So far in 2019, I’ve chatted with “Prince” (Dean Ford), “Freddie Mercury” (Patrick Myers), “Jon Bon Jovi ” (Ken Pittman), and this week it’s “Mick Jagger!” Those quotation marks indicate that we’re referring to tribute acts, a facet of today’s musical culture that seems to be taking off in a big way — at least here in Maine, that is. There’s a new venue opening up in Waterville called The Elm, and they will be kicking off their debut season with Satisfaction/The International Rolling Stones Tribute Show. To that end they were kind enough to set up a phoner with Chris LeGrand, who performs as the Stones’ charismatic frontman.

Q: So, you’re coming up to Maine, correct?
Legrand: Yes, and we’re looking forward to it; the weather’s always a plus up there in the summertime. We recently played up in Bar Harbor; it was very nice.

Q: Do you get around a lot? How far afield does Satisfaction go?
Legrand: Well, this is our 19th year and we’re closing in on 4,000 shows so, yeah, we get around.

Q: Oh my word! That makes my next question moot, I was going to ask if this was a part-time gig for you.
Legrand: (Laughter) No, no, we do a 150-plus shows every year. This is our 19th year of touring, so we’ve been around for a while. I’m the original founder and member of the group.

Q: Has the group membership been the same for that time or do you change players as needed?
Legrand: We have had several different cast members in our 19 years. It’s a pretty demanding schedule, and we’ve got a couple of guys who have done nine or 10 years in that time frame. Unlike a recording act that will go out and make an album in two or three months and then take off nine months of the year to tour, we’re touring all the time.

Q: Are you out on the road now as we speak?
Legrand: No, I’m actually home in Texas now. We had a five-day break, and I flew home for a couple of days off. We only have two shows this week in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area. We did four shows last week; we work about 46 to 47 weeks a year.

Q: Wow, that’s a load! You’ve got to enjoy what you do.
Legrand: Yeah, we have a lot of demand for our shows, and we enjoy what we’re doing. It’s certainly a career that has a window of time when you can do it — (for) each of us personally. I started the show almost 20 years ago. At some point I’m sure I’ll retire from the road and just keep it going with other people in more of a management/booking role, but for now I’m out here with the show, performing with it, and loving every minute of it.

Q: Now, were you in other bands before Satisfaction?
Legrand: Well, I was in groups when I was in high school and in my 20s, and I actually got out of the music business for about 10 years. I went into business in industrial sales and did that for many years while raising a family. Unfortunately, I lost that job that I’d had for 15 years and began dabbling with this show in the late 90s and had the opportunity to put this together as a full-time production. I just took advantage of it and got back into the music business. This time it’s been much more successful than I’ve ever been before. The tribute business is a fantastic business to be in. There’s a lot of demand for these shows, so I’m pretty lucky that my second chance in life for music has been the one that’s been the best for me.

Q: Let me ask you this, was it hard to channel Mr. Jagger?
Legrand: Yes, it’s a challenge every day. I’m about 20 years into doing it, and in my mind it’s still a work in progress. It’s something that you just work at every day, because you have to cast yourself into a role of another person which is difficult.

Q: Well, from what I’ve seen and heard of your performance I can state that you’re damn good at what you do.
Legrand: Well, I appreciate that. My thing has been that from the very beginning; we wanted to pay close attention to the music. We wanted to get the sound right with the vocals and the instrumentation. … It’s been our number one goal. The key word that we always keep using is “authentic.” That’s what the audiences want, and it’s a little more of a challenge for us because the Rolling Stones are still a viable entity, you know?

Q: Yes, I can understand how that would make it more difficult for you, for sure. Is there anything Chris, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article especially seeing this will be Satisfaction’s first performance in the Waterville area?
Legrand: Well, we have a two-hour show that’s fun and filled with hits — every song is a popular song, every song is a hit, and most people know the words to all the songs. It’s a very colorful show — we have a lot of costumes. It’s a very high-energy show, and it’s nostalgic. It’s a little bit of everything. So, I think there’s something in our show for fans that have been listening to this great band for over the past five decades, and we certainly want to deliver those songs to them in the most memorable fashion. And, also we’re always excited to come and play for a new audience. That’s the joy of playing on the road — every night it’s a new set of fresh faces to see you. That raises the bar for us to bring a very authentic night of great songs and energy for everybody, … and that’s what we’re bringing on our next trip to Maine!

 

Lucky Clark has spent 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.


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