116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Cover bands are often dismissed, but that can't be said for Rubix Kube, a dynamic group delivering ’80s hits.
Established recording artists don't usually play with cover bands, but Rubix Kube has had its share of singers join the band onstage to render their own songs. Dennis DeYoung of Styx fame, Bret Michaels and Bonnie Tyler have jammed with the retro rockers.
“It's been amazing,” vocalist Cherie Martorana said by phone from her Connecticut home. “Bret is amazing. We've played with Bret more than any celebrity. He admitted that he doesn't perform with cover bands but he said, ‘You guys are so good. You're phenomenal. This is about killer musicians having a good time.’
“He likes us so much that when he had a show at B.B. King's in New York, he invited us to open for him. I love doing (Poison's) ‘Talk Dirty to Me.’ He calls me the harmony goddess.”
Audiences can hear those harmonies on Aug. 28, as the New York-based band helps the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort commemorate its 15th anniversary with a poolside concert and fireworks.
What: Riverside Casino’s 15th anniversary poolside party, ages 21 and over
When: 8 p.m. Aug. 28
Where: Riverside Casino’s Pool Courtyard, 3184 Highway 22, Riverside; if it rains, the concert moves inside to the casino’s Event Center
Tickets: $20, standing room only, Casino Gift Shop, (877) 677-3456 or riversidecasinoandresort.com/eventcenter.html
Extras: Doors open at 7 p.m.; bring blankets only, no chairs; no swimming allowed; no outside coolers, beverages or glassware; no smoking in the Pool Courtyard
Likewise, major stars have reached out to Rubix Kube, including an invitation to back Rick Springfield at a private party.
“Rick is one of the nicest guys we've ever met,” Martorana said. “We played with Rick at a Club Med in Florida. It was a fan event and it was filled with 90 percent women my age (50), who were going crazy for Rick.”
Professional football players, actors and members of NSYNC also have joined the band onstage.
Rubix Kube — which also includes vocalists Scott Lovelady and Devon Marie, drummer John LaSpina, keyboardists Mike Pex and Mike Hunter, guitarist Georgios Pesios, and former Trixter members guitarist Steve Brown and bassist PJ Farley — learns who is in town where the band is performing and invites recording artists to the venue.
“Usually they are reluctant at first, but so many of them decide to join us for a song after they see what we can do,” Martorana said. “It's cool whether they come up or not. I've performed with quite an array of ’80s stars, like Colin Hay of Men at Work fame, MC Hammer and Tone Loc. I have no complaints.”
The latter partied up a storm with Rubix Kube.
“Tone Loc had this big bag of weed,” Martorana said. “He said that he flew in with it. I said, ‘You smuggled that on a plane?’ and he said that he did. Tone Loc was wild.”
The band also has been hired by such iconic talking heads as Kelly Ripa and Katie Couric. The latter is so close with Martorana that they recently had a sleepover.
“One of the benefits of being in this band is connecting with people and meeting someone amazing like Katie,” Martorana said. “It's so nice being her friend.”
But it's about the music for the Rubix Kube crew, who love the Reagan era.
“The great thing about the ’80s is that there are so many genres of music. There’s rock, pop, new wave, hair metal and so much more. We put a little bit of everything into our show. The music from that era really means a lot to me.”
While coming of age in Boston, Martorana became a huge music fan because of the radio.
“I loved hearing Richard Marx, Van Halen and Duran Duran on my favorite station,” she said. “I became a huge Pat Benatar fan, and I loved Blondie and Cheap Trick.”
Martorana didn't sing professionally until 2007 but she realized a dream that goes back to her childhood when she attended her first concert in Boston.
“My sister and I saw Huey Lewis and the News and Whitney Houston,” she said. “You don't get any bigger than Whitney Houston. That show and her performance was so inspirational. You can tell she enjoyed singing so much.
“I love singing, particularly the hits of the ’80s. It was such a fun decade for music.”