FOX San Antonio - The Valdes View
By: Michael Valdes
An exhausted Mike Wiebe leans against a picnic table at Whitewater Amphitheater to sum up his band's latest performance. "Sometimes the right show is an intense, quick set where everything sounds perfect," Wiebe says.
Intense, quick, and, for fun, let's add the word frantic.
For the past fifteen years, the Riverboat Gamblers have been working hard to become an overnight success. Their songs have appeared on video games, including "Madden" and "Rock Band Three." Their sixth album. "The Wolf You Feed," is getting critical praise and some airplay on satellite radio.
But it's seeing Riverboat live that seems to win over fans one head-shaking show at a time.
"It's not calculated," says guitarist Fadi El-Assad. "There is never a point where we say okay, let's go out there and do this and on this song do this and then you jump up there."
"Yeah there is no choreography," Wiebe adds. "98-percent of life is like paying bills and going to work. So this is the one time to be excited."
The band was started in Denton, Texas where guitarist Fadi El-Assad was going to the University of North Texas and singer Mike Wiebe was enrolled at Texas Women's University.
"He staged an elaborate hoax like "Mrs. Doubtfire"," says El-Assad. Wiebe piles on, "Yeah, it was very "Busom Buddies." It was exactly like "Busom Buddies."
I ask Wiebe if he finished school. "A Bachelors in Psychology. Which is the equivalent of a GED. There is nothing you can do with it."
Lucky for the Texas punk rock scene, the two gambled on a future in music and are now rocking the world with a sense of humor and a sense of thanks for their fans.
"We give it ten-percent and that is all you are going to get... until the check clears," Wiebe says.
"If someone would have told me that fifteen years ago that this band that we were going to start," Fadi concludes. "That some one was going to pay me money to play my guitar in Australia. I would have told them to get the blank out."
"Riverboat Gamblers" are touring the East coast and Canada through October.
They hope to hit San Antonio by the end of the year.
Tuesday, September 18 2012, 09:59 PM CDT
The Valdes View Blog
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