Arts & Culture

Get your 'Rubber Biscuit' fix with Blues Brothers Revue

Get your ‘Rubber Biscuit’ fix By at least one measure, the Blues Brothers are nearly as popular as Elvis. And that’s quite an accomplishment considering the Blues Brothers are fictional characters.

“There have always been Blues Brothers shows,” said Kieron Lafferty, who plays the deadpan Elwood Blues in “The Official Blues Brothers Revue” touring show, stopping in Tacoma and Olympia this weekend.

“Aside from Elvis, I’d say Jake and Elwood Blues are probably the two most imitated people,” he said. “We started in Las Vegas in a show called ‘Legends.’ There are all kinds of people who get impersonated, but in every show, there’s always an Elvis and the Blues Brothers.”

For the uninitiated, the brothers, who play the blues as well as being named Blues, originated on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” created by comedians Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi. But the sunglass-and-suit-wearing brothers are probably best known for their 1980 movie, which has never left the popular consciousness.

The brothers arrive in Western Washington this weekend in the form of a musical revue, starring Lafferty and Wayne Catania. And while there are many Blues Brothers impersonators, “The Official Blues Brothers Revue” is the one produced by Aykroyd and Judy Belushi Pisano, Belushi’s widow.

More than one reviewer has found Lafferty and Catania to be convincing replacements for the men who created the musical duo.

“The actors who play Jake and Elwood really studied Aykroyd’s and Belushi’s mannerisms and movements,” Katie Followell wrote in a review for Central Kentucky Entertainment. “Sometimes, I actually had to remind myself that I wasn’t watching the original Blues Brothers.”

Why have these characters endured for more than three decades?

“There’s a close relationship between humor and music,” said Lafferty, who started his career as a musician. “If you’re a musician, you’ve been in those situations. Maybe not to that degree — they’re amped up for comic value — but any musician can relate to their road stories.

“With other comedy duos — Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello — there’s usually one straight man and one funny guy,” he added. “With these guys, they are both straight men, and the rest of the world is wacky.”

Lafferty was a fan before he began making his living playing Elwood. It’s no easy task, he said. The key for him is the song “Rubber Biscuit,” a doo-wop song that the brothers covered on their first album, “Briefcase Full of Blues.”

“To get into the space, I have to do ‘Rubber Biscuit,’” Lafferty said. “It’s all gibberish except for the chorus. You have to lay out a constant stream of gibberish without hesitating. If you can do that with the Elwood face in the Elwood voice, then you’re in the zone.”

Courtesy photo