Nine Lives lead singer Jake Pilewski never pictured himself in a cover band. Turns out it’s been one of the most positive musical decisions he’s made.
“I got so into the writing that I said, ‘You know, I would never be in a cover band. I would rather play a dive bar the rest of my life making chump change a night just as long as I’m playing originals,’” Pilewski said. “Well, then reality sets in, and you start realizing, ‘Oh, I’ve got bills and I’ve got to do this and I’ve got to do this.’”
Formerly of local band Highland, which also featured Nine Lives members Mike Toth and Mike Haskins, Pilewski said he didn’t consider playing covers an option until he went to a music convention in Harrisburg, Pa., where Fuel vocalist Brett Scallions was speaking.
“At the time he had just left Fuel, and he was telling this story about how Fuel was a big cover band all around Harrisburg, Pa., for years,” Pilewski said of Scallions. “And he said in Harrisburg, they were artsy, but still these places were going to hire bands to play what the bar crowd wanted to hear, which was cover music.”
That experience, as well as seeing Cincinnati cover band The Menus live at Put-In-Bay, was enough to convince Pilewski to give covers a shot. He and Haskins left Highland nearly three years ago to join Toth in Nine Lives, a move that proved to be fruitful.
It wasn’t long before Nine Lives was playing at some of Toledo’s bigger bars and events, including fundraisers at The Blarney Irish Pub and Mud Hens’ Opening Day.
“It definitely was worth it right off the bat when we started seeing the reaction from people,” Pilewski said. “It made the whole decision to start playing cover music a lot easier.”
Comprised of Pilewski, drummer Toth, lead guitarist Haskins, Tim Bauer (guitar/piano/sax/harmonica/vocals) and bassist Chad Singleton, Nine Lives will perform on Aug. 10 at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic as part of the tournament’s Friday at The Farr festivities.
“We are absolutely stoked,” Pilewski said. “That’s one of those things that we’ve heard over the years, like, what a party it is.”
Pilewski and Nine Lives are particularly excited to play at the tournament given that it’s not their typical venue.
“We love the usual [venues],” Pilewski said. “That’s what keeps us going, but it’s great to play something completely different because there’s kind of a bit of mystery and mystique about the whole thing, that you go in not knowing what to expect.”
Part of what has helped Nine Lives find so much local success is its versatility. The band covers everything from 1950s era music to pop, classic rock, blues, dance, country and Top 40 hits.
“Whether they were born in the ’50s or they were born in 1989, I mean, we have a little bit of something for everybody,” Pilewski said. “They always say, ‘You can’t make everybody happy,’ but we come pretty close to it at least throughout the night, as long as people stick around the whole set.”
Friday at the Farr will take place during the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club, 7455 Erie St., in Sylvania.
Daily tournament tickets start at $15 and are available at the gate or Shawn’s Irish Tavern, which is also providing shuttle service on Aug. 10 from its Toledo location, 4400 Heatherdowns Blvd. Weekly tickets are $50 and are available at local Kroger stores. Kids 17 and younger get in free with an adult. More ticket information is available online at jamiefarrtoledoclassic.com.
After the final golfer finishes her round at approximately 7 p.m., Nine Lives will perform at the public pavilion at Highland Meadows as a grand finale to the Friday at The Farr festivities.
For more information, visit facebook.com/ninelivestoledo or facebook.com/KlingersClub.