Stairway To Hell

MaineList Article: Stairway To Hell

Stairway To Hell

Who could have guessed that a group of musicians out of Saco could deliver a powerful tribute band combining the high energy of not one, but two epic classic hard rock bands? Stairway to Hell, features the guitar expertise of Craig Wing, a popular guitarist from the Southern Maine area who has been known for his past work with bands like “Riot Act” and more recently “Zebrah”.

The most interesting feature about this full-dress tribute band is that they divide their show into two completely different tributes, one for “Led Zeppelin” with the same blistering guitar solos you remember from Jimmy Page, and the other for one of Maine’s favorite bands; “AC-DC” with more guitar shredding action and a singer who is actually capable of delivering that ever-familiar AC-DC ‘louder than thunder’ vocal style.

The BandAlthough the band has only recently begun to book gigs as “Stairway to Hell”, they have had several years of experience working together as “Zebrah”, an 80’s hard rock / metal band covering all of the classic hits we remember.

The band wanted to expand their horizons and try something new, so the idea of a tribute side-project seemed like a logical transition. But they aren’t about to stop there, these guys have a few other tricks up their sleeve, including a set of original songs that they hope to add into their shows too!

While talking with the band, it seemed fairly obvious that Craig, the band’s spotlight guitarist, was calling most of the shots. One idea that Craig seemed to want to convey was his decision to hopefully allow one of his 10 year old students to join the band on stage at a live performance. “I think it’d be cool to see this hotshot mini-me, dressed like a younger Angus, sharing the stage for a song or two” Craig seemed proud to present one of his own “Craig Wing Guitar School” students and perhaps even create an incentive for his own students to work harder to get those chops down.

“Zebrah and Stairway to Hell are fun, but we hope that this ends up being more of a stepping-stone for us. Our hearts are really into the original music that we’re currently writing on the side.” The band has been doing cover songs for a long time, and really wish to break into some new territory and start to show their fans the true extent of their talents through the exposition of their own songs between sets. “Some day down the road, we might break our show into three segments, with a short set of our original songs in between.” Eric, the bass player of the band emphasized.

The Band (continued)Anyone interested in genuine musicianship would appreciate the attention and respect delivered towards the respective bands that these guys are covering.

Tammy Charles, Craig’s girlfriend, has gone out of her way to hand-stitch a remarkable replica of Jimmy Page’s dragon pants for Craig to wear while he plays the role of Zeppelin’s stylish guitarist. The pants were one of the first things I noticed when I attended one of their shows on The Pier in Old Orchard Beach.

You’ll see Patrick dressing the part of “Brian Johnson”, AC-DC’s front man vocalist, with the same style flat cap that we have all identified as a trademark of the band over the years.

Craig also adorns his role as Angus Young with that ever-familiar school-boy uniform, which wouldn’t be complete without the loose-fit tie and trousers.

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Because of the two widely popular classic rock bands that “Stairway to Hell” is covering, their show may attract a variety of ages and social groups.

The band’s focus is on providing a high-energy evening of hard rock entertainment with a selection of songs to keep the listener’s attention. This music would appeal to a teenager as much as it would to fans who remember these bands when they were still new on the radio back in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

and moreFans love to hear their favorite songs performed by a band who can handle the riffs, chops and vocal expressions of their idols. With accurate renditions of popular songs like “Back in Black”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Highway To Hell”, and “Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap” by AC-DC, and killer remakes for “Whole Lotta Love”, “Rock-n-Roll”, and “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin, listeners are ready to rock with the band!

“We seem to get a bigger response from our AC-DC set.” Damion points out, as he considers common reactions from past shows. (Damion and Eric pictured in photo)

“We have intentionally saved the best parts of our show for last, and so we often place our Led Zeppelin set first because more people seem to respond to the AC-DC.” The guys have been playing around with different ideas, and hope to fine-tune their set to produce the most effective outcome.

Craig WingThere’s a lot of people who really love tribute bands, and when a band really does it right, you can tell. “Sometimes girls ask us to pose with them in photos.” Craig pleasingly announced, while not new to the hype of fans wanting their pictures taken with him, it could have something to do with the way he dresses and acts the part of the bands he portrays.

“I just hope they still recognize me!” Craig joked, aware of the possibility of fans losing track of his own personal identity. “I've been in this business for for 10 years and everyone's always known me as Craig Wing. When I play in a tribute band, nobody really knows who I am. I'm merely an actor in the play.” Craig cautiously states.

Craig Wing contributes to the local music educational system by offering his knowledge of his instrument to students of his own guitar school. (Look for his ad in The Phoenix Magazine).

Craig's past experiences have brought him into situations where he has even taught for a 5-day Summer Camp at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

From his past days with “Riot Act” and “Zebrah” performing guitar acrobatic feats such as Eric Johnson's "Cliffs of Dover", Craig's reputation for precise licks put him in the position as the band's most valuable player.

PatrickPatrick, vocalist for the band and accomplished business owner of two “Planet Fitness” centers in Biddeford and Lewiston, has also been classically trained and has taken on other styles in the past as well.

Along with the heavy vocal styles of his current rock bands, Patrick has done some “Folk”, as well as an acoustic duo known as “Hit & Run” performing easier listening songs from bands like “James Taylor”. It would require a singer with skills to pull off two completely different vocal styles like this.

Line-up
The band's lineup includes; Patrick (vocals), Craig (lead guitar), Damion (guitar / backup vocals), Eric (bass), and a choice of two drummers (Glen and Paul), based on availability and schedules.

You can find “Stairway to Hell” on myspace with an assortment of photos, audio samples, and an up-to-date schedule of the band’s upcoming performances. You might also find some video footage of Craig Wing showcasing his own video guitar lessons which has helped many of his students evolve as they progress in the Craig Wing Guitar School.

Stairway To Hell Drink
There's a mixed drink that shares the band's name. As a courtesy, the band will often converse with the bartender before the show in order to endorse the drink as a special while the band performs. This might present an extension of tribute to the drink as well, which goes to show the extra mile that they are willing to travel to deliver this fantastic rock tribute act!


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