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Music by VICE

Wedding Band

Being a wedding singer isn't nearly as turbulent as Adam Sandler would have you think. You get to pick the order of the songs you play, you generally perform "Rapper's Delight" yourself, and only rarely do you need to threaten to strangle a guest with...

by Kory Grow
Jan 1 2000, 12:00am

Being a wedding singer isn’t nearly as turbulent as Adam Sandler would have you think. You get to pick the order of the songs you play, you generally perform “Rapper’s Delight” yourself, and only rarely do you need to threaten to strangle a guest with a microphone cord. The only strenuous part is singing for five hours straight, which is far more daunting than anything a rock band faces. After the final bridesmaid has been dipped, it’s easy to take pride in your work.

The members of Energy Express, a quintet that bills itself as the “ultimate in dance and party music entertainment,” is based in Long Island, New York. The members’ roots are in playing rock, though. Vocalist Craig Rosenblatt formed the group in 2000 as an ’80s cover band, a far cry from his days in the thrash metal group Crumbsuckers. Joined by Craig’s sister and co-vocalist Danielle Rosenblatt, they now transition from any number of Sinatra tunes to Gloria Estefan’s “1-2-3” with grace. Here, the amicable siblings candidly explain what it really takes to please the bride.

What is it about playing in a rock band that prepares wedding bands so well?

Danielle Rosenblatt:
I don’t know if it’s a preparation thing. I think it’s more that every kid’s dream is to be a rock star. Not everybody ends up in this route that we chose, but I think that pretty much everybody starts out in that direction because that’s the ultimate dream. No kid wakes up one day and goes, “I want to be a wedding singer.”

Was it difficult to transition into wedding band music?

Craig Rosenblatt:
No. For me, performing is just that. Back then people were moshing to what I was doing, and now they’re dancing.

How hard is it to replicate another artist?

I have to go between a lot of very challenging artists. In one minute, I’m doing Céline Dion and the next is Whitney Houston and the next one is Etta James. I’m going between completely different genres all together. The most difficult ones are by the [vocalists] that don’t sing correctly.

How do you handle, say, Michael Jackson?

We switch back and forth. I take one, he takes one. Actually, he sings all of the high backups that I get credit for.

What are some of your more memorable requests?

Going back, like, five years, there was a guy with a beard down to his stomach in full leather, pulls up on a Harley and says to me, “Can you play ‘Ring My Bell’?” And I never laughed harder in my life.

Craig: We were expecting this guy to say, “Play ‘Free Bird,’ or I’ll kill you.”

Danielle: We both looked at each other, like we were on some sort of reality show at that point. We didn’t play it.

What are the most annoying habits people have at weddings?

Ugh, there’s a lot. The most annoying one is when we’re singing, and we use in-ear monitors—you can visibly see them—and they’re tapping on my shoulder.

Danielle: And the second most annoying thing is the person who requests the song and expects to hear it right now. And if you don’t play it right now, they’re gonna come up every four songs and remind you that they requested something they want to hear right now.

How do you handle it when some hormonally driven aunt or uncle hits on you?

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because we’re not that great-looking or something, but we don’t really get that.

Danielle: [Laughs] Well, you did once, and I thought you handled it really gracefully with that bridesmaid.

Craig: Yeah, I had one bridesmaid hit on me the next day. Ask me out to coffee and stuff like that. But it doesn’t really happen as much as in a Budweiser commercial.

Have either of you ever played Rock Band?

I have with my sister-in-law’s kids all the time.

Yeah, but you get kicked out of the band all of the time.

Craig: [Laughs] I’ve been playing bass for 20 years and I was playing bass on Rock Band and I got kicked out. I thought, How does this happen? But I did really well with the singing part.