In this week's paper, Christian Schaeffer tagged along to El Monstero practice and got details about this year's model of the Pink Floyd tribute extravaganza. Tickets are still available for the band's Christmas night show, although December 22, 23 and 26 are all sold out. (If you missed out on tickets, check out our review and photos from the opening night.) The very end of the feature had to be cut for space -- a shame, as it featured some of the best banter between the bandmates. Namely, they discuss St. Louis' favorite honorary son, Sammy Hagar.
It also doesn't hurt that St. Louis is still seen as a classic-rock town. [John] Pessoni points to Sammy Hagar as a good example of this city's dedication to the KSHE ethos. "He goes to other cities and plays Pageant-size venues, maybe 1,000, maybe 1,500 [people]," he says. "He comes here, and he does 20,000 people."
[Jimmy] Griffin recalls his own introduction to the Cult of Hagar. "I moved here when I was sixteen, and I had heard one song by that guy in my whole life. And then at five o'clock on Friday [KSHE] would play whatever that song is..."
[Kevin] Gagnepain chimes in: "It's gonna be a rock & roll weekend!" (The lyric's from the Hagar track "Rock 'N' Roll Weekend.")
"And I'm like, 'Why do they play this song all the time?' Griffin continues. "'Dude, it's Sammy Hagar; he's fucking awesome!' And I was like, 'What the fuck are you talking about? That blonde guy?'"
Still, the band uses that backbone of classic rock to its advantage. Pairing the rich visuals and concept-heavy songs of Pink Floyd with its own onstage bravado and spot-on musicianship, El Monstero has fused British progressive rock and Midwestern charisma into its own, well, monster.
"I've always said that we're the Monster Truck version of Pink Floyd," says Griffin. "There's a little bit of Van Halen in our act."
Retorts Pessoni: "But Hagar-era Van Halen - only 5150 on!"