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Judge for The Lieback Brothers

Scranton, PA
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Portrait of The Lieback Brothers
Pete & Billy Lieback are like a couple of NFL punters. With every new season, it seems like they're kickin' it for a new band, and that rarely comes with a side of respect. Mere Mortals, Cider, The Pee-Pees, Hoosier Daddy? ... the list goes on. But through the years, they've always taken time to perform as a duo (sometimes joined by bassist Mike Lukasavage). And on Saturday, February 12, the Liebacks will celebrate their "100th Annual 10th Anniversary Show" at Biscontini's in Pittston. That's right - they've been one of the area's more dynamic duos for 10 years. Not much has changed with the Liebacks. They haven't mellowed. (See the "The Lieback Brothers are my dad" T-shirts.) And they haven't "grown up." No, they've been acting their ages since they were in diapers ...

Why work the duo format
Pete: We started playing music and we were always around each other. It's just easier this way. You know how bands go. You get egos and it's hard
Billy: It's hard to find anybody motivated
Pete: And we hate practice. Can't stand it. His drums are always in the car. It's not a money thing. I just don't like sitting and playing for my own enjoyment. I never really did. I just get a kick out of it. I never liked practicing

What are your favorite songs to play
Pete: That's almost a contradiction, because our favorites don't go over. We have to play stuff we hate but people like all the time. We like to play Cat Stevens. But Cat Stevens doesn't go over, even though we like playing it. And we try not to just do acoustic songs. Because acoustic is boring
Billy: And we wanted quality sets instead of quantity. Because what happens around here is people try and play every night and they burn themselves out
Pete: The only way to do that is travel, and that got old, too. We were just watching a tape of when we were The Pee-Pees from when we played at a prison. It was hilarious. Nicest bunch of people.

Spend the night
Pete: Actually, when I walked in that morning I didn't have any clean clothes so I borrowed a pair of shorts from my buddy ... you know soccer shorts that were way too small. And I got a prison T-shirt and that with my blonde hair ... I made some friends.

What do you guys do in real life
Pete: Sleep a lot. And I do loss prevention at Wal-ly World.
Billy: I play with a guy named Rob Brown. That's two or three times a week

So at this point, what's music to you
Pete: Still fun.
Billy: Yeah. It always was. That's what it is about the duo. We could do another band, now, but it's a pain. It'd be nice if we could find people who were motivated, that could play with minimal rehearsal. Because it's cover tunes. It's not something that takes brains or thinking about it.
Pete: People start making a job out of it and getting business-like. It shouldn't be a pain in the ass to you. If you can have fun going to work every day, that's a good deal.

Your younger brother is still going, right
Billy: Yeah, Mark. In fact they're putting out another CD. We're hoping he'll learn from our mistakes. He's just turning 21 this month.
Pete: Yeah imagine that. We're 39, 36, and what's our brother's name? Mistake? I think we'll go to Atlantic City for that. Get him a hooker. Or a man whore

So, you have a big show coming up
Billy: The "100th Annual 10th Anniversary Celebration.
Ah, so it's a centennial
Billy: Yeah. We had a poster at Biscontini's once. I made it for Christmas. I put "Our 100th annual Christmas Spectacular" on there. And people were coming up to us and saying "Really?" And they meant it. So now, everything's going to be that. Just to see if people are paying attention.

You guys have been in a lot of bands. Has anyone in your circle ever hit it big
Billy: I don't know. Cider went to California and then back but that's it
Pete: Come to think of it, maybe everybody that got associated didn't make it because of that connection. (laughs) We're a jinx. Do you know anybody

Nope - just curious
Billy: You know, but being in a cover band, we have opened for a lot of famous acts. Doing covers. And we lied to do that. We always said we played our own songs and then we'd go up and play covers. We did that once at the old amphitheater at Harveys Lake, with The Badlees.
Pete: And I remember after the show we were backstage and there was a bunch of people looking for autographs and all The Badlees were there. I just started signing things. I don't think they liked it.
Billy: And when we opened for Eddie Money, we ended with "Shakin'," and pissed him off. Right before he came on. (laughs) He's a tall guy.
Pete: And he actually does talk like that.

Do you get thrown out of clubs a lot
Pete: No. People ask that, but it doesn't happen actually.
Billy: Like at River Street Jazz Café they gave us two rules. Don't come out naked, and don't curse.
Pete: This was with The Pee-Pees. Billy got an apron from the back, and that's what he wore on stage. I got an air conditioner filter and taped it around me. Billy walks out there with just the apron on and curses stuff you can't print into the mic - first words of the show
Billy: (laughs) That's like tellin' a kid not to play with a toy and then puttin' it right in front of him.
Pete: We also don't use anything recorded behind us. Screwing up and making mistakes is part of live music. You know? If you use stuff behind you, then that's karaoke.
Billy: And by the third set, we're loaded
Pete: And that's also what the audience is for. To help us along when we forget.

What else
Pete: We're not going to quit anytime soon. We'll keep going
Billy: I'm thankful for the people who supported us over the years. We haven't seen the people who were around 10 years ago. It'd be nice to see some of those people again.
Pete: Crowds are still good. We're getting good draws
Billy: And we're writing too. You can get the single off our Web site. You can buy it for $4.99 and you'll be helping needy kids. Us

So you won't be retiring anytime soon
Billy: We hate it when local musicians say they're retiring
Pete: Yeah, you can't retire as a local musician. How do you retire? You have another job, and playing is not that hard. That's worse than hearing Celine Dion. Not that we're bitter

©Electric City 2005

 
 
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