Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Band of the Week: Distant Signals 

Meet the Band: Matt DeSantis (bass), Mike Moscato (lead guitar), Dave Normile (percussion), Dave Smith (lead vocals, guitar) and Don Tomlinson (keyboards, pedals, guitar)

In the Beginning: This year marks the Pittsburgh-based group's fifth anniversary. When keyboardist Don Tomlinson started the group, he set out to pay tribute to one of his favorite bands, Canadian prog rockers Rush. "I've been a Rush fan for over 30 years so I always wanted to do this," he says. "I thought it would be difficult to find someone who could sing and to find someone to play the drum parts, which are difficult and have lots of time changes. We found some good players and some have dropped off but now we have the best sounding group we've ever had."

The Keys to Success: Tomlinson says the band's ability to work keyboards into the mix separates it from the slew of other Rush tribute acts that are out there. Even though Rush didn't use any keyboards on its first album, it starting incorporating them in the late '70s. By the early '80s, the group used them heavily. "Originally, my thought was to focus on the '80s songs because I play keyboards and not a lot of Rush cover bands do that," Tomlinson says. "We're branching out to do older stuff and even stuff from the band's most recent album Clockwork Angels." While Rush was and is only a trio, Tomlinson doesn't see any problem with having two extra players in his band. "We have five people in the band and some diehard bands might turn their noses up," he says. "I'm okay with that. I don't care if it takes 10 of us. That's what we do. All we want to do is recreate the music they create. We even put sound effects in."

A Cleveland Connection: On a recent trip to Cleveland, the guys met local sound engineer Mark Baker at a concert and Baker offered to do sound the next time the guys were in town. He'll be on hand for this gig and Tomlinson couldn't be more excited. "He's an excellent engineer," he says. "He knows the material and knows us so well. The sound and lights were incredible at our show. People will be really impressed."

Why You Should Hear Them: The band's rendition of "Distant Early Warning" features the tune's beefy bass riffs and high-pitched vocals as the band delivers the song precisely, nailing all its off-kilter time signatures. The group also plays "Tom Sawyer," one of Rush's biggest hits, with plenty of swagger and accurately replicates the trippy synthesizer riffs.

Where You Can Hear Them: distantsignals.net.

Where You Can See Them: Distant Signals perform at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, at Brothers Lounge.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays