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Smooth pop a passion for Guilty Pleasures

For as long as he’s been a musician, Rick Duarte’s guilty pleasure has been what he calls “yacht rock,” that smooth pop music unique to the ’70s and ’80s.

Christopher Cross, Michael McDonald, Steely Dan, Toto, Leo Sayers. You name it, Duarte loves it.

So it’s only natural that he and four friends started a band called the Guilty Pleasures, dedicated entirely to that soft, soothing rock music that some might call, well, cheesy.

That’s OK, Duarte says. They don’t take themselves too seriously. That’s why the band members play characters onstage during Guilty Pleasures performances. Duarte is Rico Riviera, the smoothest man in the world; sax player and vocalist Jon Clentano plays Michael McDonald; guitarist and singer Mike Szuter is Chevy Chavelle; drummer Shaun Flannery is Captain Anton Neil; and keyboardist Todd Rogers is Rodger Todd.

While the band is after cheap laughs with its outrageous costumes and silk scarves, Duarte promises the band’s music is legitimate. Each member of the Guilty Pleasures is an experienced musician with his own band or other gig. The guys formed their band in 2010 and rehearsed for nearly a year before debuting at Ovation in Green Valley Ranch earlier this year.

“It’s a sound that’s not represented in the live music market right now. We wanted to make it tongue-in-cheek but make the music perfect, make it true to the sound,” Duarte says. “We wanted to make these songs real for people.”

The Guilty Pleasures have several gigs around the valley, including 10 p.m. Fridays in the showroom at the South Point.

For a complete list of their upcoming performances, visit their website, www. theguiltypleasuresinternational.com.

— By Sonya Padgett

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