Mike Pinera, the groups' founder explained that "oldies" in the Rock and Roll music industry represent music before the Beatles, 1965 down to the 50s.
"Post Beatles represent 'Classic Rock' like Jimmy Hendricks, the (Rolling) Stones, the Who and my band of course, Iron Butterfly," he said. "What we do that is different from other groups is we do all the hits from the bands we were in backing each other up. We have four guys in our band who do multi-platinum, multi-gold records that were done by the bands we were in. So, the audience gets treated to 90 minutes or more, hopefully they let us go more, of solid number one hits and top ten hit songs."
Pinera has a rich musical history of his own, from playing in Iron Butterfly to the group Blues Image, which recorded "Ride Captain Ride." The other members of the Classic Rock All Stars include Albert Bouchard played with the Blue Oyster Cult, Goldy McJohn from Steppenwolf and Prescott Niles from the Knack.
Pinera also has the distinction of once playing in the Alice Cooper Band. "We don't talk about that to much," he laughed. "We don't want to scare people."
Pinera who has toured since 1969 loves music saying it is a career he never wants to come to an end.
"We came from an era where people wanted to be a musician to do something. Now it seems musicians are here to be something," he said. "We never cared about being anything. We just wanted to do, to encourage people and inspire them. That has reigned through the many years we have all been playing. We just love when people come up to us and say how much our music meant to them."
"They come up to us after the show and say, 'you got me through Vietnam' or "you got me through college' or a divorce. It is so nice that you have touched people's lives for the better," said Pinera. "What is interesting I noticed, while touring, that the shift of the audience went from the baby boomers to a much younger crowd. The baby boomers are bringing their teenage kids who love classic rock. They love the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Santana. It is often so cute to see the mom and dad, in their tie dyed shirt with junior, who is 15 or 16 with his tie dyed shirt and beads."
Pinera said he loves talking to the fans and enjoys doing so after the show. When they play at the Arcadia Theater next week, he has a special gift for the readers of this article.
"I love to give things away. When the fans come up to our table after the show, I will have concert posters to give away. They will have to ask for them," he said. "I'm giving you the scoop on this. This way I know who read your story."
After one show, a young fan came up to Pinera in Charleston, W.Va., and said 1732.
"I said 1732 oh, did something happen here in 1732 and he kept saying 'dude, 1732' and he was getting visibly upset over me not knowing what he was referring to. Then I said, 'that was the song 'In A Gadda Da Vida' by our group Iron Butterfly.' The kid laughed and said, 'now you got it dude.' He was so happy."
That song Pinera added was the first song of any song to be awarded the Platinum Award.
"Prior to 'In A Gadda Da Vida' there were only gold records given to Elvis and the Beatles. Iron Butterfly got the award because the song stayed on the top of the charts for 56 weeks. A normal stay on the charts for a hit is usually two weeks or even a month at the most."
Because of the success, the record industry invented the Platinum Award that you now see all the time.
Pinera feels that the Iron Butterfly was often "snubbed" because it was not a "commercial band" having public relation releases.
"We just went out there and draw 100,000 people at some of the concerts. What is neat is knowing that when we were on tour our opening band was Led Zeppelin, who is still known as one of the best classic rock bands," he said. "Everyone knows Led Zeppelin. Little do they know that Iron Butterfly went on tour with Led Zeppelin which was the opening band."
As Pinera ended the telephone interview he added, "Rock is back, bigger and better than ever."
Frank Cunsolo, the executive director of the Arcadia Theater, agreed with Pinera.
"It is really wonderful to have a classic rock band of this caliber at the Arcadia Theater. We have had so many wonderful tribute bands play here, but this time we have the real performers doing the music we all remember from the bands they once were in," he said. "This is going to be a great concert."
For tickets to the show, contact the Arcadia Theater box office at 814-467-9070, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.