Tampa's Wink Warren has been performing in one of the nation's top Blues Brothers tribute bands — the aptly named A Tribute to the Blues Brothers — since the early '90s. Wink plays Elwood (Dan Aykroyd), partner Dave Martin plays Jake (John Belushi).
This Sunday at the Ritz Theatre, Warren and Martin are putting their shades back on and heading out on the road. Before they leave for a weeklong gig in California, tbt* talked with Warren.
What is your main claim to fame?
We were the official Blues Brothers Tribute band for the Chicago Bears. We got hired to play a fan club tailgate party in 1991, when the Bears played Tampa. After that, we went to Chicago and performed at halftime for all their home games. Worked there from 1993 to 2003. They torn the old stadium down, and got new management — changed up their whole thing.
What were some of your most memorable performances?
When we played at Soldier Field, there was like 70,000 people. You can feel yourself rise up off the stage from the electricity in the crowd. We've also opened up for Sonny and Cher, Bo Diddley, America and worked with Rod Stewart.
What do you do when you aren't performing as Elwood Blues?
I've been married for over 20 years. I have two sons, a daughter and a grandson. I've worked for Baxter Healthcare for 26 years. But no one has ever been able to come since everything has been out of town. I've got people coming on Sunday that have never seen the show before.
What is it like going back on the road?
We aren't spring chickens, that's for sure. I'm 59 and Dave is 39. Its been a long time, but me, my partner Dave and everyone, we are just real excited.
What is it like impersonating the Blues Brothers?
I kind of disappear into it. You put the hat and glasses on and kind of melt into the character.