Andrew Lipke, the multi-instrumentalist for Led Zeppelin tribute band Get the Led Out, first fell in love with Led Zeppelin in a shopping mall.
"I was 12 years old," he tells New Times from his home in Philadelphia. "I was in a Spencer's or a Hot Topic, one of those stores that sells novelty items and naughty joke books. They had the Led Zeppelin poster with the hermit on the mountain hanging up. I thought it looked so cool that I started listening to them. It was right when I started learning to play guitar, so I got a guitar magazine with the tabs on how to play 'Stairway to Heaven.'?"
Lipke went on to get a college degree in musical composition and released five solo albums of classical music mixed with alternative rock, then got a call to join Get the Led Out. "I had done some keyboard work at a studio, and the guys in Get the Led Out remembered me," he says. "I wasn't sure about it at first. I had always played original music. But I did it temporarily and found I really enjoyed the challenges."
Part of the challenge is that the band tries to replicate as closely as possible live the songs from the band's original recordings. "A lot of time, onstage, I have to reproduce things Led Zeppelin did with multiple overdubs. On 'No Quarter,' I have to play a Wurlitzer with my left hand and at the same time play a piano with my right hand. On 'Rain Song,' I have to play cello, Mellotron, and piano."
One of the songs Lipke most enjoys playing is "Kashmir," for which he incorporates 25 different sounds mixed together to achieve the same sound as on the album Physical Graffiti. He also loves playing "Black Dog" because on that one, he says, "I get to play guitar."
While Lipke truly loves playing and studying the legendary Led Zeppelin, "I can understand why Robert Plant doesn't need to do Led Zeppelin again," he says. "Why do what he's done before? He's doing great things now – why deal with people saying Led Zeppelin aren't doing it as good as they did it in 1973?" That's what Get the Led Out is for.
Get the Led Out
8 p.m. Friday, March 18, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $25 plus fees. Visit ticketmaster.com.