Cheap Thrill is no cheap imitation of Cinderella. The band features Eric Brittingham and Jeff LaBar, two original members of the '80s rock act Cinderella, and Cheap Thrill plays some of Cinderella's greatest hits,
But lead singer and guitar player Brandon Gibbs said fans shouldn't expect to hear him do a Tom Keifer impression when the band plays McMenamy's on Friday. The Fillbillys will open.
"I respect Tom Keifer's music so much," Gibbs said during a telephone interview from his home in Nashville. "I'm a fan of his writing style, so I don't try to mock his tones. We both sing really hard ... but I do it my way, I sing it my way. I don't mock that tone pretty much out of respect for him. It's Brandon Gibbs with these guys, not a Cinderella tribute band. I give it my bluesy, kind of coarse-voice spin on it."
Cheap Thrill — featuring members of Cinderella, Collective Soul and the Gibb Brothers Band — will perform Friday at McMenamy’s.
Special to the Tribune Chronicle
Gibbs, 28, started touring with his twin brother at age 14 in the blues-rock group the Gibbs Brothers Band. He said he didn't grow up listening to the hard rock / hair metal of the late '80s; he was listening to bands like the Allman Brothers and blues artists like B.B. King. But he discovered that music along the way, and the Gibbs Brothers Band became friends with the guys in Poison and occasionally opened for the group.
That's how he met Brittingham and LaBar. Poison and Cinderella were touring together in 2006. The opening act had to miss a date, and the Gibbs Brothers stepped in for a show in Englewood, Colo. He and Brittingham got to talking backstage about doing something together, and Brittingham ended up playing bass for some Gibb Brothers dates.
After the Gibbs Brothers disbanded in 2010, Gibbs went from guitar player to singing and playing guitar, and he and Brittingham played some acoustic dates together. They hooked up with Cinderella guitar player Jeff LaBar, and they hired a drummer to do three shows together last year in Florida.
WHO: Cheap Thrill and The Fillbillys
WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday
HOW MUCH: $10
WHERE: McMenamy's, 325 Youngstown Warren Road, Niles
"It created a little bit of a buzz," Gibbs said. "We didn't even have band name."
They got an email from Cinderella's tour manger inviting them to play on the Monsters of Rock cruise, and they ended up staying on to play for cruises with the Moody Blues and Yes.
"After three weeks of sold out cruises, when we got home there such a demand for us to continue doing what we're doing, and now it's been nine months straight," Gibbs said.
Cheney Brannon, who played drums from 2008 to 2012 with Collective Soul, rounds out the lineup.
"We do a lot of Cinderella," Gibbs said. "We make the Cinderella fans feel like they got their money's worth. We do some of my songs, the originals I've written that are on my record. And Cheney spent five years with Collective Soul, so we touch up on his background.
"Then at the end, we tend to go crazy and throw in several zingers."
Those include covers by acts that fans might expect, like the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want," and some they won't expect, like Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."
"That's kind of our band - we do everyone's music then hit you in the face with songs you'd never expect."