About the Band
Since 2002, Tributosaurus has been paying homage to a different artist once every month. Our goal is to exactly re-create the sounds of the original recordings as closely as possible, whatever that may entail. Consequently, the core members of the group have become incredibly adept at designing sounds, transcribing performances, recognizing and creating widely varied arrangements -- managing to do this with a completely new catalog of material every show. Every month we feature a wide array of guests, including horn sections, string sections, ethnic instruments and ensembles, multiple guitarists and keyboardists, and many singers both lead and supporting. This has put us in the unique position of having a direct line to the largest network of top-flight players in Chicago, all of whom know us and thankfully jump to work with us. Our musical community expands and grows closer, monthly. The Tributosaurus core has become the ultimate musical chameleon, able to jump from style to style, from ensemble to ensemble easily. We know and listen to each other attentively, which makes each of our live performances sound like a BAND, as opposed to a group of random assembled players. It's rock and roll, and it has to feel right. Of course, what really makes the project work is our great love and respect of the music. The material is treated with reverence, as an orchestra treats the classical canon. We love what we do, and we have more fun than ought to be legal every time we play.
=== THE CORE ===
Chris Neville - Keyboards, Vocals, Guitar
Chris functions as the Musical Director of Tributosaurus, and handles most of the vocal arrangements as well. While not wrangling huge ensembles or tech issues for each month's show, he operates a recording studio in Oak Park, just outside Chicago. He has played on many commercials and industrial films, as well as composing for film and for games. Chris has performed live with a slew of popular artists including Jim Peterik (Ides of March, Survivor), Van Ghost, Buddy Guy, Deion Peyton, Bo Bice, Mike Reno (Loverboy), Don Barnes (.38 Special), Martha Davis (The Motels), to name only a few. He has also performed on many albums with various artists like Robbie Fulks, David Avram, Lisa McClowry, and many more.
Curt Morrison - Guitars, Vocals, Harmonica
Curt has played on literally hundreds of television and radio commercials for McDonald's, Coors, Allstate, Burger KIng, State Farm, Toyota, etc. He has played guitar and many other instruments on children's television shows, including Jack's Big Music Show on Sprout, and Bunny Town on Disney channel. Also, Curt has played guitar on songs by Cher and David Cassidy. Curt also is a highly sought after educator, and maintains a successful private teaching practice.
Dan Leali - Drums
Dan has performed live or on recordings with such artists as Jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker, songwriters Jewel, Liz Phair, Peter Himmelman and Robbie Fulks, Poi Dog Pondering, Fareed Haque, Bluesman John Primer, and Liquid Soul. He also has played in the pit for several popular shows including Spamalot, Wicked, Aida, and currently Million Dollar Quartet. He’s performed on television and radio jingles as well as arcade and video game soundtracks, and maintains a private teaching practice.
Jon Paul - Basses
Aside from performing around the Windy City with a multitude of bands, Jon Paul, a multi-faceted acoustic and electric bassist, is a first-call studio veteran. With Fareed Haque, Jon has done several international tours and a quartet of superb multi-culti jazz recordings: Opaque, Déjà Vu, Cosmic Hug and Flat Planet. He’s also toured and recorded with keyboardist Jesus “Chuchito” Valdes, including on the Grammy nominated Keys of Latin Jazz. Other performance credits include Danilo Perez, Tony Furtado, Frank Catolano, saxophonist Mark O’Connor, Paulinho Garcia, Grazyna Augiscik, Ron Hawking, and The Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra – just to name a few.
Matt Spiegel - Vocals
Matt Spiegel has been singing forever. The mid-90’s saw he and his brother Jon form BROTHER BROTHER, a 10 piece funk & soul band. They cut a couple records, but his dream of rock stardom officially died at age 27, and was buried with a smile. Then in 2002 the idea for Tributosaurus came to him, and the concept the band embarked on together has shown lasting power. Now he sings, fronts, helps to format and arrange vocals, and tries to banter responsibly. You’ve heard his voice on many commercial jingles, telling you to replace windows, get loans, or gamble your money away. Working in Chicago radio since 1994, Matt was the founding producer of Sound Opinions, and a DJ at WXRT-FM. Matt can be heard daily on sports radio, co-hosting The McNeil and Spiegel show on 670 The Score.
=== REGULAR GUESTS ===
Kalyan "Johnny Bongo" Pathak - Percussion
Kalyan is one of the busiest virtuoso tabla and multi-ethnic percussionists in the country, and has performed, collaborated and toured with many international artists from jazz, classical and jamband music scenes. KP brings a level of virtuosity to his instruments that makes each show sing at the percussion chair, but he brings so much more than that. The nature of our project requires a special talent for attention to detail, and Kalyan is painstaking in his work ethic – he has played dozens of different percussion instruments and electronics for us over the years, and has a mastered each instrument. More than that, the energy and love for the process of music making that he brings to each show that he is a part of is infectious - both to the audience and the performers on stage. Kalyan first started appearing with us in 2002.
Mike "The Mayor" Cichowicz - Trumpet
Mike Cichowicz, son of CSO trumpet player and Northwestern Professor of Trumpet Vincent Cichowicz, studied with his father until joining the US Navy in 1972, where he met and studied with Jerry Hey - of Earth Wind & Fire, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson andmany others. Mike has since played with everyone from Tower of Power to Rod Stewart, from Sammy Davis Jr to Stevie Ray Vaughan, and he brings this wealth of experience to Tributosaurus every time he takes the stage. Mike functions as our horn section leader, and does many of the arrangements for our shows. His great chops and unique facility with sections of all sizes have made him the perfect fit for Tributo since 2004.
Chuck Bontrager - Violin
Chuck uses his electric violin to play lower than most cellos and louder than most guitars, as evidenced by his metal band Vicarious Tool Tribute. You can also find him playing "regular" with the Lake Forest Symphony, the Chicago Sinfonietta, and the occasional Broadway in Chicago production. These diverse influences and a perverse desire to work hard and stand in the back have made him the perfect string section leader and arranger for Tributosaurus. We have required him to play solo fiddle on a country tune, reduce the Bee Gees lush disco strings to a quartet, and to conduct a 30 piece Beatles orchestra, and everything in between. He is still looking for the challenge he cannot meet - we have been trying to give him one since 2007.