A doctor, music teacher, appliances sales manager, real estate agent, customhouse broker and Village Clerk walk into a bar…
They pick up their instruments and break out into a Billy Joel Tribute in front of a full house at on Saturday night.
This is no joke.
The was formed in 2009 by band head Pat Farrell (vocals and piano), Robert Goebel (guitar and synthesizer), Lou Kouvaris (lead guitar), Nick Cangemi (drums and percussion), Paul Tuthill (alto/baritone Saxophone) and Peter Salvato (bass and backing vocals).
“We’re all friends, we’re all in different bands and we wanted to put a project together to do Billy Joel because Pat [Farrell] sounds so much like him and looks so much like him and plays so much like him,” said Robert Goebel, who is also a chiropractor.
The Cold Spring Harbor Band specializes solely in a chronological tribute to the music and life of Billy Joel.
“We cover all the different nuances of his songs from the strings and the sax and the vocals,” Goebel said.
The Cold Spring Harbor Band came to fruition when Goebel told Farrell, “You have to be in a Billy Joel Tribute Band!” and now — aside from Farrell’s 120 other shows a year with his Alpine Rock Band, Die Schlauberger — Goebel got the band together and they practice in Farrell’s studio once a week.
Village Administrator of Floral Park Farrell and Jay’s Appliances sales manager Kouvaris have always had a strong passion for music.
“[Music] was a hobby that became a business — a very, very busy business,” Farrell said. “It’s a home away from home … I’ve played in places I’ve never even dreamed of and it became a big deal.”
Farrell is a six time Grammy contender and voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He has been playing around the country in places such as Carnegie Hall, Shea Stadium and he has performed on the Dr. Oz Show, FOX Morning Show, QVC Television Network and News 12.
Similarly, Kouvaris was in a band in his early twenties that almost made it to the top.
“I used to be in a rock band called ‘Riot’ many years ago and we were signed to very many record companies in Europe … we were very famous in Europe,” Kouvaris said.
With that band, Kouvaris opened for Neil Young, Journey, Rick Derringer and South-Side Johnny. He also just finished a CD of his favorite rock songs of the 1970s and did some studio work for the Village People.
“Now I’ve been freelancing with a lot of different bands, but this is one of my favorite bands with Pat Farrell,” Kouvaris said. “He is an incredible musician and he mimics Billy Joel very, very well.”
The band played two sets of Billy Joel’s songs ranging from his Cold Spring Harbor album in 1971 to his Storm Front album in 1989. The show kicked off at 8:30 p.m. and kept rockin' until midnight.
“I love [Billy Joel’s] music, I love his lyrics; it’s a very passionate type of music to play,” Kouvaris said. “I’m more of a rock and roll player, but I can really tone down what I do and it flows in nicely."
Audience members grooved to the music and sang along to their favorite tunes as the band jammed away under flashing lights.
“Pat Farrell is great … his voice is amazing and he’s a great person,” said Fara Gaertner. “I came out here for him. We work in the same industry and he’s great.”
A bunch of audience members were cheering on music school teacher of Washington Street Elementary School in Franklin Square, Paul Tuthill.
“I came out because I used to work with Paul [Tuthill] and he’s fabulous and he does a fabulous job with the kids at school,” said Liz Hunt of Oceanside. “I’ve always wanted to hear him play, so I just thought this was great. I’ve only known him for a couple of years, but I know that he’s just a fine musician, so I figured this would be a great band to see.”
To that same degree, Fran Rossetti of Franklin Square wanted to see her child’s music school teacher in action.
“He is an awesome musician,” Rossetti said of Tuthill. “They are fabulous; it sounds like we’re at a Billy Joel concert."
The band's comraderie comes from what Goebel explains as the members of the band being “the best guys around; all sweet, we all love to play together and we love Billy Joel music.”
The band that plays together stays together.
“When you’re younger you want to move around, when you’re older you want to stick together,” Goebel said. “We’re a family and we want to stay that way.”