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Tampa '80s cover band to perform at ... Guantanamo Bay?


A Tampa-based ’80s cover band is she-bopping to Cuba next week to entertain troops and their families stationed at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.

Rubix Cubed will perform two shows as part of a retirement party for a big hair-loving naval commander who hosts an ’80s radio show aired on base.

The six-member band has dubbed the trip the Red Dawn Tour in reference to the 1984 film starring Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen about a group of teens who defend their town against Soviet and Cuban invaders. This time around, "we’re going back for payback," joked Chris Stainton, bassist, keyboardist and vocalist for Rubix Cubed.

Jeff Johnston, the commander in charge of public works at the base, contacted Rubix Cubed several months ago after reading about the band on the St. Petersburg Times blog Stuck in the ’80s. He arranged to have the six-member band flown to Gitmo on military transport from Jacksonville.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,’’ said Michelle Stainton, Chris’ wife, who sings with the band. “Not a lot of people get to go there.’’

The trip is particularly meaningful to Chris Stainton, who served as a military police officer in the Army Reserves for eight years. Having spent time in Saudi Arabia and Iraq during the first Persian Gulf War, he knows what it’s like to be away from home without familiar entertainment.

“This is nice for me to be able to do something to help out,’’ he said. “They are there, but they still need an ’80s good time."

Rubix Cubed will perform its usual hits from The Cure, Duran Duran, Cyndi Lauper and other ’80s dynamos. Chris Stainton will wear his Miami Vice white Sonny Crockett suit; Michelle will mimic Madonna.

The band, which also includes Penny Carlton, Steven Dillenbeck, Jason Edwards and Stevan Polansky, has performed at Tropicana Field and opened for The Cure in Tampa. It recently performed a soldout benefit concert at the House of Blues in Orlando.

If Gitmo isn’t in your travel plans, head to Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa on July 24. Rubix Cubed will a benefit show for Faces of Courage at 7 p.m. Admission is a $10 donation.

-- Susan Thurston, tbt*. Photo courtesy of Chris Stainton.

[Last modified: Monday, July 6, 2009 4:16pm]


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