Ever heard of the Lexington Lab Band (LLB)? No? Then you need to check them out! Hailing from Lexington, Kentucky, they are a cover band but one that absolutely breaks the mould! LLB has a roster of rotating musicians that supplement its core performers.
They are Mike Vandemark, the band's creator, on guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals; Derrick Breaux, who plays guitar, bass and vocals; Dale Adams, guitar; Rob Pottorf, keyboards and Ryan McQuerry on the drums.
Mike worked as the Programming Director at Southland Christian Church in Lexington. He was in charge of 90+ musicians who performed at church services each week. Mike has always been fascinated with the mechanics of songwriting. He wanted to cover songs not to try and improve them but to fully explore how it was originally created.
Some other cover bands recorded whole albums, and he wanted to do the same thing. However, he was unsure if he could find a group of musicians interested in learning to play an entire album. That's when fate intervened. He saw the Darryl Hall show Live At Darryl's House. The show featured a new guest each week, and they had dinner and played each other's songs. The show set off the lightbulb in Mike's head; this could work.
He reached out to his friend and fellow musician Dale Adams. He was one of the area's most talented guitarists, with over 150 guitar tutorials on YouTube. He had also been pondering a cover band that featured a different artist's work at each performance. The pair brainstormed and found they both loved the idea of copying songs exactly to see how they were constructed. They agreed to move forward and also document their journey on YouTube.
The band came to life, and their following on YouTube started to grow. First, they decide as a group which artist they want to cover. Then, all the members involved in that particular project commit to studying and practising alone for six weeks until their part is a perfect replica of the original. At that point, they all come back together. Mike explains, "we come together on a Monday night to rehearse and then film it on a Tuesday. We don't rehearse together for six weeks and that's the magic of it"
It's not a rehearsal exactly as all the members already know their part back to front. Instead, the band is figuring out how to put all the pieces together like a jigsaw. " It's really an academic thing more than a jam session, hence 'Lab' in the band's name. We are playing the song and enjoying it because we aren't having to figure out our parts together," explains Mike.
This unique approach gives LLB a precision and flavour you don't find with other cover bands. That may explain why they have 130,000 subscribers on YouTube, and their cover of Foreigner's Waiting for a Girl Like You has been viewed 18.6 million times. It's fascinating and a little mind-bending to listen to songs that are exact replicas of the original, yet the voices are different. If you've never checked out this incredible band, do it now. You won't be disappointed.