Bozeman-based Pink Floyd tribute band Pinky and the Floyd are headed to The Wilma for their presentation of PULSE on Saturday, October 20th. We had them fill us in on their love for Floyd, why PULSE is special, and what extra production Missoulians have to look forward to.
Read our interview with Pinky and the Floyd’s lead guitarist, vocalist, and co-founding member, Luke Flansburg:
LP: Can you fill us in on what the production will be like for this performance? We heard something about an LED wall……
LF: Without giving too much away, we are bringing an LED wall and a few extra techs to boost our production. Since the remodel of the Wilma, we haven’t brought any additional production as the lights, sound and in house staff are top notch. This summer, we had the pleasure of working with a local lighting designer and good friend, Frank Douglas. He sent our lighting show over the top and we have been excited to be working with him ever since.
LP: Why is Pulse a special album to perform?
LF: Each member personally has an album that they love. Pulse seems to be one that each member has a strong tie to and some of the earliest memories of their journey into Pink Floyd. Pulse is a great show to put on. The first set has songs from the Division Bell and other hits that really round out the set. The second set is Darkside of the Moon in its entirety, always a pleasure to perform. On a personal level, Pulse was the first DVD I got when we started the band back in 2007. I’ve watched it countless times, learning how to play a majority of the David Gilmour guitar parts and being in awe of his guitar mastery.
LP: Is there a specific song off Pulse that you’re especially stoked to play live?
LF: There are a few, for sure. “Sorrow” has been the most fun “new” tune to learn. The guitar tone has been cool to try to replicate. “High Hopes” has been fantastic to bring back, with a more confident, mature approach. We extend the jam in “Money”, which has been nice to perform after years of playing it the same way.
LP: What was/has it been like for the band to grow in popularity from a local to well known Northwest act?
LF: Boy, talk about enjoying the journey rather than the destination. It’s an honor and a blessing to be playing with these talented musicians for so long. They went from music acquaintances, to dear friends, and now a deep family connection. We have all been through a lot together in the past 10 years. I admit, I’m surprised that this band has been so popular for so long with no signs of slowing down. The fans, are hands down, the best we could have ever asked for. They have a wide range in age, which brings together that sense of community. I love hearing the older generations share their Pink Floyd experiences and adore watching young kids being turned on to some of the best music ever written. It truly is an honor and humbling.
LP: Have any of the band members seen Pink Floyd live or any variation of PF (David Gilmour, Roger Waters, etc.)?
LF: I saw Roger Waters perform “The Wall” in 2012 at the Memorial Colleseum in Los Angeles, just months after our first production of “The Wall” in Bozeman. That was incredible. To see the real thing before your eyes, yet know every single note and word intimately. Amazing. I saw David Gilmour at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in 2016. That was like attending a master class in musicianship. I remember quite vividly about half way through the show, I wanted to text the band to say I could no longer be in Pinky, I have seen the master, and I can not do this. I did come to, thankfully, realizing I’ll never be Gilmour, but have the pleasure to perform and bring the music to the true fans. I was actually quite relieved when David botched a few lines in his “Money” solo. He is human after all. I know Krista (singer) has seen Pulse back when she was in high school in Ohio, which she relayed was a life changing show.
LP: Can you elaborate on what aspects of Pink Floyd made you guys want to cover and pay tribute to their music the most?
LF: As the story goes, we formed the band quickly to have an act open for another local tribute act, The Doors Legacy Band. Funny enough as that band doesn’t perform anymore, but had future members of Pinky (Drew Fleming-drums, John Sanders-bass, ). A few of us were like, “what band would be cool to open for The Doors?” Pink Floyd. We were called “The Pink Roids” (glad that name didn’t stick), we had about 45 minutes of material. The place was packed to see the Doors band, but we went out and knocked some socks off. Incredible reception. So we were like “well, lets keep this going and see where it takes us”. We started digging deeper in to the Pink Floyd catalogue and realized how incredible all the music was. Most of us at that time had only listened to the radio hits and Darkside of the Moon. I remember listening to “Animals” on repeat for a month and being awestruck of how intricate the sound was.
LP: Outside of touring as Pinky and the Floyd, what are band members up to?
LF: Most members of the band are married, have families and day jobs around the Bozeman area. About half of us teach private music lessons. It kinda makes it hard to tour extensively, but something we are going to pursue more in the future.
LP: What other bands or genres have been influential to you?
LF: This is a big can of worms to open. Without writing a novel. The moment I knew I wanted to play guitar was when I found my Mom’s old acoustic guitar in a closet, pulled it out, hit the low E string and hit a few frets and it sounded like “Come As You Are” by Nirvana. I was really big into Nirvana and the grunge scene at the time and was instantly hooked. Learned a bunch of Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Guns and Roses, Metallica, Stone Temple Pilots, and started a high school cover band my senior year. Moved out to Montana (from Iowa, circa 1997), lived in the dorms, got turned on to Phish, the Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic and for the first time listened to “Darkside of the Moon” in a hazy, dark dorm room, complete with blacklight posters, in South Hedges on the MSU campus.
LP: Are there any Missoula moments that are particularly memorable/special to Pinky?
LF: There are so many Missoula moments that are memorable. The first time we played the Top Hat, I remember thinking, “woah, big stage, lights, big sound system… we made it.” This was the old Top Hat, a little grittier and back when you could still smoke in the bars. I remember it starting off pretty slow, but by the end, it was packed and raging. Of the many things I love about Missoula, most is probably how loud, crazy and raging the crowds are. Always incredible energy. Those first few times at the Top Hat, building that crowd, seeing how each time we came back it got crazier and crazier.
LP: Anything specific about Missoula you’re looking forward to?
LF: We tend to be creatures of habit and only have a small amount of time when we get to town. I usually drive my Suburban with Dustin Tucker (lead vocals, lead guitar) and Joe Kirchner (keytar, keyboards, pink wig). Sometimes Tyler Schultz (organ, keyboards) will hop in. Usually its the three of us. The three of us are the remaining of the founding members, Joe and Dustin grew up together here in Bozeman. We hit Wheat Montana in Three Forks for lunch and almost always listen to at least one Radiohead album on the drive. We usually drive straight to the Wilma, but if we have time, try to hit up Liquid Planet downtown for great coffee or essentials. Then set up and sound check. Order food from the Top Hat, then almost always watch Family Feud in the green room. For some reason, its always on when we play here, always. Show happens which is always a blur, then load out. Some of us never miss an opportunity to hit up the Rhino after the show, always a treat and spectacle. The post-Rhino scene never ceases to be an ample amount of entertainment. Then stumble to the Holiday Inn to sleep it all off. The three of us usually hit up the Old Post in the morning for breakfast and bloody marys. Then back to Bozo.
LP: Anything else that you’d like to share?
LF: Pinky loves the Zoo! Some of our favorite fan moments and energy happen when we play here. We all get amped up to play the Wilma. We’ve played some incredible shows here, yes. Though Dustin and I always feel we don’t bring enough production, like we do to the Bozeman shows. Now with the extra LED wall, lights, Frank, our video guy Dan Haywood, Chuck on sound, we can finally give Missoula what we do at home. Hope y’all are ready!