Audio Heist Challenges the Limitations of a Cover Band, but Still Play "Freebird"

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Audio Heist members from left to right: Paul Honcharski-drums, Jack Licata-vocals, guitar, keyboard, Tony Alfano-guitar, vocals, Ryan Schoeneck-bass, vocals






In a time where the popular music market often presents us with poseurs and easily forgettable performers, where in the world does a cover band fit? When examining a lack of originality in the music industry -- the endless supply of teeny-bopper pop (the Biebs, anyone?) and commercial rock 'n' roll (Creed, dude) -- you'd think the epitome of anti-originality is a cover band, that these acts merely learn the riffs, remember the words, and can figure out how to use an amp and a microphone. Right? Wrong.  

Audio Heist, a quartet made up of truly talented and passionate musicians, begs to differ. They challenge the notion that "cover band" is a dirty nine-letter word. To them, covering other artists' music is not restricting them to the South Florida mitzvah's and dances (although they're more than happy to oblige), but instead, it showcases their skills weekly at various venues from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Their most recent accomplishment was playing in front of the thousands of Beerfest attendees at a Boca Raton event earlier this year. 

When we sat down and chatted with the guys from the band, they had no qualms about discussing the nature of their music. 

"For us, there's nothing wrong with being a cover band," says bassist and vocalist Ryan Schoeneck, "Would I not love to do this full time? Fuck yeah! But we're realistic, and are just grateful for any opportunity to play." 

The boys are all exceptionally down-to-earth, approachable, and understand that cover gigs are limited in terms of selling out stadiums and making millions, but hey, they get to do what they love. "We picked up our guitars and played our first show together two years ago," Schoeneck tells us, "and now we're downtown every week, playing places like Tarpon Bend. We can't complain!"

This group of 20 to 30 somethings has a lot more to offer than just googling and memorizing guitar tabs and reciting lyrics. What Jack, Ryan, Paul, and Tony do in every performance is heist some lovable favorites by Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Franz Ferdinand, and The Killers, just to name a few, and rock out their own spin. A favorite for the guys is  "Tainted Love" by '80s favorite Soft Cell. They add fuzzy bass lines and have Paulie wail on the drums. The band "breaks down into the mellow swing, Jack sings some pretty melody backed by smooth jazz guitar.. Then BAM! We're back in the song," Schoeneck says. Not a fan of the older rock/pop genre? Not a problem for Audio Heist who has an arsenal of modern tunes ready for the crowd, like Neon Trees "Animal,"  "Sex on Fire" by Kings of Leon, and Cee Lo Green's hater anthem (and a personal favorite) "Fuck You."

What seems most compelling about "The Heist" is that they know exactly what they're doing, copy-catting that is, but they feed off of it, and it works to their advantage. "We get asked to play 'Freebird' at least once a night," the guys laugh, "And as soon as we hear it shouted, no matter if it's five minutes into the first set or at the end, we stop everything and break into it." The band continues the hilarious story of lead singer Jack making his way to the guilty party who slurred out "WE WANT LYNYRD!" at the top of his or her lungs first, and serenades them for the entire song. You ask, Audio Heist delivers, and you always get what you ask for. As they say, Be careful what you scream out at a show askin' for!

Audio Heist's will play at Tarpon Bend this Thursday, May 17 from 10 to 2 a.m. For a list of other local shows visit them on Facebook. Tarpon Bend is located at 200 SW 2nd Street in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. 


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Jack, can you void order 12356, thanks

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