dent Randy Slama called his playing with "Wanted: The Bon Jovi Tribute Band" "a dream come true."
Slama, who plays guitar (and, by extension, Richie Sambora) in the tribute band, said he has been playing with "Wanted" for about two years and has played guitar for more than 30 years. He said his experiences with "Wanted" "gives me he opportunity to perform music I love at some of the best venues in the Midwest."
n What is one aspect about your job that many people might not know?
People don't necessarily understand how much time and effort we spend individually and as a band practicing and preparing for a performance.
n Is this your full-time or "day" job?
This is a passion that has turned into a part-time job, but I hardly think of it as a "job."
n How did you get your start in this position?
I was playing with a group of guys in a "cover" rock band and we came to the sudden realization that we had the ability to emulate Bon Jovi's music particularly well. We made the change to a Bon Jovi tribute band and it was the best thing we ever did.
n What is your most impressive career moment so far?
Having the opportunity to perform at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame after having been selected Cleveland's Best Tribute Band in 2011 by Cleveland Magazine.
n What kind of training do you need to do this job?
I am a self taught guitarist that has put in years of practice to get to where I am at today. My advice to others would be to take guitar lessons to put the necessary building blocks in place and then play from your heart.
n What would your dream come true be?
I would love the opportunity to meet Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi and have them join us on stage. That would be a great privilege and honor.
n Where/when will you be performing in the near future?
We will be kicking off the Rock the Park concert series on June 14 at the Perici Amphitheatre located at 10260 Ravenna Road in Twinsburg. General admission tickets are $10 and VIP Patio Access tickets are $35. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.rocktheparkconcert.com.
Memories and more
Slama said the greatest compliment is to hear that "Wanted" sounds like Bon Jovi.
"There are many Bon Jovi fans out there that truly appreciate our efforts and dedication to replicating the music of Bon Jovi," he said. "The diehard Bon Jovi fans want to hear the music exactly the way it was recorded. That means I need to learn and play the songs virtually note for note and that I also have to replicate the playing style of Richie Sambora, who is an accomplished guitarist. This has proven to be a challenging task but with a lot of hard work, practice and determination I believe that I am now able to replicate most of what Richie Sambora did on the original recordings. I grew up listening to the music of Bon Jovi and that helps me relate to the music and play it with feeling. Playing at local clubs in a cover band over the years also helped me get used to playing in front of live audiences."
Slama said one of his most memorable moments came from their first show, when they were asked to play at House of Blues Cleveland.
"With just three days notice and only 10 Bon Jovi songs under our belt, we were asked by the House of Blues Cleveland to perform as an opening act for a national touring Journey tribute band," he said. "It was a great opportunity but it was our first show and we had no idea what to expect. As fate would have it the headlining act was late getting to the HOB and we were rushed to do a sound check behind closed curtains as people began to fill in the venue. When the curtains opened we found ourselves standing in front of a capacity crowd. All went well. It was an incredible experience and one that I will never forget!"