The first time Randy Cordero covered a Neil Diamond song, he did it as a lark, never dreaming that it would become his full time job for the next 20 years. “In 1988, I was the singer and songwriter of a regular rock band,” Cordero recalls. “Sometimes I'd do open mics, playing my own songs solo, with an acoustic guitar. One night, at a club that drew a lot of punks and alternative music types, I dropped 'Sweet Caroline' into the set. I didn't think I'd get a response, except maybe to piss people off. Everybody loved it. I did it again at the next open mic and it kind of snowballed from there.” Cordero did his Diamond impression with his acoustic guitar for a few years as Surreal Neil, and the reaction was always positive. In 1993, he put together Super Diamond, a full-on rock band, and they've been going strong ever since. They're still one of the top draws at Bay Area clubs, not to mention the casinos of Las Vegas, and making a comfortable living. Ahead of the band's 20th anniversary show at Bimbo's 365 Club tonight, we spoke with Cordero about how Super Diamond came to be, his approach to interpreting Neil Diamond's songs, and the time Diamond himself unexpectedly came out onstage.
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