"I honestly think we have played more shows than Pink Floyd has played," said Joe Pascarell, front man for the New York-based tribute band. "We are on our … I have lost count … somewhere around 2,100 shows, 2,200 shows. That's a lot of shows."
For 21 years, The Machine has recreated the sights and sounds of Pink Floyd, gaining the attention of publications such as Rolling Stone and Spin magazine. Their talent and ability to duplicate the ambiance of a live Pink Floyd show has taken them from performing in their neighborhood bar to venues across Europe, Asia and North and Central America.
Like most cover bands, The Machine started out playing on the weekends at local spots. "You know when you are young and you are a musician, you always have that weekend band. Everyone has their job and whatever they are doing," Pascarell said. "You have your band and you play in your local places, which is what we did."
However, once The Machine started covering Floyd songs, the road from weekend band to touring band was all but paved.
"I think when we quit our jobs, when it came to that moment, like, 'Wow, we can play enough that I have to quit my job.' That moment was pivotal," Pascarell said. "That was the moment where I (was) like, 'Hmm, maybe we have something here.'"
They did have something, a foundation for success, success that Pascarell expected to be short-lived. "If you would have asked me in 1989, 'How long (would we perform)?' I would say, maybe two or three years," he said. "Here it is, 21 years later, and I am still doing it."
Pascarell can thank Pink Floyd for more than just its songs. "I have loved Pink Floyd ever since I was a kid," he said. "The way I learned how to play the guitar was to figure out those songs, you know? Just sit in front of the record player and figure them out. So, in that way, they were like my music teacher, and now as an adult, I perform the music." The Machine performs not only to honor the music of Pink Floyd, but also to embody its improvisational nature. "I know growing up listening to it, the first thing I liked about their music is that it made me feel a certain way," Pascarell said. "We try to create that … experience of listening … and the way it makes you feel. I think we deliver that. You don't really get to experience that with the real Pink Floyd, because they hardly ever play."
Pascarell and The Machine will create that experience, with music and a light show, on Saturday, as the first concert of this year's Music at McClellan series.
The MachineWhat: Pink Floyd cover band, first concert in the Music at McClellan series
When: Saturday; gates open at 6 p.m., concert begins at 8 p.m.
Where: Longleaf Park, McClellan
How much: $25 advance, $30 at gate
Contact: 310-0852 or musicatmcclellan.org