John Dubuc & The Guilty Pleasures at South Park Tavern St. Pat’s “matinee”

John Dubuc (right) with Guilty Pleasures bassist Tom Rastikis. Photo: Jennifer Taylor

By Tim Walker

The key to enjoying your St. Patrick’s Day this year in Dayton, like the key to so many things in life, can be found in a single word: moderation. If you start drinking at the crack of dawn, pace yourself. Don’t be stupid; make sure you and your friends have a designated driver. Try and take it easy on your liver—the spirit may be willing, as always, but the flesh is weak. Besides, if you’re one of those people who starts drinking early and hits the green beer or the Jameson a bit too hard, you’ll miss your chance to see John Dubuc & The Guilty Pleasures and their afternoon matinee show at the South
Park Tavern.

Although it’s only the second-ever show for the local band, the “supergroup” is made up of veteran musicians who have worked together in various configurations. This variation is John Dubuc on lead vocals and guitar, Brian Hoeflich on drums and vocals, Tom Rastikis on bass, and Tod Weidner on guitar. They begin their St. Patrick’s Day show at 2 p.m. this Saturday afternoon. There is no cover charge for the show, and the doors at South Park Tavern will be open that day starting at 11 a.m.

“This is our second show, and the first one was at South Park, too,” says Dubuc. The band’s initial performance at South Park Tavern was back on Jan. 27; an evening of “PERFECTLY ADEQUATE ROCK & ROLL” was how they described it on social media. “We’re a new phenomenon,” continues Dubuc. “I’ve been a singer/songwriter in the Dayton scene for a long time. In fact, starting back in the ‘80s I was in a band called The Obvious. Since then I’ve done the solo thing for a long time, and I’ve wanted to start a band forever, and finally the opportunity was right to do that. So I found a bunch of guys that I like, as guys and as musicians, to be the band.”

When asked whether he’s played with the other musicians previously, Dubuc explains, “I’ve recorded with Tom Rastikis, he’s the bass player. I actually recorded something with him that’s still unreleased, and that’s how we met. The drummer, Brian, plays in a ton of other Dayton bands, and we’ve been friends for years. We’re in another band together that’s called Trey Stone and the Ringers, but we’ve always danced around doing a project like this together with my songs—finally the timing was right, I guess. Finding a night when we could all get together to practice was the hardest thing, to be honest. Tod Widener is the guitar player and everybody knows Tod. I didn’t even think I could get Tod. Brian actually brought him up—I didn’t think to ask him, because I thought, ‘Why would Tod want to play in my band?’ But Brian said ‘Why don’t you ask Tod?’ I laughed, but then I asked him, and he said yes right away. So we can all get together on Tuesdays, it turns out—that’s our night. And it’s been really fun.”

The band’s sound, built around Dubuc’s original songs, is the stuff of a music aficionado’s dreams. “These are all original songs that I’ve written over the last God-knows-how-many years, older stuff and newer stuff but it’s kind of new to everybody, I guess. Our sound is like Woody Guthrie joining the Kinks to cover the Rolling Stones’ ‘Some Girls’ album, according to Tod. I love that—it just says everything and nothing at the same time. It’s a real melodic-based kind of folk punk singer/songwritery thing. Melodic, good lyrics, that kind of stuff. But with a little edge.”

When asked if there are any musical influences he might point to, Dubuc says, “I loved the Beatles. Past that, the Replacements, the Ramones, Buzzcocks. John Fogerty. John Prine. As I got older, I started getting into guys who were more into the songwriting craft, more guys like that. But I still have to go back to the stuff I love—like the Clash.”

The band’s rehearsal space is in bass player Tom Rastikis’s basement studio, and Dubuc says that they’re in the process of recording some of their songs. Once they have enough completed, they’ll put out a record. But, for the moment, playing together and honing the band’s songcraft onstage is the priority. And if you need any other reasons to come out to the show on St. Patrick’s Day, Dubuc offered his own critique of South Park Tavern. “The pizza’s great. The beer is great. The service is great.”

Add all that to the Guilty Pleasures, and you have one St. Patrick’s Day afternoon that will be worth remembering.

On Mar. 17, John Dubuc & The Guilty Pleasures will be playing a 2 p.m. “matinee” show at South Park Tavern, 1301 Wayne Ave. No cover charge. or 937.813.7491 for more information.

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Tim Walker
Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at

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