By day, David Baker, Jay Pelzer, Tom Reichart, Quentin Rice and Mike Kivett are regular guys: husbands, fathers and working men. But when their day jobs are over, it’s time for this quintet to rock out, ’80s style, as The Cherry Pistols.
Individually, the members of The Cherry Pistols have been fixtures in Jefferson City’s music scene for more than a decade; they’ve played gigs with one another and with other musicians here and there over the years. A year and a half ago, the time seemed right to focus on putting together a quality band with a unique product to entertain Jefferson City’s music lovers.
“We like to put on an entertaining show, playing good ’80s music that you don’t typically hear and integrating other aspects of ’80s pop culture like music videos,” Pelzer says. “Most of all, we want every show to be a party and for people to dance and have fun the whole time.”
It seems that in a short time, this ’80s tribute band has successfully reached its goal. It was voted Best Band in Jefferson City for 2013, an honor that validated the group’s creative work and effort.
“It’s pretty cool,” Pelzer says of the recognition. “We’re all pretty excited about it. We worked really hard this summer to put together a good product and to brand ourselves and our product. Being voted Best Band felt like a big payoff for working hard over the last five months.”
The Cherry Pistols are especially proud of their ’80s video dance parties: a combination of music videos and live performance by the band. The most recent dance party was held in early November at The Spot.
“We put together a rock block of ’80s music videos that everybody remembers and everybody likes, like Whitney Houston, Madonna, Michael Jackson — as long as you can dance to it or it is a funny video,” Pelzer says. “We’ll play the videos for the first half of the night, then that video dance party transitions into a two-hour live set by The Cherry Pistols.”
Even tornado warnings and an impending storm couldn’t keep the crowds away from one video dance party, and subsequent dance parties have garnered even larger crowds. The fascination with ’80s music doesn’t surprise Pelzer, who says the ’80s were characterized by danceable music with great beats.
“It was such a colorful era and is a lot of fun for people to revisit…” Pelzer says. “We’re all in our 30s and can remember the ’80s as kids. It’s fun to revisit the stuff we had when we were little — you appreciate it a bit more, and it is a lot of fun to play.”
Although the band’s schedule varies, they typically play two or three gigs each month and can usually be found at The Spot in Jefferson City or at H Toads in Lake of the Ozarks. They’ve recently begun working with a booking agency and have a Thanksgiving eve gig scheduled in St. Louis. Band members have long abandoned their childhood dreams of landing a record deal, bit they are excited about performing in Jefferson City and outside of mid-Missouri.
“When you‘ve been playing music for half your lives, it is really hard to not play music,” Pelzer says. “Plus, when you have four other awesome guys that are your best friends, that want to play the same stuff you want to play, where you can make a few extra bucks and have people who want to come out and watch and party with you, you can’t help it. For us, it’s a lot of fun. That’s why we do it.”