Already Gone comes to St. John Theatre; Houston-based band has surprising local connection
Published 11:13 am Wednesday, February 1, 2023
RESERVE — St. John Theatre’s grand re-opening continues Saturday night with the second installment of the 2023 concert series following a year-long intermission post-Hurricane Ida. Houston-based rock group Already Gone, the premier Eagles tribute band in the South, will electrify audiences at 7:30 p.m. with pitch-perfect harmonies, intricate musical arrangements and a surprising local connection.
Saturday’s concert will mark the debut of Already Gone’s original song, “Days of Our Youth.” For band members Jay Bourgeois and Leroy St. Pierre, the song is reminiscent of growing up in St. John the Baptist Parish with a high school band and a dream of making it big, all while playing for pennies and being happy just to make $10 at the end of a night.
Bourgeois and St. Pierre are both alumni of St. Peter Catholic School and St. Charles Catholic High School. They first played music together in the band Vengeance when Bourgeois was 14 and St. Pierre was 16, before life carried them in different directions.
“It’s interesting because one of the first shows we did together was a talent show at the St. John Theatre when we were in high school. When Jay moved to Houston, we got separated. Almost two years ago, I got with the group and we reconnected, so the song is kind of like coming back to our childhood,” St. Pierre said. “To me, the song is a reflection of all the hard work we put in as kids and all the dreams we had of playing music. We all wanted to do it for a living, and as you grow up, you graduate, go to college, start your careers and your families, but music is always a part of musicians.”
St. Pierre said the camaraderie between the five members of Already Gone makes the band stand apart. Their passion for music is evident by the way they regularly sell out shows, even when booked almost a year in advance. The February 4 show at St. John Theatre was almost fully booked during the presale.
While the five veteran musicians in Already Gone don’t dress like the Eagles, speak like them or act like them, they give tribute to one of the greatest classic rock acts in history in their painstaking attention to the musical details. What started in 2006 as a creative outlet for the original band members to challenge themselves musically and vocally led to a surge in popularity as word spread about their witty stage patter and mastery of The Eagles’ trademark choir harmonies.
Fans have remarked that lead vocalist Clint Springer sounds incredibly like Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh in his renditions of Hotel California, Take it Easy and Rocky Mountain Way, respectively. In addition to Bourgeois and St. Pierre, the current ensemble also includes guitarist Harry O. and multi-instrumentalist Johnny Ono.
After gaining prominence as a leading tribute band, it was inevitable that the band would delve into writing original pieces influenced by the bands they grew up with. Their debut EP, The Open Road, released in 2017 on the same day Hurricane Harvey struck Texas. Their second original album, 8-Tracks, released in 2020, and the band teased there will be more original music to look forward to in 2023.
St. Pierre, who still resides in LaPlace and makes the drive to Houston four to five times a month for rehearsals, is excited to welcome his band brothers to his neck of the woods. Already Gone last performed at St. John Theatre shortly before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extended closure that followed.
Introducing the 2023 concert series, St. John Theatre invited each band to select a charity of choice. Already Gone selected Perry’s Posse, a local organization that meets the emotional, financial and spiritual needs of active cancer patients in the River Parishes and beyond.
The organization was formed in 2014 by Tanya Roccaforte at the request of her godchild, Perry Levet, in the final days of his fight against leukemia. His last wish was for her to assemble a nonprofit to extend the kindness and support he had received through his journey to other cancer patients in the community.
Levet was active on the music scene in St. John Parish along with St. Pierre and Bourgeois, first as a keyboard player and vocalist in Vengeance while in high school. St. Pierre and Levet continued to perform together locally in various groups for more than 20 years and even formed a two-person band at one point. St. Pierre was involved in the “Take Five for Perry” benefit concert to raise funds supporting his medical expenses and even sang at his funeral.
Members of Already Gone share Levet’s desire to assist cancer patients, especially since former percussionist Danny Lee endured his own battle with cancer.
“When (St. John Theatre Board President) Sterling Snowdy mentioned that we could get involved with a charity, Jay and I said there’s only one that we can pick,” St. Pierre said.
Joan LeBouef, public relations manager for Perry’s Posse, said being chosen as Already Gone’s charity of choice reinforces the nonprofit’s motto, “Quitting is not an option.”
“After all these years, the love of music, friends, community and service to others comes full circle and in Perry’s vision for us to help cancer patients go through their cancer journey as people helped him in his,” LeBouef said.
The St. John Theatre box office and a calendar of upcoming events can be accessed online at stjohntheatre.com.
Those who can’t make it to this weekend’s concert can still experience Already Gone’s soulful melodies by visiting alreadygone.net and following the band on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Already Gone’s covers and original music can be found on all major streaming platforms, including Spotify.