.‘Petty Theft’ headlines Bodega Bay fest

For over half a century, the annual Fisherman’s Festival in Bodega Bay has been a destination for live music, crafts, food, entertainment and more.

And for those who love their libations, expect more than 25 Sonoma County wines and a plethora of top-shelf beer choices.

There are also many activities for the kids, such as face painting, spin paintings, games and a touch tank tide pool. Foodies can relish in the myriad eats, which include barbecued oysters, fish & chips, clam chowder and a handful of food trucks serving different fare.

music in the park san jose
music in the park san jose

At the heart of the outdoor festival are this year’s musical guests, on Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5, which include The Unauthorized Rolling Stones (a Rolling Stones tribute), Rotten Tomatoes (’70s and ’80s rock), The Pinball Wizards (a Who tribute), 7 Summers (a Morgan Wallen tribute), The 7th Sons (’60s to ’80s classic rock) and the longest-running and most successful Tom Petty tribute, Marin County’s Petty Theft.

We caught up with Petty Theft guitarist Monroe Grisman as the band was finishing a slew of April gigs and preparing for yet another handful of May shows, including headlining Saturday’s Bodega Bay festivities.

Bohemian: Petty Theft has been together for 21 years now. That’s quite an achievement for an original or tribute band. How many of the members were there from the beginning?

Monroe Grisman: Our founding members are Django Bayless (bassist/vocals) and Dan Durkin (lead singer/acoustic guitar). In the early years, there was some turnover in the line-up before we settled into our core group, which has now been performing together for 16 years. Our newest member, Steven Seydler (keyboards), has been in the band for six years.

B: How does the band juggle its members’ schedules with you and the drummer playing in AZ/DZ (an AC/DC tribute), your wife and you playing in the April & Monroe Grisman project, Dan doing solo shows and more?

MG: All of us play in other bands and still write and record our own original music too. Singer Dan Durkin also plays with The Illeagles (Eagles tribute) and Revolver (’60s tribute) and works a lot doing solo acoustic shows. Michael Papenburg (guitar) and Steven Seydler both do a lot of session work and also write music. Michael also teaches at the School Of Rock.

Adam Berkowitz (drums) and I are both in two other bands together, AZ/DZ (AC/DC tribute) and The 85’s (’80s dance). I also play in a reggae classics group called Soul Jah Family Band. My wife, April, and I have recently written a bunch of songs and have started recording and performing out locally under our names. As far as how do we juggle all this, I got two words for you: Google Calendar.

B: Any advice for budding musicians wishing to start a tribute?

MG: A lot of people think that starting a tribute band is an easy way to start packing clubs. While the process may be easier at first, as the songs are already written and the road map, musically speaking, is there, you still have to be good. It can be a double-edged sword, as fans already know the songs (and well).

It generally takes at least three years to really start hitting your stride playing the music together as a band. Petty Theft didn’t start drawing our own crowds until about five or six years into it, in part because our line-up was still in flux, but also because we were still developing our chemistry as a band. Some people think that tribute bands have it easy, but we have worked our butts off. My advice? Do it because you love doing it and always have fun doing so.

Petty Theft (a Tom Petty tribute) plays the Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival inside Westside Regional Park located at 2400 Westshore Rd. in Bodega Bay. For more info and tickets, visit bbfishfest.org. All ages are welcome for this family-friendly event.

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music in the park san jose