Art imitating, well, art

By Brenda Anderson Langley Times

Published: February 23, 2010 1:00 PM
Updated: February 23, 2010 1:53 PM


If they handed out medals for rock and roll, Ted Moore knows that — in his world, at least — the gold would go to New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi every time.


Randy Robertson (as Richie Sambora) guitar, vocals; Mike Champigny (as Hugh McDonald) bass, vocals; Ted Moore (as Jon Bon Jovi) lead vocals James Meyer (as David Bryan) keyboards, vocals Doug Grant (as Tico Torres) drums.

But the lead singer of the Fraser Valley tribute band Blaze of Glory is more than OK with silver because, as he puts it, he and his band mates are “proudly second best.”
Randy Robertson (as Richie Sambora) guitar, vocals; Mike Champigny (as Hugh McDonald) bass, vocals; Ted Moore (as Jon Bon Jovi) lead vocals James Meyer (as David Bryan) keyboards, vocals Doug Grant (as Tico Torres) drums.

“We want to get as close to Bon Jovi as we can, but we’re never going to be Bon Jovi,” says Moore, who has called to talk about his group’s upcoming show at Langley’s Summit Theatre.

“I’m a hardcore Bon Jovi fan. It’s evident when you see the act,” he says.

“One hundred per cent complete authenticity is the biggest yardstick. Obviously, we’ll never get there, but if you go over the top by trying to add your own thing, you end up disappointing the audience.”

But unlike an actual Bon Jovi concert, with tens of thousands of fans packed into a massive arena, Blaze of Glory is designed as more of a Vegas-style cabaret act, with costume changes and an easier pace, Moore explains.

“There are no giant screens and it’s more showy than the average night club experience.”

Ever since they formed two years ago, the group has gone further and more in-depth with capturing the Bon Jovi sound, he says.

“It’s tailored for the die-hard fan.”

Moore has actually met Jon Bon Jovi on a couple of occasions, but not since he restyled his hair and voice, and began trying to emulate the rocker on stage.

In fact, the famous singer once complimented Moore — who was performing at Club Soda as Ted Moore and the Border at the time — on his version of Drift Away which, Moore says, made it into Bon Jovi’s repertoire shortly afterward.

Probably coincidence, he adds with a laugh.

“I was playing both times (the two met). I know he knows who I am, but I’d be nervous to call and say, ‘Hey, Jon, guess what I’m doing.’ I know he’d rib me.”

Moore, who lives in Chilliwack, got an early start in the business, chasing his dream of being a musician as far back as the 1980s. In about 1995, he finally got the record deal he’d been hoping for, but when it all dissolved in front of his eyes, the singer decided it was time to re-evaluate.

“I was getting to an age where I was thinking about other things I wanted to do,” he says.

So Moore became an elementary school teacher. But even then, he didn’t entirely abandon his musical roots.

“I’d bring the guitar to school, and the kids would say I looked and sounded like Bon Jovi.

“I noticed the tribute phenomenon had taken off and I thought, if I go back, what could I do?”

He tossed around a few ideas, including a John Cougar tribute, but eventually came back to the obvious.

“Bon Jovi was such a natural fit.”

Setting out to recreate the band’s look and sound as closely as possible, Moore went through hundreds of hours of footage of Bon Jovi in concert.

Then he began checking out the Lower Mainland’s bar band scene, picking out players who also looked and sounded like their famous counterparts and offering them spots in his new act.

“I spent weeks at it, but I got all my first choices,” he says.

Moore plucked musicians from nightclubs in Surrey, Langley and Burnaby to form Blaze of Glory.

“Then I force fed them hundreds of hours of Bon Jovi footage — I indoctrinated them,” he laughed.

After another 150 hours of rehearsal the band was finally ready to pay tribute in front of a paying audience.

When the band hits the stage at the Summit Theatre on Friday night, it will be just Moore’s second time performing in Langley in 20 years.

Although Blaze of Glory has been performing in front of predominantly younger audiences — second generation fans in the 19 and up age range — Moore expects to see more 30- 50-year-olds at this show— people who prefer not to go out to clubs.

They’ve also set their sights across the Atlantic, with plans in the works for a tour of Western Europe.

The band also recently recorded three tracks for a disc featuring tribute bands, which will be released in Germany in the early summer.

As far as Moore is aware, Blaze of Glory is the only North American act that is being included on the CD.

“We recorded Bed of Roses, Living on a Prayer and It’s my Life.

“It’s a pretty big thing for us.”

Summit Theatre is at 20393 Fraser Hwy. Call 604-530-2211.

Tickets are $22.50 (plus service charges) at Ticketmaster and Casino Guest Services. Doors open Friday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.

Tributes pour in to Summit Theatre

Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Rolling Stones, Patsy Cline, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bon Jovi.

Yeah, sorry. None of these guys — alive or dead — is coming to Langley.

But audiences can have the next best thing, if they don’t mind a little make believe.

From the Longriders — a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd — on March 6, to Willy and the Poor Boys sitting in for CCR on April 1, the Summit Theatre inside Cascades Casino is going to ring out with some fairly big-name acts in the coming month — kind of.

On March 19, Steel Wheels will pay homage to the Rolling Stones inside the Vegas-style show lounge.

On March 26, Bonnie Kilroe will take audiences back in time, before Patsy Cline’s fatal plane crash.

And kicking it all off this Friday, Feb. 26, is Blaze of Glory — Chilliwack musician Ted Moore’s version of Bon Jovi.

If the Langley theatre’s lineup seems a little heavy on the tribute acts, there’s probably a good reason for that, says music promoter Rob Warwick, who runs Rock.It Boy Entertainment and is responsible for booking all of the artists in question.

“I put shows into a building that makes sense,” he says.

And the Summit Theatre, with its Vegas-like atmosphere, is exactly the right venue for tribute acts, he says, offering as evidence, the fact the last two tribute shows he booked into the theatre, including one to AC/DC, sold out.

Ticket prices are certainly a factor, he believes.

“You can go to a live show for a fraction of the cost of the real thing,” says Warwick.

And, if it’s done well, he says, “you can close your eyes and you think you’re hearing the real thing.”

“Initially, I thought it was for reasons of economics, but it can’t be as simple as that,” says Moore.

Yes, tickets are less expensive, but Moore thinks the popularity of impersonators has as much to do with their accessibility.

“It’s intimate,” he says of the Langley show lounge.

“You’re not going to see Bon Jovi in a 250-seat theatre.

“This brings people as close as they can get.”