In the 1991 film "What About Bob?" Bill Murray's character (Bob) tells his psychiatrist "there are two types of people in this world: those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't." Super Diamond is definitely for those in the former category.
Super Diamond, a San Francisco-based Neil Diamond cover band, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St. The band is fronted by Randy Cordeiro aka Surreal Neil, who answered questions via e-mail.
BRIAN BUSH: To start with, a three-word question: Why Neil Diamond?
SURREAL NEIL: I grew up with Neil Diamond. My mom and dad played him a lot. He has a lot of hits and I'd never heard anyone sing his songs.
BB: How did the band come together?
SN: I was playing around San Francisco doing the Neil Diamond thing solo and occasionally sitting in with bands. Some guys from a campy lounge band saw me and we decided to put together a full-time Neil Diamond cover band. The first Super Diamond show was March 31, 1993.
BB: Could you give me the names of the band members and their instruments?
SN: Surreal Neil - Neilism and guitar; Matt Diamond - bass; Rama Diamond - keyboard; James Diamond - keyboard; Vince Diamond - drums; Chris Diamond - lead guitar.
BB: They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Have you met Neil Diamond? What was his response?
SN: Mr. Diamond sat in with Super Diamond and sang with the band twice. He was super nice and thanked us for doing what we do. The first time he sang with us, he sang "I Am, I Said." The second time he sang "Cherry Cherry" and "Forever in Blue Jeans."
BB: What does Super Diamond bring to these Neil Diamond songs? How do you make them your own?
SN: We also like a lot of classic rock, modern rock and new wave. We love mixing our other influences into the way we play Diamond tunes. Usually we play the songs heavier, but we also get a kick out of mashing up bits and pieces of old favorites such as "Rock and Roll All Night" by KISS, or "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin into the Diamond songs.
BB: You guys don't have day jobs. Super Diamond is your bread and butter. How do you feel about that?
SN: We are very lucky to be able to travel all across America spreading the "Good Word of Neil."
BB: Top Five Neil Diamond songs?
SN: "Brooklyn Roads," "Love on the Rocks," "I've Been This Way Before," "And the Singer Sings His Song" and "Glory Road."
BB: Do you think Neil Diamond's music transcends generations?
SN: No doubt about it!
BB: What's the average age of your audience? Are you surprised by a younger turnout?
SN: We are always surprised by the younger turnout for our shows. These 20 to-40-year-olds must have been turned on to Neil Diamond by their parents, just like me. Actually, many have told me so.
BB: Do you think he has a polarizing effect? Is it always love-hate with Neil?
SN: It seems like I ran across more haters back in the early days of doing this. I used to get some of that back in the late 1980s to mid '90s. Nowadays, everyone seems to either like or love Neil!
BB: Other than Neil Diamond, what music do you like?
SN: Wilco, Air, Johnny Cash, Kate Bush, Leonard Cohen, The Lilac Time, Supergrass and XTC are a few who come to mind. Danny Elfman makes me happy in the way that Neil does.
BB: How do you see the current state of the tribute music scene? Do you think tribute bands are seen as second-rate?
SN: I personally like tribute bands who do it with a twist. Dread Zeppelin, for instance. More times than not, when I see an original band, they're copying most of what they're doing from some popular band. There are brilliant original bands out there, you just have to look long and hard. The Billy Nayer Show, for instance, is a brilliant original band. I love them!
BB: If you could form any other tribute band, what would it be?
SN: Leonard Cohen - another under-appreciated musical legend.
BB: Tell me about the touring experience so far.
SN: It's great to travel all over this great country and meet great people. The TSA and delays, on the other hand, make it really tough to look forward to traveling these days.
BB: How many shows do you typically play a year?
SN: It used to be over 100 shows per year. In the last couple of years, things have slowed down and I think we're closer to 75 shows a year.
BB: Have you played in the Williamsport area before?
SN: We've never played in Williamsport before, but we can't wait to prove to Central Pennsylvania that Neil Diamond rocks! We love Neil Diamond and we want Williamsport to love Neil Diamond! We have a feeling that there are a lot of people there who do, but just don't know it yet! We want to help those folks however we can.
BB: Do you have anything special planned for your show at the Community Arts Center on Nov. 18?
SN: We have a new show that we're honing, and we can't wait to share some of our new arrangements and mash-ups with Williamsport!
BB: Is there anything you'd like to add?
SN: Whatever you do, Williamsport, don't ever let anyone tell you that Neil Diamond doesn't rock.
For tickets, call 326-2424 or visit www.caclive.com.