There was a time when being in a tribute band in L.A. was frowned upon. But over the years that opinion has changed and Peace Frog is in part responsible for the elevation of tribute acts in the L.A. music scene. Peace Frog IS the ultimate Doors’ tribute band and has been sending chills down the spines of their concert goers for over 20 years.
Fronted by Tony Fernandez, Peace Frog was conceived in Venice Beach in 1998 and has played to sold-out concerts around the world.
The Doors were also established in Venice Beach and, if you listen to the banter of Fernandez as The Doors’ Jim Morrison, they began at an earlier incarnation of the Venice Beach Bar. Fernandez allows that this is where the guys would gather and consume LSD and croissants in the early days of 1965.
Man do I remember those days. Wild, strange days of LSD indulgence and dancing barefoot until my feet would bleed…yes, those were the salad days of The Doors.
Very recently it was proclaimed The Doors Day as it was the 50th anniversary of the birth of The Doors in Venice Beach.
As for the live performance of Peace Frog, it was as if Morrison himself was performing in front of my totally enraptured eyes. The Doors were one of the few local acts that I saw around town on numerous occasions and know well the mannerisms and banter of Morrison as well as the note to each Doors’ song. Peace Frog brought back memories that had long been buried in the abyss of my mind.
Resurrecting memories long forgotten is what a good tribute band should do for its audience as well as evoke the sounds of an era that rang true to the the adage “Freak Freely”…Peace Frog is that kind of tribute band.
During their heyday in L.A. as rising stars, I saw The Doors at the Whiskey a Go Go, Hollywood Bowl, The Hullabaloo and The Theater in The Round in Woodland Hills. It was at The Theater in The Round that my first love and I got so hot listening to the music of The Doors that we hurriedly left the gig to get into his panel truck…Come On Baby Light My Fire.
More than that memory is the admiration of Morrison’s mannerisms as well as his well documented banter.
Fernandez has them down. Fernandez informs his fans that he used Val Kilmer’s performance in Oliver Stones’ “The Doors” as his inspiration. It is an interesting footnote that Kilmer had to seek out the services of a therapist to work through his total immersion into Morrison’s personification. Some say it didn’t work.
Fernandez tells his fans that he discovered The Doors when he was 11 years old and first heard “The End” in the film “Apocalypse Now” and it helped him cope with the domestic violence that was occurring in his home life and his feelings about it. The rest is history. Fernandez feels that it was meant to be that he discovered The Doors and met Morrison through his music. Fernandez channels Morrison like no other.
As I was watching Peace Frog perform, I kept thinking of a quote by Whitney Houston. “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” In my mind, Peace Frog has managed to keep The Doors and Jim Morrison alive more than any other act that I’ve seen other than the original band.
There were lots of young people at the performance as well as Boomers totally getting into the music. A Boomer from Redondo Beach, CA told me that "Morrison must have had a disturbed mind to come up with the lyrics that he wrote, but then if he hadn’t have been there probably would not be the body of work that there is.” Agreed.
For those that do not know, Peace Frog is a song by The Doors which hints at Morrison’s haunting by an Indian Shaman, brutal images and blood.
If you go to www.peacefrogband.com, you will see raves from The Doors’ Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger, CBS News and Dick Clark. Krieger has even stepped up and jammed with Peace Frog. You will also see the current listings for their upcoming performances. Peace Frog is looking to expand their show to become more theatrical in order to do justice to the genius of The Doors. They are looking to raise money at Indiegogo at www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-ultimate-doorsexpereince-featuring-peace-frog#
The proof is in the pudding so to speak so check them out at their next Venice Beach Bar gig on February 19 @3pm.
The last show was sold out and packed so be sure to go to their Facebook page and get tickets there.