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Spike and the Impalers

KZOK DJs rock the Emerald Queen

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Seattle’s classic rock radio station, KZOK 102.5 FM, has a highly-rated morning show host named Bob Rivers. Rivers is known for his intelligent and humorous satire on his talk radio program, but he also has a deep affinity for music. Rivers has recorded several records of what he calls Twisted Tunes, for which he pens humorous lyrics to well-known songs. As a natural extension of his rock ‘n’ roll habit, he and his charismatic sidekick, Spike O’Neill, have taken their act from behind the airwaves onto the stage with their rock cover band Spike and the Impalers, who last December had the honor of opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Seattle P-I called Spike and the Impalers “a Northwest supergroup, albeit tongue-in-cheek.”

Rivers plays keyboards, and front man O’Neill puts his knack for celebrity impressions to good use covering classic rock heroes such as Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Joe Walsh, Aerosmith, Van Halen and Queen. Other radio show sidekicks make cameo appearances in the live show. “Downtown” Joe Bryant has been known to throw in his virtuoso cowbell skills on occasion, and Kaci Aitchison, who is a great singer, trades off with O’Neill at the mic. 

The band backing them is nothing less than professional, with three longtime members of the Paul Rodgers Band: Jeff Kathan on drums, Lynn Sorensen on bass and Joe Shikany on guitar. And because excess is the way of true rockers, the band also added Dudley Taft on guitar, Jay Powers on keys and special lead guitar guests Mark Russell and Ian Crawford, who were winners of a Bob Rivers talent search. Crawford, an 18-year-old guitar protégé, is a crowd favorite who threatens to steal a bit of thunder from these seasoned greats. He also plays with local bands Sex and Violins and Jude Dugan.

Full streaming tunes of Spike and the Impalers, as well as Twisted Tunes can be heard at — Angela Jossy

[Emerald Queen Casino, Saturday, April 21, 8:30 p.m., $20-$30 at Ticketmaster, 2024 E. 29th St., Tacoma, 888.831.7655]

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