Ask any of the thousands of people throughout The Midwest who have witnessed a Pink Houses show and it’s likely that you’ll get a reply suggesting that this eleven-piece band is the next thing to the real deal.
How many self-described tribute bands actually get to perform for their particular artist’s hometown fan-base under the guise of that artist’s “Ultimate Tribute Band” and then pull it off not just once, but two years in a row?
While being billed as "The Ultimate Tribute Band- From Cougar to Mellencamp”, Pink Houses has taken their show and The Man’s music directly to Chestnut Street in Seymour, Indiana- winning The Small Town’s adoration, both 2010 and 2011.
Make no mistake. This Band ROCKS!
And for a Small Town dentist from Edgerton, WI who thought big, spent countless hours recruiting and rehearsing the right musicians, promoting and then leading Pink Houses to the top of the game, it all came as really no surprise…
As a twenty-year veteran of The Midwest’s ruff and tumble Rock & Roll and Metal scene, Tom Reitz knew first-hand of the many challenges faced in trying rise to the top of that genre of music. In looking for something different, he wanted to put together a larger show, with more musicians, which in turn, would get broader audience attention and ultimately bigger and better gigs.
“We liked the idea of a larger band and when everything was said and done, it came down to Mellencamp because he has such a wide audience appeal,” Reitz said back in 2003 adding, “plus we’d be the only game in town.”
Over the years since, that decision has proven to be the right one time and time again. As other acts have come and gone, Pink Houses continues to pay- and play, tribute to the music that has been immortalized within our American Fabric.
Just before the band’s sound check in Seymour back in 2010, Guitarist P-Jay Johnson, who knew little of Mellencamp’s music prior to joining Pink Houses, described it to a local reporter this way: “…there’s a little bit of all of us within the themes of his songs and the music is very cleverly laid out, which seems to be the catch…we can all relate to it.”
Several of their Seymour fans, (who actually know The Man), summed up the Pink Houses 2011 performance there with- “those guys played Johnny’s music right” ……shouldn’t they know?
As The Pink Houses Family began to evolve over the years, the one constant has always been to produce a professional show with all of the trueness of The Classic Mellencamp Live Performances.
This natural evolution has included many fine musicians along the way, who in turn have brought in their own distinct personalities and styles to the Pink Houses show. Always aware of the “what have you done lately aspect” of the business, Reitz began to look at ways to leverage this factor towards the show’s musical content, while maintaining that trueness which has made Pink Houses a Midwest Favorite.
“It seemed like at every show we’d play someone would come up and ask if we knew this tune or that tune,” Reitz states, adding “and at times for tunes that are not from the Mellencamp Catalogue. But with some of them, we’d all look at each other for a second like; well that’s not a bad idea..…so it kind of got me thinking, you know?” Loppy Loppnow, Pink Houses drummer, is quick to add that “This guy (Tom) is like a blender when it comes to ideas…add the right ingredients and some good material will always pour out!”
Loppnow’s comment describes exactly how some of the recently-added and non-Mellencamp material made it onto this year’s tour set list- that includes some medleys that Reitz enthusiastically describes as “of Super Nova proportions!” “Pink Houses has always had some really great players and singers (including Tom’s brother Jeff on percussion and sax for five years)…the chemistry has always been great …they’ve all helped get this band to where it is now and that’s not always easy with eleven players and a four-man sound and lighting crew…”
Looking ahead, Reitz is especially excited about the current Pink Houses line-up, which includes more than a few players that are of solid professional pedigree. “I can throw anything at this bunch and they’ll nail-it” he proudly exclaims, adding that “as I keep raising the bar they just keep on clearing the height…it’s phenomenal! The possibilities seem endless!”
When pressed if this new chapter of Pink Houses could somehow compromise the trueness of “The Ultimate Tribute Band- From Cougar to Mellencamp,” Reitz is quick to reply “Not at all. The audience will still hear the favorites…all of the tunes that they come out for in the first place.” After a short pause he offers this analogy: “Do you know the tune R.O.C.K. In The USA?... the spirit of that song lives in just about any band” emphasizing “and probably more so in Pink Houses because of who we are and what we do….…and believe me when I say that same spirit lives within our audiences and fans too!”