Tragedy is ‘Stayin’ Alive’ in Vail
Vail, CO, Colorado
Few bands actually want a bad review of their show or their album, but this is something that Robin Gibbens, frontman for the band Tragedy, hopes for.
Gibbens, along with bandmates Barry Glibb and Mo’Royce Peterson, make up the core of the all heavy metal Bee Gees tribute band from New York. Together they represent the three Gibb brothers (Barry, Robin and Maurice) of the pop group the Bee Gees. Tragedy has been receiving rave reviews across the country for its blend of pompous heavy metal arranged into classic Bee Gees tunes. The band’s debut album, “We Rock Sweet Balls and Can Do No Wrong,” includes Tragedy’s take on songs like “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” and “Night Fever.”
It’s hard to take anything Gibbens said seriously during our phone interview because nearly everything that came out of his mouth was ridiculous. It’s also obvious that aside from the music, which is tight and well-crafted despite the odd premise, the band takes nothing else seriously.
“We’ve been doing some high-altitude training. I hear that’s what the big UFC fighters do so we’ve been rehearsing up in the mountains north of the city, getting ready. We don’t want to appear winded. We don’t want our little roadie to come out with oxygen masks,” Gibbens said.
He also said they were all trained at Juilliard, but when asked if that was true, he said “I’m telling you it’s true, I don’t know if my mom believes it.”
Tragedy plays Thursday night at the Sandbar in West Vail with opening act Devastating Karate. Gibbens spoke with us last week from New York about why they cover the Bee Gee’s music and how to turn easy-listening into heavy metal.
Robin Gibbens: I don’t know what things are like in Vail but here in New York City there’s still a lot of gang activity and there’s a lot of fights between the Disco Warriors and the Metal Kings. We just figured why not hold our own peace accord and summit? Guys in spandex fighting against guys in black leather jackets and denim pants. We just figured everybody can get along and music isn’t that different. In the ’70s there was big fights between metal guys and disco guys, in the ’80s there were arguments between hippies and punks, but really music is music, and it’s all party music. I mean, the point of both disco and metal is to get f—– up and get laid so why not put them together? And the Bee Gee’s songs are so amazing but metal sounds so cool, so we just figured if you could do amazing songs that sounded like metal, then everybody could win.
RG: Because it sounds so f—— metal. Would Stayin’ Alive sound really cool? Any time you pick a band name you have to imagine saying it on stage. Like ‘We are Too Much Heaven.’ That doesn’t have a good ring to it, but ‘We are Tragedy,’ that sounds good.
RG: What are we in 2009? Yeah, so August 2007 was our first gig. About a year and a half. Not that long at all but in that time we’ve done over 60 gigs.
RG: Yeah, we’re actually kind of bummed out. There’s not as many bad reviews as we’d hoped … there’s very few and we actually want some more bad ones, but people aren’t writing bad s— about us.
RG: Like a cross between an Aerosmith concert, pro-wrestling and a Barnum and Bailey Circus … we’ve got three female backing singers, aside from us guys in awesome white spandex suits.
RG: We stick with the best songs, which actually makes it kind of hard. But honestly we stick with the most well-known ones because we know what people are coming to see. We know they’re not coming to see us play “(New York) Mining Disaster 1941,” as good of a song as that may be, people want to hear the hits. They want to hear the stuff off “Saturday Night Fever,” they want to hear the ’70s stuff, the stuff you hear when you walk into a drug store or a supermarket that you can’t get out of your head.
RG: We’re all classically trained at Juilliard in the art of composition and music theory, so it’s pretty easy for people like us. I don’t think mere mortals could get it, which is why you haven’t seen another band do this … There’s no real science to it you know, you just open the song up and you feel around, poke around, get the scalpel out and the solo goes where it belongs.
High Life Writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Tragedy, a metal tribute to the Bee Gees, with opening act Devastating Karate.
When: Thursday night at 9:30 p.m.
Where: Sandbar Sports Grill in West Vail.
Cost: $14 in advance, $18 day of show.
More information: Call 970-476-4314 or vist http://www.sandbarvail.com.