ALAMEDA -- Alameda musicians Mark Showalter and Pat Potter remember playing together in bands as teenagers.
"I graduated from Alameda High School in 1970, and Mark Showalter graduated in 1972," Potter said. "We played together in high school, then again in 1979."
They are still playing music together today as part of the band "House of Floyd," a tribute band to Pink Floyd. The group performed Aug. 30 at Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland.
Showalter began "House of Floyd" in 2005.
"Our very first gig was actually at the Marketplace on Park Street," he said. "We agreed to provide music in the parking lot."
Potter said: "Wow, what humble beginnings. In 2008, we played Crab Cove as part of the free summer music concert series. Then our luck changed, and in 2008 and 2009, we headlined at the Ojai Classic Rock Festival. That concert series really stepped us up in terms of the types of venues we began to book."
The band has its roots in Alameda. Three band members are from Alameda: Showalter, who plays saxophone, keyboards and lead vocals; Potter on lead guitar, slide guitar and vocals; and Louis Portela, on bass guitar and vocals.
Other members include: Greg Studley on lead guitar, keyboards and vocals; Stewart Burr on drums; Sherri Showalter, backup vocals and lead vocals; and Mellissa Harley on backup vocals and percussion. Showalter, who is the leader of the band, also toured with Gregg Allman and Friends.
"It's a great story how he joined the band. When the Allman Brothers Band wasn't touring, Gregg Allman went into the Park Street Saloon and heard the Alameda All Stars band performing. He liked what he heard and hired those guys for his band. Then Mark auditioned on saxophone and joined the band for three years of touring," Potter said.
In September 2012, "House of Floyd" toured India. They performed in nine cities including New Delhi, Lucknow, and Bangalore.
"It was a place of incredible extremes," Potter said. "Extreme weather, extreme poverty and extreme wealth. Also, extreme warmth and friendliness from the people toward us. The audiences were fantastic. They knew every word to all the songs. We were only the fifth tribute band to visit the country. They just love classic rock. It was an experience I will never forget.
"Now we are playing some California Indian casinos like Feather Falls, Cache Creek and Jackson Rancheria at the end of September. They welcome us, too, and really treat us great," Potter said.
"House of Floyd's" first set at Yoshi's on Aug. 30 was from the "Dark Side of the Moon." They opened with the tune, "Breathe" with Potter on slide guitar and lead vocals. The song seamlessly moved into "Time," which was augmented by video clips of factories, time clocks and human workers as puppets manipulated by a mechanized society. "The Great Gig in the Sky" featured the stunning three-octave vocal range of Sherri Showalter, who is a classically trained singer. There are no recognizable words, just her searing vocals pleading and crying while video shots of the earth dissolve into images of fiery destruction brought about by natural disasters, nuclear bombs and continual warfare. This song brought the audience to tears. It was followed by Pink Floyd's classic "Money," a song even more relevant today.
For more information about House of Floyd, go to www.houseoffloyd.com for upcoming concert dates, photos and how to join the group's mailing list.