MARQUETTE - Two Marquette natives have come back to their beginnings to put on a show for this year's revamped Seafood Festival.
Rick and Brad LaJeunesse, who currently live in Green Bay, Wis., both work in "Project Pink," North America's premier Pink Floyd Tribute Band. The band brought their stage show to Mattson Lower Harbor Park last night.
Rick is the the band's bass player, while younger brother Brad is the sound and lighting technician.
Project Pink performs at Mattson Lower Harbor Park Friday night. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
"I really enjoy the time I get to spend with my brother on the road," Rick said. "Not many siblings get to spend as much time together and me and brother Brad do."
It wasn't a surprise that they both ended up in the music industry. Music is in their genes.
Their father, Dick LaJeunesse, played in many local country and western bands including Western Four, Country Blue Boys, and the Outlaws.
Brad graduated from Marquette Senior High School in 1992. Rick moved to Green Bay the summer before high school, but grew up in Marquette.
The two said coming home and putting on a show for their friends and family is very important.
Rick hasn't been back in five years and Brad makes the trip home only a few times a year.
Friday was a night of firsts for the brothers - it's the first time the band has played in Marquette, and the first time their mother, Berni Reider of Marquette, will see Rick play in Project Pink.
"Since this is my first time seeing my son play in the Project Pink, I think it will be a special experience for myself and all the other family members going to the show," Reider said.
Rick predicts about 50 family members will be in attendance.
The brothers have been working in various bands and shows for about 18 years.
Rick and Brad said they try to keep things lighthearted while on the road, pulling pranks on each other whenever they have the opportunity.
"I once called the front desk of the hotel where we were staying and told them to give my brother Rick a 6 a.m. wake-up call and told them if he didn't pick up to just keep calling. This is after we all went to bed at 4:30 a.m. in the morning," Brad said.
Rick has been apart of many other bands during is musical career, Project Pink being the most recent. He and three other band members have played together for 12 years in a band called Jonny Wade, which has toured all over the country and still tours today.
When starting Project Pink, Rick hand picked his band and crew from old band members and longtime friends.
The band has been in the works for 10 years and performing for four years according to Rick.
While he loves playing in Jonny Wade, Rick said he wanted to create a band that could do large venues with lighting and sound being a large component. Jonny Wade was just not that type of band.
"Its the one thing I can still daydream about - being a rock star," Rick said.
He said he has aspirations to take the band on a European tour in the near future.
"I feel the large venues and demand for a band like Project Pink will do very well in the European market."
After Friday night's special show, today will bring a traditional Seafood Fest day, with a variety of seafood booths and bands starting at noon. A classic car show kicks off at 11 a.m. in the Lower Harbor Park. The bands playing today are the Derrell Syria Project; Wednesday Night Music Club; Gator & The River Boys; Shotgun Kelli and State 51; and Vent.
Proceeds from Seafood Fest will be used to support a variety of community projects. Through the years, more than $500,000 has been raised by the event.
As for Project Pink, it's on to a gig in Manitowoc, Wis., this afternoon.
For more information about the Project Pink log onto projectpinkband.com/bio.html
Matt Keiser can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 243. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org