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Get the Led Out coming to Paramount Bristol

Debra McCown Thomas • Jun 24, 2019 at 12:00 PM

When Paul Sinclair was growing up in the 1970s, it was the spirit of the times: everybody wanted to be a rock star.

It was in that era of intense musical creativity that he and friend Paul Hammond spent countless hours trying to “crack the code” – and perfect a sound that would let them join the ranks of rock-and-roll idols like Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin.

“There’s no college to go to try to become a rock star,” he says. “You just learn from your idols and try to find your way.”

The pair ultimately did find their way into the world of classic rock – but not quite in the manner they imagined.

These days they’re touring together as lead singer and guitarist for Get the Led Out, a band that offers a chance to re-live the soundtrack of their generation through a concert based on Led Zeppelin’s iconic recordings.

Get the Led Out will be at Paramount Bristol on Friday, Aug. 9. Tickets are $32 (plus taxes and fees), and the doors open at 7 p.m.

Sinclair says the idea for the band was first presented as an opportunity to dress up like Led Zeppelin and mimic the band’s live shows. But he wasn’t interested; for him, it was always more about the music. Rather than impersonation, what he seeks to re-create on stage is the experience of an era; Get the Led out strives to play the music as it was recorded, with every nuance intact.

Though Led Zeppelin had just four members, Get the Led Out has six – and sometimes as many as eight people on stage.

Sinclair explains: Led Zeppelin made their recordings in a studio, often with one or more members of the band recording multiple tracks on top of each other, creating a sound that was more than four people could create at one time.

Therefore, it takes more than four people to re-create the version of the music that his generation listened to at home and at parties and on the radio – and that’s what they seek to do.

“Our show is designed so that people can play air guitar and air drum and sing along all night to the greatest rock music ever made,” Sinclair says, “and that’s what it’s all about.”

To him, the music of the Classic Rock era is almost a spiritual experience – equivalent in significance, he says, to the Classical era of the 18th and early 19th centuries, which produced the likes of Beethoven, Bach and Mozart. He likes to compare his band to the orchestras that play that treasured music – cover bands, he says, for the 1800s.

Nostalgic for the creative passion of his own musical era – which began with the Beatles and flourished in an environment of social change, new technology and a diverse range of musical influences – he expects it to go down in history in similar fashion: an important era in the development of music.

One day, he says, groups like his will be thought of less as cover bands and more like the classical orchestras whose musicians spend decades perfecting their craft in order to capture the spirit of compositions penned by the masters.

“To me it’s astonishing the creative output of that time, so I’m just so thankful that I lived through it and that it was a part of the soundtrack of my life,” Sinclair says. “It’s just a joy that I get to keep this stuff alive.”

More information about the upcoming concert can be found at www.paramountbristol.org.