The band is one of the best cover bands to be heard, performing award-winning, socially conscious original music. But what makes the band unique is the amount of roadwork it does, playing to ticketed crowds of up to 65,000 in over 100 countries to date, even becoming the first U.S. band signed to a Chinese label. All that jet lag has earned band members a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, officially being dubbed the “World’s Most Traveled Band.”
Led by guitarist Scott Stephans, the group was formed in 1996. It’s a flexible lineup of seven, with an “A Team,” a “B Team” dubbed Aqua Blue and a stripped-down version of the group called Acoustic Blue. With an incredible repertoire of more than 650 cover songs, the ability to sing in several languages and a slew of worthy originals, it’s easy to see why the band rarely has a day off.
Band members purchased Ocean Beach’s legendary Hippie House in 2013, installing a state-of-the-art recording studio in the process. Perennially on the road, the next 60 days will find the group performing in China, Japan and Korea, as well as dates throughout the U.S.
Local fans can catch the group on July 18 at 6:30 p.m., when it performs as part of the annual free Point Loma Concert Series at Point Loma Park. Meanwhile, Acoustic Blue will perform at Wonderland OB on May 7 at 6:30 p.m.
Surprisingly, according to Stephans, the logistics involved in travel these days aren’t as rough as might be expected.
“In our early days, we played some tours where the band was required to take their own speakers,” he said. “It was brutal. Today, almost everything is taken care of, from hotels and transportation to having a backline. We just fly in, All we have to do is bring our guitars and maybe a rack of pedals. It’s much easier than having to haul things around.”
While there are language barriers in some places the band has played, he said some music is universal. “Different areas do have slightly different tastes in music,” Stephans said. “Canada and Australia, for example, like things that are a little more rock. But something like a Michael Jackson hit would be known pretty much anywhere you played.”
He said the computer age has added a new wrinkle to music.
“Everything gets everywhere at the same time now, goes viral or whatever,” said Stephans. “So it doesn’t matter where you go, the bigger modern hits are known. I figure something like the latest Pharrell track, for example, falls into that category.”
While Liquid Blue is known for its wide range of cover tunes, it has also achieved acclaim for its originals. The band has two albums to its credit: “Supernova” (2004) and “Earth Passport” (2010), the latter yielding a No. 3 Billboard dance chart hit.
With everything from 50 Cent to Rhianna and Frank Sinatra to ZZ Top on that list, it’s an undertaking that has already been under way for two years.
Fast approaching the 20th anniversary of the band, Stephans said he is happy with what the band has accomplished.
“I’ve never been driven for monetary reasons,” he said. “It’s a cliché, but I actually believe that if you do something you believe in, something you like, things will follow. It’s that combination of the joy of doing something and trying to make a difference that makes being a musician special.”
While the band has certainly been a success from the financial and business end, Stephans insists that wasn’t the whole idea.
“The goal was travel and to put out socially conscious music,” Stephans said. “In retrospect, we achieved some of that. We certainly did a lot of travel.”
“If you can travel by playing music, I think it’s great,” he said. “Being a musician is one of the few vocations that you can do that with,” he said.
• LIQUID BLUE performs at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 18 at the Point Loma Summer Concert Series, POINT LOMA PARK at Catalina Boulevard and Varona Street. All ages. Free. www.plconcerts.org.