San Jose cover band Daze on the Green bring rock ’n’ roll classics to the stage throughout Northern California, from the San Jose Tech Museum to the old Sammy Hagar (he’s a fan) hangout  Cabo Wabo Cantina in South Lake Tahoe.

Rather than simply playing music from the 70s and 80s, Daze on the Green believes in playing each song as intended by the original artist. Their presence and energy can be felt as they rip through chart-topping hits from Van Halen to Judas Priest. We spoke with guitarist Steve Lane about the band

How did you come together as a band?

Aaron [Cross, drummer] and I grew up on the same block and have been musicians for more than 30 years. In 2009, a friend asked if Aaron and I could play a birthday party because he knew that we were musicians. We were only supposed to play that one party, but we loved it so much we decided to pursue this project. We put out an ad on craigslist looking for a bass player and the very first guy we found, Joe Birtola, was absolutely amazing. That was the easy part.

We went through 32 auditions for a singer and were not happy. We were pretty much ready to quit until the 33rd singer walked in named Mark Hall. He absolutely blew our minds. The guy can sing for hours and sounds like every band we cover.

Were you always in cover bands?

Most of my background was actually original music. I have over 40 hours of personally recorded music and I have a home studio. But I grew up in the 70s and 80s so that kind of music always lived inside of my soul. When venues requested covers we said sure, we love those bands, we’d be pleased to play AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. So yes, The band “Daze on the Green” has been a cover band since its inception, but that’s not necessarily our personal background in music.

So you have a studio in your house?

I had been recording in studios for 10 years and decided just to buy my own equipment. It’s in my garage.

Are you recording cover songs?

Yes, we are recording cover songs for demos because certain venues and city concert festivals always ask for a demo. We’re not necessarily looking to be an original band even though this year our goal is to write a couple of original songs.

What inspired the name Daze on the Green?

“Days on the Green” was a concert series in Oakland presented by the iconic promoter Bill Graham. This went on for about 26 years from 1973 to 1999. The best bands played there. We’re talking about bands like Led Zeppelin, the Eagles and Journey. We play songs from all the bands that played that series and we grew up going to those concerts. The people that are native to this area would understand and have a connection to the name because they grew up going to “Days on the Green.” So the name is close to our hearts and holds its own weight.

Why did you decide to be a cover band instead making original music?

When we thought about our music and what lived inside of us, it went right back to the 70s and 80s classic and hard rock. We are a concert band and we wanted to play music that was fun and everybody knew, so we decided to play only radio hits. We figured it would be the best way for us to have a good time and satisfy the crowd at the same time. When we play songs that the crowd knows and can sing along with, it creates a connection between the band and the crowd in a nostalgic type of way that brings back old memories.

What’s the most difficult song you perform?

I would say any songs by Rush. With technical difficulties, Rush is probably at the top of my list. Rush does a thing called “syncopation.” You’re not going to pull that off unless you’re well versed in music. Most cover bands do not play Rush. They’re just a little bit too difficult.

What is your favorite song to play live?

There’s just too many. It’s almost like asking which one of my children I love more. The Rush songs are fun and we play songs from the Foo Fighters and Coheed and Cambria that are pretty hard rock and seem to blow people’s hair back. What’s the question again?

What’s a song that hits home with you—what is your song?

Man there’s just too many, “Stone in Love” by Journey is one of my favorite. We end gigs with our Rush songs because we do believe that they’re our best songs. I can’t, I’m going to have to plead the 5th on that question.

What is your favorite show you played?

Sammy Hagar actually caught wind of one of our recordings and one of our videos and was so impressed that he told his manager that he wanted us to personally play his pre-concert party for all of his friends and the people of Roseville. To get the invitation from Sammy Hagar himself is a total honor. It’s like a dream come true.

What do you do for work when you’re not performing?

I am an instructor for Brazilian jiu-jitsu and I also do sales for a senior living community.

Where are we most likely to find you in San Jose when you’re not working or performing?

My favorite restaurant is Ariake Sushi. You may also find me at a movie theater with my daughters. I own San Jose Brazilian jiu-jitsu, so between doing that, the music, sales and family, I don’t have anything left.

How do you balance all these commitments?

I sleep fast. Sometimes I’ll go to bed at 1am or 2am and wake up at 6am or 7am. In the hierarchy of things, God and family comes first. My work is second because I have a priority to pay my bills and providing for my family and then all of my fun things like music and martial arts come in last. If there’s not enough time to do the fun things, I won’t do them.

The band is only practicing once a week on Tuesdays and we limit our gigs to two per month. This is not going to become a business to the point of it not being fun anymore. It’s not going to be something that runs and rules our lives. We’ve made commitments as a band. Friendship comes first and we play music that we love and enjoy.