You can’t always get what you want. Take, for example, The Rolling Stones playing a Fourth of July bash in downtown Fort Myers.
Sorry, rock fans.
It’s just not happening.
But that’s OK. Instead of the real Mick and Keith, you can get the next best thing tonight: Fake Mick and Fake Keith.
The members of tribute band The U.S. Stones strut around the stage and strike rock-star poses just like the real deal, circa the late 1960s and early ’70s. “Ron” has a couple of drinks before picking up his guitar. “Mick” prances and wiggles and swivels his hips. “Keith” slurs his speech and looks cool in a bandanna.
And, of course, they all bang out gritty Rolling Stones hits such as “Paint It Black,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Sympathy for the Devil.”
With enough beer and the right lighting, you might even fool yourself into thinking you’re watching the genuine article.
It happens, band members say.
“The crowd starts believing it after awhile,” says Denny Curatolo, who plays drummer Charlie Watts. “They actually start to think they’re at a Rolling Stones show…. So I guess we’re doing our job correctly!”
The Tampa-based band returns to downtown Fort Myers tonight for the annual Freedom Fest Block Party. It’s one of many Fourth of July events throughout Southwest Florida this weekend.
This will be The U.S. Stones’ second time playing downtown Fort Myers. They also rocked the city’s News Year’s Eve block party in 2012.
That was one of the four-year-old band’s biggest shows so far.
READ: Fourth of July events in Southwest Florida
“It was amazing!” says Chris Curatolo, aka “Ron Wood.” “That many people at one time. I heard there was 20,000 people there!”
The band responded to the crowd’s enthusiasm and fed it right back, says Doug “Mick Jagger” Baird. “It was exciting! The energy that we were pulling from the audience was amazing.”
Baird’s lifelong love of The Rolling Stones is perhaps the biggest influence on The U.S. Stones.
“As a little boy, I’d play the drums to ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’ and drive everybody crazy,” he says. “And the first thing I learned on the guitar was ‘Brown Sugar.'”
That’s why Baird puts so much time into getting all the Mick Jagger details right, from his black skinny jeans to the way he taps his foot to his “spazz-tastic” dancing.
Other band members put just as much thought into their own look and sound.
Ron Wood look-alike Chris Curatolo downs a few drinks before each show, just like the Stones guitarist used to do. And Mark Alan — the only actual Brit in the group — doesn’t go onstage without his Keith Richards bandanna and “messed up bedhead.”
As for those famous Mick Jagger lips, Baird’s bandmates joke about how he gets them looking just right.
“We punch him in the mouth before every show,” jokes Denny Curatolo. “We use hemorrhoid cream on his lips before each show.
“I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Don’t write that!”
Charles Runnells (News-Press) (Facebook) @charlesrunnells (Twitter)