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Meet John Perkins of Retro Hits Tributes

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Perkins.

John, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am conservatory trained from the Berklee College of Music and was fortunate to have studied with percussion heavy-weights Dave DiCenso, Kenwood Dennard, Mike Mangini, Eguie Castrillo, and Ralph Peterson. Berklee not only honed my technical skills but also taught me how to navigate as a professional musician. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in Music Business, I continued at Suffolk University and completed an MBA in Music Marketing.

I left New England for Beverly Hills to work at a talent agency where we managed the careers of many major celebrities. Music has always been my love so I eventually made the move to Chrysalis Music Group where I worked in their Royalties Department.

In the latter part of 2010, I left Chrysalis to live full-time in San Diego. I felt at that time that I wanted to put my education into practice and that’s how Retro Hits Tributes was developed. I was compelled to build a company that paid tribute to specific music paradigms while maintaining artistic integrity. I felt the music was too good to mock and I wanted to provide an alternative to your typical “tribute band.”

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Far from it!

In New England, I had easy access to great musicians either via Berklee or referrals from fellow musician-friends. Back east, I was able to put together multiple music projects in a relatively short amount of time. When I first arrived in Southern California, my network of musicians was nonexistent.

Berklee’s mantra of “network, network, network” became my primary goal. In recent years, I’ve been blessed to have an ever-growing number of talented musicians that have joined our team…and we’re always looking for more musicians, especially as Retro Hits Tributes continues to expand.

Please tell us about Retro Hits Tributes.
All of our Retro Hits Tributes bands are very different from your standard variety band.

Each of our RHT bands is focused on a specific genre and time-period. We play homage to the genre and the sound without the dependence on “schtick”. Our roster includes: Dim The Lights (Funk & Disco), High Tide Society (Soft/Yacht Rock), Bad Hombres (Outlaw Country), The In Crowd (60’s Soul & Motown), Mix Tape – Series (80’s Brit Pop, New Wave, and Classic Rock), and Elevator Gold (Lounge/Cocktail). We maintain artistic integrity and perform without kitschy costumes, gimmicks, or backing tracks.

We are a musician-run company, consisting of professional, working musicians who are well-known players in the music scene. What sets us apart is that some of our musicians are members of or have been part of national acts. As a result, we have access to some stellar players who recruit other musicians of the same caliber. It’s surreal to think about those musicians who have “sat in with us” on various gigs.

We truly are a niche company for the people who truly love music. As a result, we may not have the volume when compared to our competitors, but there has to be a balance between quality and quantity. Since all of our musicians work in other projects, there is less pressure to book gigs that lack both intrinsic and financial value.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
A significant lesson that I’ve learned is to curb the desire to rush a project together prematurely without the right mix of musicians or circumstance. Every mistake has served a purpose to improve and produce a better product for our clients.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 10755 Scripps Poway Parkway, #271
    San Diego, CA 92131
  • Website:
  • Phone: 508-574-1484
  • Email:

  Image Credit:
Andrew Middleton

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