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Tribute Bands

Four groups honor famous music acts — and develop a following of their own.

Tribute Bands

The famous pink pig hovers over concertgoers at a Pink Floyd Experience show. — Annerin Productions

The Pink Floyd Experience: The Ultimate Fan's Band

Here's what you'll want to know about The Pink Floyd Experience, the San Diego based Pink Floyd tribute band: They have a huge floating pig that hovers over the audience, an airborne image borrowed from the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals album.

"It's the only pig that I know that navigates and flies,"says band leader Tom Quinn, 55. "We're on our second pig now. The last one died when the stitching broke down and it lost helium.”

Quinn grew up outside the musical mainstream ("I couldn't even listen to the Beatles; my parents were convinced they were a communist plot.") But when he was in high school in 1973, Quinn got an earful of Pink Floyd's album The Dark Side of the Moon, and he was hooked. He got a guitar, started a band, and Pink Floyd covers topped the playlist. Quinn's music helped put him through engineering school, and he never stopped thinking Pink. In 1997, he and bassist Gus Beaudoin began playing Pink Floyd music anywhere someone would let them on the stage. Now their group performs nationwide, with a new tour beginning in February.

The blues-tinged progressive rock of Pink Floyd isn't an easy sound to duplicate with authenticity, but Quinn says true Pink Floyd fans don't cut pretenders any slack at all: "Just like Beatles fans, Pink Floyd fans know every note, every nuance. They know when it's not right. You have to respect the music."

Quinn has never met an actual member of Pink Floyd, but he did get to see co-founder David Gilmour perform at a taping of The Tonight Show in 2006.

"I was about eight feet away from him," he says. "I was like a little kid."

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