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Houserockers ready to rock the house Sunday


Town Crier file photo
The Houserockers, performing at a First Friday event in downtown Los Altos, are slated to play the festival for the fifth time.

The Houserockers play a lot of festivals each summer, but founder Paul Kent said few of them compare to this weekend’s Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival.

The annual event, which Kent described as "absolutely top-notch," is one of the band’s favorites - not only because of the wide array of entertainment, food and art, but also because of the crowd it attracts.

"My favorite thing is the vibe that the event creates - it’s a moment of time in the middle of summer that people look forward to," he said. "For those two hours on a July Sunday late afternoon, there’s a great party going on with wonderful people who just want to leave the world’s cares behind and have a good time. Being a part of that is fantastic."

The Houserockers are scheduled to close this year’s festival, taking the Main Stage 4:30 p.m. Sunday. This marks their fifth appearance at the event.

The Los Gatos-based cover band - which specializes in rock ’n’ roll and soul songs by music legends - is celebrating its 15th year together.

Kent, smitten by the raw power of rock and soul songs from the 1960s, founded the band. He sought out musicians who shared his passion for such music by networking with other Bay Area artists. A few years later, The Houserockers were born.

The 10-man band features Kent (guitar/vocals), Simon Santiago (guitar/vocals), Nick Chargin (keyboards/vocals), Steve Strom (bass/vocals), Joe "BAM!" Rizzi (drums/vocals), Mike McWilliams (trumpet), Al Gonzalez (trumpet), Michael Mendoza (tenor sax), Jon Hassan (baritone sax) and Mark DeSimone (trombone). Sound engineer Bill Tasto is integral to the band as well, according to Kent.

Describing them as a tight-knit group, Kent said the band members truly enjoy playing music together. He added that The Houserockers aim "to create a fun house-party vibe whenever (they) play" - whether it be a festival, fair or corporate event.

"Rock the house," Kent said. "That’s what we do."

The band’s set list includes music by the biggest names in rock and soul history, such as the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. They cover songs by contemporary artists as well - including Cee Lo Green’s "Forget You" and Bruno Mars’ "Locked Out of Heaven." The Houserockers also perform songs by one- and two-hit wonders like Tommy Tutone ("867-5309") and The Romantics ("That’s What I Like About You").

"Our band is unique because of our repertoire - we really have something for just about everyone," Kent said. "We cover it all."

The Houserockers perform 50-60 times over the course of a year, according to Kent.

Although Kent said the band members view their jobs as both "the most important thing in the world and the silliest thing in the world," they all respect the artists who originated the songs they love to play.

He added that the band understands that many of the songs make up the soundtrack of people’s lives and stir up sentimental memories in their minds.

That’s why the band works so hard to master each cover song.

San Francisco radio station KFOX rewarded the band’s attention to detail when it recently crowned The Houserockers the "Best Cover Band in the Bay Area" in its Last Band Standing Contest.

For more information, visit svhouserockers.com. m

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