Written by: Frank Iacono
Chris LeGrand is the executive producer and cast member in the role of Mick Jagger for Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show, a touring tribute to the World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band. Chris founded this Billboard & Pollstar listed show in 2001 with the goal of producing the first touring tribute show in honor of the legendary Rolling Stones.
This highly acclaimed production showcases the most authentic cast and costuming of its kind. The likes of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and supporting cast bring a colorful performance to over 45 years of classic hits. Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show has been featured in Rolling Stone, Showbiz Magazine, Las Vegas Today, CBS Sunday Morning news and hundreds of national newspapers, magazines, television, and radio as the world’s greatest show honoring the Rolling Stones and their legacy.
With over 35 years of experience in the music industry and a bachelor’s degree in business, Chris has grown the Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show into a 150 date annual touring entity along with developing two additional shows: “A Symphony For The Devil” and “Gimme Abbey”.
In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris LeGrand from Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones and asking him a few questions about his musical influences, his career in a tribute band, their set list, and their past and upcoming performances.
The Creative Spotlight: Can you introduce us to the Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show lineup and tell us how you decided on the band name?
Chris LeGrand: The Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show cast includes:
- Chris LeGrand as Mick Jagger
- Jim Riddick as Keith Richards
- Kevin Smith as Ron Wood
- John Wade as Bill Wyman
- Ron Nelson as Charlie Watts
The name Satisfaction itself was my choice from the beginning as I always felt that was not only their greatest song but also one of the greatest rock & roll songs of all time. In the beginning years, it was “Satisfaction-A Rolling Stones Experience” and then around 2005 I changed it to “Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show” just to give more of a global appeal.
TCS: So how long has Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show been playing together and how did you get started?
CL: This is our 15th year on tour. I conceived the show in 2000 and began recruiting musicians who I knew in my local area near Shreveport, LA where I was living at the time. After many years of trying to write my own songs and going thru the frustration of playing the same cover songs in bar bands I decided it was time to step up to something on a grander scale. I kept seeing these Beatles shows touring the country and surprisingly there were no touring Rolling Stones shows. So I knew there was an opportunity.
TCS: At what age did you guys individually become interested in music? And, who or what inspired you to pursue a career as musicians?
CL: I’d say that answer would be different for every cast member. We all were hearing music at an early age from our parents or older siblings. Most kids though really discover music as an adolescent. That’s when it hit me hard somewhere around 12 or 13 years old. The inspiration comes from your heroes you typically discover as a teenager. You dream big and you want to pursue it. That’s doesn’t mean it will happen or you’re guaranteed a career but that’s when you begin chasing the vision.
TCS: Chris did you think early on that you sounded or moved like the legendary Mick Jagger or was it something that you discovered over time?
CL: Well at 13 or 14 I had grown my hair out and I had these naturally larger lips so the comparisons started then. I of course thought that was ridiculous because as a teenager I was gonna do my own thing! I had no idea a few decades later it would become a career. When I started this show I had the vocal talent and I certainly wasn’t shy but I had no idea what I was challenging myself with until I started studying. It took me 6 months before we did our first show where I was comfortable to go out in front of people. Still then I had along way to go. I would say it’s not a natural thing to portray someone else. Your default button is to be yourself so it takes a lot of time and dedication.
TCS: Let’s talk about the music for a moment. When you’re in a tribute band, obviously your music will be picked apart and compared to the original. So how did Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show sculpt its sound and its stage performance?
CL: The key word in everything we do is authentic. So with the music it starts with the original recordings for authenticity. We then shape and augment a few things for live performance. We may extend a song here or there or include an extra guitar solo. etc. In the end though we always refer back to the original recordings. Those are the sounds that are etched in everyone’s ears.
TCS: What do you guys feel is the hardest aspect of re-creating a Rolling Stones show?
CL: Trying to play all of the songs everyone wants to hear! It’s just impossible to play every hit and every fan favorite from that catalog in a 2 hour show. There are 14 or 15 songs we definitely have to play every night. The obvious huge hits. And then from there we have to pick and choose another 12 or so we feel may appeal to the particular market or audience. We know about 75 songs so that can be a challenge.
TCS: What do you feel sets Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show apart from other Rolling Stones tribute bands?
CL: To this day, we still have the only full-time touring show of it’s kind in the world. We are somewhere just over 2,500 shows in our 15 year history so we maintain a high level of performance by working so much. Honestly we do more shows in a year than all of our close competitors combined.
TCS: How many gigs does Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show play annually and what and where are some of the venues in which you’ve performed?
CL: The average is around 125-130 shows a year but it has gone as high as 150. We have performed in every major US city several times and hundreds of small towns and communities across the country. We’ve spent time on the Las Vegas Strip and at Walt Disney World and everything in between. That gives you our broad spectrum of clients! Just too many cities and venues to start naming them!
TCS: If Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show could perform in any venue in the world right now, national or international, where would that be and why?
CL: We have never performed in London so that would be our dream show. Let’s dream big and say Wembley Stadium!
TCS: What are the most requested Rolling Stones songs at your shows?
CL: It’s a long list consisting of the following:
- “Honly Tonk Women:
- “Paint it Black”
- “Jumping Jack Flash”
- “Start Me Up”
- “Miss You”
TCS: Of the songs that Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show plays from The Rolling Stones’ extensive library which ones are your most and least favorite? Equally, is there a song from The Rolling Stones that you guys really love that is not currently included in your set list? If yes, then why.
CL: We certainly don’t have any least favorites. Some of our personal favorites include “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” and “Midnight Rambler”. They are sort of longer pieces with extended passages so it’s fun to stretch out a bit on those. We love “2000 Light Years From Home”, “Dandelion”, “She’s a Rainbow” and some of the more psychedelic material that we have not performed yet but we have plans to with our symphony show. Without the orchestration they just wouldn’t work.
TCS: What types of guitars, drums, and other musical equipment does Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show use to create a unique The Rolling Stones sound?
CL: Fender amps guitars, basses, and Gretsch drums are the basics.
TCS: As a collective group, the band, what has been the toughest challenge you’ve faced to date, and do you think it made you stronger as performers?
CL: Two failed managers! I decided to manage myself after they nearly broke and ran the band in the ground. That was during the first 5 years though. Since 2005, I’ve been in complete control and the band has had it’s greatest success. Sometimes you just have to take the reins and do it yourself. No one will pay attention to details like you will.
TCS: Tell us about how proud you were in 2005 as your production became the first ever Rolling Stones show to debut on the Las Vegas strip as part of Legends In Concert Show?
CL: That was a huge turning point. I’d had been calling and emailing the good people at Legends since 2001 with no success. I just never gave up and then one day they called ME. We were in the midst of firing our second manager and they asked us to come to Florida for sort of an audition concert they were doing these on a temporary basis. We did the show and they loved us and offered us a 6 month deal in Las Vegas. Since then we’ve been part of their family and we still do stints with them on occasion.
TCS: Tell us about the background behind two other Rolling Stones–based shows that you’ve developed called “A Symphony For The Devil” and “Gimme Abbey/The 1969 Concert”!
CL: Both are huge endeavors that are really taking off. For “A Symphony For The Devil”, I was aware that rock symphony pops shows were becoming popular and I again did not see anyone performing the music of The Rolling Stones with a symphony. We hired an arranger and he and I put together some interesting arrangements to enhance these classic songs. It’s basically our same cast combined with a local town symphony. We send them the charts and we typically rehearse once with the orchestra and we’re off to the show. It’s been very well received with over 30 performances so far. Clever title too.
For “Gimme Abbey”, we’ve done hundreds of shows with Beatles groups over the years. The problem was they never had a theme. Considering The Beatles broke up in 1969 and The Rolling Stones are still around the shows didn’t really have a timeline that made sense. I decided to create a concept show based in the year 1969 and to tell the story of the year in history and center it around a concert from that time period. I partnered with a great Beatles show called “The Return” and we are just getting this off the ground. It’s a full multimedia show with a big surprise ending!
TCS: How do you market Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show songs, merchandise, and appearances?
CL: We primarily stick to the band website, Facebook, and ReverbNation which ties into everything. We also do some Google and Bing ads. I’m not too sure why anyone would want to follow a tribute band on Twitter. The 2 hours onstage is exciting. The other 22 aren’t!
TCS: Has anyone in Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show met any of the members of The Rolling Stones?
CL: We’ve run into Keith and Ronnie along with some of their family members in our travels. They’ve never watched our show or hung out. Mostly just a quick passing hello.
TCS: Have you played with any other The Rolling Stones tribute bands and if so what type of reaction have you received?
CL: We’ve hired some former members of our competitors for part-time and full-time work. I don’t think we’re going to see all us of performing together though.
TCS: Besides Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show, if you could individually play a set with any artist alive or dead who would you choose and why?
CL: As a teenager Aerosmith was one of my favorite bands. They were like the American Stones to me. It would be a blast to hang with Steven and the boys!
TCS: What does the short and long-term future look like for Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show?
CL: We are getting to the point where we almost have more work than we can handle with one cast. We have a Broadway producer who is looking at “Gimme Abbey” for New York and possibly London. Honestly I envision we will have to expand to at least 1 more cast in the next 12 months and maybe 3 full-time casts within 3 years. Business is great!
About Frank Iacono
Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.
Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.