Jonny Ross Andrew and Jared Wallace performing as AC/DC for Halloween 2016 (photo: Eric Molyneaux)

Halloween was rad as a kid because it was the one day a year that you got to be whoever or whatever you wanted. My go-to every year was the angsty, Sai-sporting Ninja Turtle Raphael.

The best part was that never felt like I was simply dressing up as Raphael. No, for one hauntingly glorious night, I was Raphael. That's what Halloween feels like for musicians — for one enchanted evening, you can be whatever artist you want. And instead of trick-or-treating, you get to stand on stage in your favorite artist's shoes. It's a thriller night, baby. Without further ado, here's a quick list of Bay Area musicians and who they're performing as this Halloween.

Anthony Anzaldo: Prince



Currently a member of Ceremony, ANTHONY, Ex Youth and Never Healed.

The Bay Bridged: Why did you choose to cover Prince?

Anthony Anzaldo: Prince is my favorite musician artist of all time. Few artists have been able to bring so many different types of people together.

TBB: What do you like most about the Halloween cover set concept?

AA: I like to play dress-up.

TBB: Favorite past Halloween sets?

AA: Never Healed playing Judge at Gilman in 2009.

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 Joey Arden: The Cramps


Currently a member of Lower Self.

TBB: What made you want to cover the Cramps?

Joey Arden: The Cramps have been one of our favorite bands and are the ultimate Halloween band in our opinion. We grew up listening to this album so we really wanted to perform it this year and let it play out live.

TBB: What makes the Halloween cover set concept special and unique from other cover sets?

JA: For us the Halloween cover set is special because it gives us a chance to really perform as the the band we are covering, down to the outfits and attitude. It's more than just playing a song and more about getting to be your favorite band for a night.

TBB: Any memorable previous Halloween cover sets?

JA: The last two years we performed as the B-52s which was a lot of fun, but this year we wanted to switch it up.

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Phil Benson: The Strokes



Currently a member of Terry Malts and Neutrals.

The Bay Bridged: Why did you choose to cover the Strokes?

Phil Benson: I have to give all credit to the drummer, Stephen, for having the idea to cover the Strokes and for putting the band together, actually. All of us are pals from playing countless shows together in our respective bands and, after some inquiry on Stephen's part, we found it just so happens that we all share an affinity for the first two Strokes albums (the only two we're pulling from, sorry "Juicebox" junkies!). It was fun sharing stories of how and when we first heard the Strokes and why we found their records worth giving more than a second listen to. And it turns out the songs are pretty fun to play!

TBB: How are Halloween cover sets different than normal cover sets? What do you like most about it?

PB: I've always liked how Halloween cover shows seem to be just a real good excuse for a bunch of folks in the local scene to get together and have some low pressure fun playing some songs by bands they dig. Some people go for the spot on approach, others might take a more personal interpretation of sorts. It's fun to see what everyone comes up with. It's not like a contest or battle of the bands or something silly like that. Just some good fun with buds. Lookin' forward to it. I'm already brainstorming for next year's cover band!

TBB: You have any past Halloween cover band highlights?

PB: Syam and some friends did a Television Personalities cover set at the Knockout's covers show a few years ago and they NAILED it (I'm a huge TVPs fan). The headliner at that same show was "Scary Glitter," a Gary Glitter cover band made up of members of CCR Headcleaner and Andy Human & the Reptoids, if I remember it correctly. That portion of the night gets a little fuzzy but I do remember having a blast while they played. This year I'm looking forward to seeing the Crass band cover Penis Envy in its entirety and seeing MOM do GG & The Jabbers at Thee Parkside. This is also my first time partaking in a Halloween cover band, so cheers to Stephen for inviting me!

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Waverly Cook: My Chemical Romance


Currently a member of Lavender Scared and Damper.

The Bay Bridged: How is the concept of the Halloween cover set different than other cover sets?

Waverly Cook: This concept is unique because it isn't taking a seasonal album or particularly spooky song by a band and covering it due to its specific vibe. It's recognizing the motif of darkness that My Chemical Romance has always had. It was easy to choose songs because they are all basically about how we all die and how we are all the same and equally screwed.

TBB: Any past favorite Halloween cover sets?

WC: This is my first halloween themed cover set!

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Lauren and Paul Haile: Andrew WK



Currently members of Trebuchet.

The Bay Bridged: Why did you decide to cover Andrew WK this Halloween?

PH: Because Judah Nagler (of the Velvet Teen) is a huge fan, and we thought it would be super fun because the music is great, and we’d get to play with him.

How are Halloween cover sets different than normal cover sets? What do you like most about it?

PH: I think the thing that makes this show different is that it’s only one night. I’m usually not one for wanting to play covers in our band, so the fact that it’s a one night only deal, makes it appealing to me and also really special. Not to mention, all of our talented friends in the Sonoma County music scene are all involved and it’s so cool to see them mold themselves into different bands. It’s always an exciting thing on Halloween to go to a party and see what all your friends dressed up as. Having people take on the personality of another band really just takes that excitement of Halloween to the next level for me. Really glad this can also serve as a benefit for the victims of the fire as well.

LH: With traditional cover bands there can sometimes be an element of creativity. The Halloween cover show is more in the vein of an Elvis impersonator in Vegas. We’re not going for our “own take” on the music like someone on YouTube might. We want to embody the original and that can be really fun. Halloween is a great opportunity to dress up like someone else and act like someone else- in this case we get to play their music, too. Combining Halloween and cover sets is a brilliant idea.

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Hell Fire: Metallica


The Bay Bridged: What made you choose this band to cover?

Tony Campos: We figured it would be a really fun set to play, we are all huge fans of those first few Metallica records so they're pretty much ingrained in our DNA. When we made the change to becoming a four piece band last year it just seemed perfect. It's going to be a really fun high energy set that will get the crowd going wild, we're sure.

TBB: How are Halloween sets different than other cover sets? What do you like most about it?

TC: This is actually our first Halloween cover set, we were going to do one last year but the show got canceled. We're looking forward to having a killer time and playing some covers we love while really getting into character. This set is based off a lot of the era captured on the Metallica "Cliff em All" film.

TBB: Any Favorite Past Halloween sets?

This will be our first Halloween cover set so it's gotta be our favorite haha! We use to do secret cover shows under the name "Mexican Steel." Where we would play Hell Fire originals along with songs from bands like UFO, Judah's Priest, Satan, Thin Lizzy, Exodus etc. and those were always a great time. People appreciate an original band taking the time to have some fun and do some covers it seems like. So really looking forward to getting out there Saturday night and having some fun.

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Gabe Katz: Alice In Chains

Currently a member of: Horders, Cash Pony, Neighborhood Brats, and The Sarcastic Dharma Society .

The Bay Bridged: Why did you choose Alice in Chains?
Gabe Katz: Because.

Julian has been playing those songs his whole life. And we thought it would be perfect to have him be Jerry Cantrell and have Brandon be Layne Staley.

TBB: What makes the Halloween cover sets, in particular special?
GK: In our case, this year, this is special because it’s a band made up of very old friends. Some of us play in Horders but two of us don’t. This is an excuse to play music together when otherwise we wouldn’t have the chance. It’s a dream band. Our singers are some of my/our favorite singer/song writers ever (Brandon Hendrickson and Julian Paris). They don’t perform a lot (which is stupid) so this is a chance to get them on a stage and show an audience what we already see: that they are great. Alice In Chains is a band we all listened to growing up and it’s very personal for most of us. I like playing music with my friends. I honestly hope this turns into an active band. Not the AIC covers, but original songs with this group. It’s been a dream of mine for a long time and this kinda feels like a sneaky way of making it a reality.

TBB: Any memorable Halloween sets from previous years?
GK: My favorites would either be Devo and Descendents. I’ve also done Bad Religion, Radiohead, Foo Fighters...all fun.

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James Ryall: Weezer


Currently a member of Brown Bags.

The Bay Bridged: Why did you choose to cover Weezer this year?

James Ryall: Weezer (particularly the Blue Album) has held a special place in my heart since I was twelve years old. It was the first music I found that originated from outside my parents' old-but-awesome record collection. The cover of that album just has four nerdy looking dudes on it, and I thought they rocked so hard. Up until that point, rock and roll seemed like something to absorb, that came from somewhere outside of myself. With the Blue Album, I started thinking that maybe I was capable of rocking, too.

TBB: What makes the concept of the Halloween cover set unique?

JR: I think that most cover sets fall into one of two categories. First, you have the bar band that performs a lot of covers from different bands to a crowd of people.  The audience could usually care less. Second, you have professional cover bands who strictly do cover sets of one particular band, like AC/DShe or the Iron Maidens. The Halloween cover set is more closely related to the latter, but is more communal which makes it unique. We have so many different genres in the Bay Area, and while the musicians here are very supportive of one another, we don't always fit together on the same bill. Having a Halloween cover set allows us to all get together and celebrate a shared love for music, regardless of the genre, and for some of us it might be the only opportunity we have to share a stage or rock out together. I love that.

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Comadre: Talking Heads


The Bay Bridged: What made you choose this band to cover?

Jack Shirley: We are all fans, first of all, but it is always a difficult decision to make. You want to pick a band that is not too obscure but also not too obvious. You don’t want to do the Misfits, but you also don’t want to do some band that no one has ever heard of.

TBB: What makes Halloween covers unique from other cover sets? What do you like most about it?

JS: Most bands don’t just do cover sets for no reason. This is the time of year that you get to see it and it’s almost always a band covering songs from one band, rather than a mixture of bands. And it’s cool to see someone’s take on something that you like.

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Slow Bloom: Black Sabbath


The Bay Bridged: What made you choose to cover Black Sabbath?

Jonny Ross Andrew: Black Sabbath seemed like an easy choice.They’re easily the spookiest band in creation.

TBB: How is the concept of the Halloween cover set different than other cover sets? What do you like most about it?

JR: Halloween sets are rad because you get to get in the mind set and theatrics of another band. We always get into character and try and BECOME the band, in that way it almost becomes a little sketch comedy.

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Disclosure: Author Derek Nielsen is performing in one of the listed shows.