Last in Santa Barbara six months ago to celebrate the 25th anniversary of SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, Pink Floyd tribute band Which One’s Pink? is returning to the area at the end of the month for a performance at the Chumash Casino. On February 29, the band led by original members Paul Samarin and Larry Isenberg will perform a set largely focused on PInk Floyd’s music from the 1970s, with occasional forays into the band’s more obscure cuts.
Which One’s Pink? Was formed 22 years ago when keyboardist Mr. Isenberg put out an ad recruiting musicians who just wanted to kick around and have a good time playing Pink Floyd songs. One of the musicians to answer the ad was current lead guitarist and singer Mr. Samarin, who spent the first 11 years of the band playing bass instead of guitar. Once the guitarist slot opened up, Mr. Samarin switched over and to this day plays the guitar parts immortalized by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. As a vocalist, Mr. Samarin handles both the lead parts that were sung by Mr. Gilmour and Pink Floyd bassist/songwriter Roger Waters. When asked whether he thinks he’s better at the manic, shrill singing of Mr. Waters or the more traditional vocal stylings of Mr. Gilmour, the guitarist stated that the former comes more naturally.
“I sound more like Roger Waters, so I’m able to mimic those better,” he said.
Upon hitting the stage of the Chumash Casino, a bulk of the band’s show will focus on songs from 1973’s “The Dark Side of the Moon,” 1975’s “Wish You Were Here,” 1977’s “Animals,” and 1979’s “The Wall,” widely considered to be the records from Pink Floyd’s most classic period. At the time the two musicians spoke to the News-Press, both remarked that the Chumash Casino concert will likely have a mix of tracks from these albums rather than a complete live performance of one of them like Pink Floyd did to promote those records when they were first released. Of all the classic period Pink Floyd songs, Mr. Samarin chose the 17-minute “Animals” track “Dogs” as his favorite. The guitarist stated that he’s particularly fond of long Pink Floyd songs and also likes “Dogs” because it’s one of the lesser known numbers from the band’s big four ‘70s albums.
“The less mainstream ones are more interesting for me,” Mr. Samarin said.
Even longer than “Dogs” and predating Pink Floyd’s mainstream success with “The Dark Side of the Moon” is Mr. Samarin’s other favorite Pink Floyd song, the 23-minute epic “Echoes” from 1971’s “Meddle” album. Mr. Isenberg also named it as his favorite Pink Floyd number and said that it’s not one that is played too often due to its length. However, he finds that it and other pre-Dark Side era Floyd songs are adored by more people than one might initially expect.
“You’d be surprised at how many people out there are into the older Pink Floyd stuff,” he said.
Over the years, Which One’s Pink? has undergone many lineup changes, but its current permutation of Mr. Isenberg, Mr. Samarin, bassist Scott Richards, guitarist Allen Moreno, keyboardist and guitarist Nick Feduska, drummer Marty Brumer, and manager and sound effect man Dan Johnson has now been in place for nine years. The group’s background singers Sharon Fatoorechi and Natalie Azerad don’t always perform with the band, but they will be present during the Chumash Casino gig, with the latter singing the soaring vocal part on the show stopping “The Dark Side of the Moon” track “The Great Gig in the Sky.”
Having now played the music of Pink Floyd professionally for more than two decades, Mr. Isenberg and Mr. Samarin remain enthralled by the band’s songs for their own unique reasons. For the keyboardist, it’s the dreamlike sounds produced by Mr. Gilmour’s guitar and Mr. Isenberg’s counterpart in Pink Floyd, the late keyboardist Richard Wright. For Mr. Samarin, it’s the holistic subtlety of the music and lyrics that allows songs to sound beautiful while packing an emotional punch.
“It’s all very understated. There’s not really any big rockers. It hits very hard, but it’s not hard music,” Mr. Samarin said.
Tickets for the Which One’s Pink concert at Chumash Casino cost $25 and can be purchased online at www.chumashcasino.com. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. on February 29.