Led Zeppelin died with John Bonham on September 24, 1980. The camaraderie among the group was so strong that the band could not possibly move on without him. That same kind of bond is the reason local Led Zeppelin tribute band
Custard Pie will say farewell this weekend, though under more fortunate circumstances. Vocalist Rhett McGahee and her family are making the move to Isla Mujeres, Mexico.
“We’re actually staying in the U.S. longer so we can do the show,” McGahee says. “We did not anticipate our house selling as quickly as it did.”
The group’s final show on July 20 at the
Highland Brewing Company represents the culmination of eight years of friends jamming on music they loved and bringing that joy to local audiences.
“We’ve all kind of felt a deep connection to that music,” McGahee says. “I guess it was in 2005 that we started playing together. David Connor Jones, the bassist, and myself are very old friends and we have always found ourselves off in the corner playing Led Zeppelin tunes.”
Though the original intention was jamming out, friends started to take note of just how hard the pair could rock some Led Zeppelin tunes. They recruited drummer Jamie Stirling and guitarist Aaron “Woody” Wood and brought their interpretation to the masses.
“We really just wanted to have good friends get together to play some good music,” McGahee says, “but as it turns out, people were in serious need for some Led Zeppelin.”
Part of the group’s appeal, besides their uncanny musical talents, is McGahee’s spot-on take on Robert Plant’s renowned vocal range. But though the choice may throw people at first, McGahee does not feel like the idea is too surprising.
“I think it would actually be difficult for most men to pull off his voice,” McGahee says. “I’m not trying to sound like him, but it’s something that just kind of happens.”
They have also drawn audiences for much the same reason Led Zeppelin did: diversity. Custard Pie has never shied away from tackling the entire breadth of Led Zeppelin’s musical output.
“I think it’s important to have different dynamics within a show,” McGahee says, “so it’s nice to have those rocking power moments, but it’s also nice to step back and be a little pensive and have a song like ‘Thank You’ or ‘Going to California.’”
The group played many local dates over the past several years, but began to take things easy over the last couple years to allow Wood to focus on other musical aspirations.
“Basically, Woody needed some time to kind of work on his solo project, and we wanted to support him in doing that,” McGahee says. “He needed time, freedom, and flexibility to be able to go where that took him and it was strictly to kind of support his endeavor in doing so.”
And now, with McGahee and her family making the big move to Mexico, Custard Pie has decided to lay down the Hammer of the Gods and move on. But McGahee has no plans of ending her musical career when she gets to Isla Mujeres.
“There’s a wonderful music scene down there,” McGahee says. “It’s primarily a vacation spot, but there’s a really great community that lives there and just lots of music, arts, and good food. It’s pretty great.”
But despite an optimistic future, McGahee says the farewell show will be a bittersweet moment as close friends say goodbye to each other and to the city that supported them.
“This is going to be a really heartfelt moment coming up here,” McGahee says. “We’re all really, really close. We’re definitely family. It’s going to be really fun and really beautiful and, you know, heartfelt. So thank you from all of us.”
Custard Pie will play the Highland Brewing Company on July 20th at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For more information visit
www.highlandbrewing.com or call (828)299-3370.