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  • Romeo Delight, which bills itself as the ultimate Van Halen tribute band, is part of a trend that's gaining in  popularity. (Photo: DisCompany)

    Romeo Delight, which bills itself as the ultimate Van Halen tribute band, is part of a trend that’s gaining in popularity. (Photo: DisCompany)

    Say what you will about tribute-bands, but the first tribute band (The Buggs) appeared in 1964 at the height of Beatlemania. In fact, tribute bands now account for the No. 1 form of live entertainment.

    Bands are re-creating the music with amazing fidelity of Queen, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Metallica, Pink Floyd and Billy Joel, who even snagged one of them for his current band.

    Romeo Delight is the No. 1 Van Halen tribute band. With the future of Van Halen in question, right now, they’re the band to see to hear the band’s classic tunes.

    For the record, the track “Romeo Delight” is off Van Halen’s third-studio album, 1980’s Women and Children First.

    They are booked in New York City at The Cutting Room in June, if the COVID-19 virus quarantine is lifted by then. But The New York Independent caught up with Delight front-man Buddy Blanch for a Q&A.

    NYI: We hear you’ll be coming to NYC shortly, June 20, at The Cutting Room. Tell us about that appearance.

    Blanch: This event will be special because Romeo Delight ‘The Ultimate Van Halen Tribute Band’ is the only tribute band in the world that performs multiple phases of Van Halen. Primarily specializing in David Lee Roth Van Halen era, plus a few Sammy Hagar Van Halen Hits and their Greatest Solo Hits.

    NYI: And, you played at Daryl’s House last month. What was that club like?

    Blanch: It is an amazing, world-renowned, iconic venue. It’s an honor to be added to their roster of famous celebrities. We have performed multiple sold-out shows at Daryl’s, so we might add multiple nights. We will be back there on June 6th.

    NYI: Give us a quick history of Romeo Delight.

    Blanch: It all started with connecting with lifelong friends, including Bassist Joby Parendier, who loves to play Van Halen. We decided to put our energy and creativity into Romeo Delight. The more we performed, the bigger the band became, and with our fans it’s a great experience.

    Monkee Micky Dolenz and Romeo Delight front-man Buddy Blanch. (Photo DisCompany)

    Monkee Micky Dolenz and Romeo Delight front-man Buddy Blanch. (Photo DisCompany)

    What turned out to be a fun weekend show started gaining a huge following and led to us being the No. 1 most-viewed East Coast Van Halen show on YouTube. Then, we were named one of the top tribute bands in the country and recognized in the Van Halen book “Unchained” as both top tribute and top vocals. The band now is a group of talented musicians who love play the great timeless music of Van Halen.

    NYI: Seat Geek reports that the very first tribute band appeared at 1964; at the height of Beatlemania, and they were a tribute-band to The Beatles called The Buggs. Amazing, right?

    Blanch: It is amazing! The Buggs had the right idea. It really goes back to giving people the entertainment they desire. Multi-platinum artists create musical work that is appreciated by the largest of audiences.

    NYI: David Lee Roth acknowledged the band, right? Give us the details on that.

    Blanch: David Lee Roth created and hosts “The Roth Show” Podcast. He selected our YouTube video performing “Just Like Paradise” and incorporated it into his new video version. It was definitely a highlight for us.

    NYI: Micky Dolenz of The Monkees is a Romeo Delight-fan. Give us the intel on that.

    Blanch: Micky Dolenz is an amazing person and a close personal friend. He has been a great supporter of the band and has insisted on performing with Romeo Delight for several East Coast Shows as the headlining band when he sings at the Official Monkees Conventions.

    NYI: Who are the other members of the group?

    Blanch: On bass guitar and vocals is Joby Parendier, on drums and vocals is Michael Natalini, lead guitarist and vocals is Kevin Somerville, and Kyle on keyboards!

    NYI: Buddy, tell us a little bit about your background?

    Blanch: I started as a vocalist and songwriter and then started playing guitar and piano. As a teenager and early twenties, I helped create a few regionally successful music groups. I also worked in more commercial pop and alternative groups. Now performing with Romeo Delight I have almost accidentally stumbled into having one of my most successful groups of all.

    NYI: We understand that there just may be original music from the band? Tell us about that?

    Blanch: Yes, I’ve completed a catalog of original music. I’ve had interest from several labels, including Capitol Records. I’d love to release an album in the future.

    NYI: OK, we’ll be at the Cutting Room show. Thanks for speaking to us.

    Blanch: Thank you for the interview, and I look forward to seeing you there.

    Check out the video below and click here to go to the band’s website.