material that they already enjoy and want to hear again and again.”
Decades: Wednesday, June 10
Anderson River Park/Summer Serenade Concert Series