Saturday Night Special - Canada's Ultimate Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd
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Saturday Night Special - Canada's Ultimate Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd

Sudbury, ON, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011

Sudbury, ON, Canada
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Cover Band





On a cold December night, we had the
pleasure of warming up to some amaz-
ing Southern Rock, thanks to the gang
from Saturday Night Special. You haven’t
caught this amazing 8 piece act yet? What
are you waiting for? Get off the couch
and go check them out. The band boasts
an amazing line up with a combined 150
years’ experience playing the local circuit.
Here is the lineup, which has seen some
changes, but John says this one is a keeper.
John Maki
Saturday Night Special is John Maki’s
brainchild and he has spearheaded this
from grassroots.
This Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band is the
product of this talented musician’s love for
southern rock and knowing how to put a
great band together. With a long history
of rock performing to his credit, this proj-
ect is the one that pulls it all together.
‘80’s rock fans will remember his touring
days and more recently, his hot guitar
stage shows at events including corporate,
community and festival gigs. Also an
inspired song writer, his rock tune, “Hard
Rock Miner”, was featured on the 2011
CD Legend Aid.
Danny Macdonald’s high energy lead
vocals rock the Saturday Night Special
stage, getting boots “shuffling” non-stop.
As Front Man for Saturday Night Special,
he brings a fantastic rock voice and a seri-
ous good time vibe to a hot southern rock
show. Danny’s renditions of “Travellin
Man” and “That Smell” are just a taste of
his talent for moving a crowd.
A notorious rocker from Ontario, Cana-
da, Danny plays a variety of classic rock
and top 40 hits of the ‘60’s, ‘70’s, ‘80’s, and
more for clubs and private events with
his acoustic group. On arena sized stages,
Danny has opened for greats such as Ted
Rob Straughan is a gifted drummer,
entertaining audiences across Ontario for
many years. Driving the beat for Saturday
Night Special, Rob brings his own freight
train percussion style to the Skynyrd
sound and gets them stoked for hot tunes
like “I Ain’t the One”, “Give me Back my
Bullets”, “Double Trouble” and more.
He has also performed studio work with
great musicians and bands across Ontario.
Robin Desbiens is thePiano/Organ
veteran with solid musical roots from the
Desbiens clan going way back. Robin has
played in country bands for most of his
musical career and Saturday Night Special
is stoked to have him on board!
Southern Rock is a natural for Robin as
he has been playing piano licks and hooks
all along and he didn’t even know it!
Chris Peplinski “Pepper” - Pepper plays
bass. With a style deeply rooted in classic
rock and R’n’B, Pepper lays down the

for Saturday Night Special. Pep’s has
played professionally for over 20 years,
from musical theatre to session work and
clubs. This “Old Soul” is very excited to
be a part of the wagon train!
Tim Hietanen’s stellar guitar playing
brings a smoking hot vibe to the SNS
sound. Be sure to catch him in rocking
acts like Solomen Grace and Terra Cain.
Tim is also one half of the acoustic duo,
the “DT Collective”. Tim and John played
together almost 20 years ago so John is
pretty stoked to have Tim on board with
Lise Violette brings a rockin’ power
vibrato to the backup vocals. She has per-
formed on small and big stages for over
twenty years.
Her high energy performing style is well
known in the Northern Ontario club and
corporate gig scene, with her band, Eu-
phoria. Guaranteed to blow your lid!
Gisele Guenard is half of the backup
vocals team, along with Lise Violette.
From weddings to studio work, including
original and song demos in the pop/con-
temporary, lead vocals on CD and show/
cabaret productions, Gisele has been
performing since the ‘70’s.
Her personal repertoire is folk, R&B,
country, gospel and classic rock. You will
feel and see her soulful vibe in this show
So now that the introductions have been
made, let’s talk about the band. As men-
tioned earlier, this is the brain child of
John. It sort of started out as a Southern
Rock Tribute that morphed into the
current incarnation of a Lynyrd Skynyrd
Q. John what made you return to the
music scene after being away for a
A. The time was simply right and ev-
erything just kind of feel into place. I
bought a new guitar, started playing and
here I am.
Q. So what was the reason behind the
A. We all love Southern Rock, and want-
ed to pay homage to some of the great
tunes we have all listened to and grown
up with.
Q. So what role do you play in this
A. Well I was the creator/brainchild
of this act. I also do the marketing,
promoting and booking. The rest of the
workloads is shared between me and my
wife Gisele.
Southern Rock Heats Up The North!

Q. So what is in the future for you and the
rest of the cast of Saturday Night Special?
A. We are headlining a show in New Liske-
ard. It is a big bike festival and one of the
larger fundraiser’s in the area for The Cana-
dian Cancer Society.
Q. Any plans on doing some originals, per-
haps an EP in the future?
A. We are always writing and trying new
material. We actually have a recording studio
at my place so on any given day anything is
Q. Being such a large group, I would imagine
that it is interesting trying to book shows
with venues that can accommodate the
A. We are focusing on festivals, corporate
events and clubs like the Night Club that we
play once a year; but basically we love to play
and will do the show wherever they will have
Q. Do you perform the entire Skynyrd cata-
A. We focus primarily on the “1976” live
album and line up, the material they were
doing before the band suffered the tragic
Q. What was the album called?
A. “One More from the Road” which is, in
our opinion, one of the band’s best works.
Q. Is there anything different about the
band that audiences might not know?
A. We show case each member in the
band by rotating vocals and more. We
fashion ourselves more of a “Show Band”.
Q. So is there anything you would like to
share with the Talent North readers?
A. Some of us have been around each
other in various groups in the past. Tim
and I have come full circle.
This band is like no other, having received
testimonials from some of the original back
up musicians that have played with Skynyrd
themselves. Watch for them somewhere
soon as the the ultimate
“HIGH ENERGY” band that everyone is talking about.

Here are just a few more testimonials!
Dan Dubé - Continental Entertainment:
“One of the better bands I’ve seen from
Northern Ontario....Great front man, back
up singers and musicians....what else can
I say.”
Bill Davidson - Fan: “I have seen Lynyrd
Skynyrd 6 times since 1991. Saturday Night
Special host’s a “rolicking” good time....the
perfect blend of “in your face guitars and
vocals’ mixed with that sweet, Southern
Rock boogie rhythm section. As close to
the real thing as you will ever find!”
Need we say more my friends? Check them
out soon. It will be a rockin’ great night, to
say the least…….
If you want to know more about what is
happening, go to:
Saturday Night Special on Facebook
Talent North “Get in the Know” the voice
of artists, performers and more - Talent North Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


With the sound and essence of the seventies quintessential southern rock band - Lynyrd Skynyrd, SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL is a serious fusion of seasoned musicians who love to lay it down.

 Saturday Night Special is made up of talented, passionate musicians dedicated to keeping the hippie Southern 70's sound of Lynyrd Skynyrd alive. A must see if you like honky tonk rock and roll with a southern rock growl.

Saturday Night Special founder suggests, “Get out your bell bottoms and dust off your boots if you’re coming to our show!” Covering Lynyrd Skynyrd hits like Sweet Home Alabama, Gimme Three Steps, Free Bird, That Smell, Tuesday’s Gone, Saturday Night Special, of course,  and many more. SNS plays mostly open air festival venues and has opened up for headliners such as David Wilcox and Finger Eleven.

Quick Reviews

 Mark Basile plays with Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash survivors, Artimus Pyle (Drummer), Ed King (Guitar player), Leslie Hawkins (Honkette) and the late JoJo Billingsley (Honkette). Mark also was a fill in guitar player for Gary Rossington when Gary was hospitalized in the 70's during a tour.
"I watched the demo video and have to tell you that its RARE a Skynyrd Tribute band actually captures that "space" between notes, so when I say "clean" its probably the highest form of compliment I can give you. Can see that you guys concentrate on the music, as it should be, and "spaces" are awesome!!!! To many "tribute" bands sonically just don't cut it - you guys do! Congrats!"
 Sun Media's Stephen Uhler - re SabStock show:  " You guys were amazing, especially to an older fellow like me who knows who Skynyrd is beyond the tunes... ;) "

 Craig Jefferson - PUB Promotions:   "These guys (and gals) are the REAL deal! Great stage show, always professional. Lynyrd Skynyrd at it's best! Saturday Night Special bring it!"

 Dan Dubé - Continental Entertainment: "One of the better bands I've seen from Northern Ontario....Great front man, back up singers and musicians....what else can I say."

 Bill Davidson - Fan: "Having seen Lynyrd Skynyrd 6 times since 1991. Saturday Night Special host's a "rolicking" good time....the perfect blend of "in your face guitars and vocals' mixed with that sweet, Southern Rock boogie rhythm section. As close to the the real thing as you will ever find!"

Saturday Night Special is also available for private parties / Corporate events.

Band Members