It's not easy being Pervis.
That's according to Spinners singer Jessie Robert Peck, who gained a spot in the legendary smooth-soul group in 2008, supplying the bass vocals once performed by original band member Pervis Jackson.
"During auditions, I immersed myself into every aspect of Pervis Jackson," Peck said. "I will never be able to fill the shoes of that man. I can never be Pervis Jackson, so I have to do 20 or 30 other things to make up for that."
Peck will be on hand Sunday at the Jackson Rancheria in Jackson when the Spinners, one of the few 1960s R&B hitmaker groups still performing, take the stage.
Jackson was the resounding bass who helped make songs such as "I'll Be Around" and "Working My Way Back to You" standards. He's also the man who made one line in the group's "Games People Play" particularly memorable when he sang part of the lyrics: "Twelve forty-five/ Headed for the subway home/ I took my time/ 'Cause I felt so all alone."
"When it comes to Spinners songs that are favorites, 'Games People Play' stands out because I get to belt the 'Twelve forty-five' line, Pervis' favorite line," Peck said. "I also love to sing 'Rubberband Man' because we really get to let it all out, and the most touching song, 'It Takes a Fool.' "
Peck was a radio disc jockey for 20 years, often playing tunes from the Spinners (named not for records as one might think, but for spinning hubcaps). He sang with a group called Unique, which featured current Spinner Martin Taylor as a member.
"The first concert I ever attended was a Spinners concert," Peck said. "I'm humbled to be with them now. I can carry the torch. I have a lot of respect for them and it would be a shame to join them and not have that respect and be fully aware of their legacy."
The original Spinners were Billy Henderson, Henry Fambrough, Jackson, James Edwards and C.P. Spencer. Edwards and Spencer left early on and were replaced by Bobby Smith and George Dixon.
With Smith's death a few weeks ago, Fambrough remains the only early member still performing with the group. He's joined by Peck, Taylor and Charlton Washington.
One enduring question over the past few decades is why the Spinners never have been inducted into that venerable yet most- unpredictable of institutions, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"I ask that question a lot," Peck said. "They should have been. Not for me, certainly, but for Henry and Bobby. They had the biggest hits, more TV appearances than most other groups, and have been one of the biggest pop groups of all time.
"It's too late for Bobby to enjoy the honor, but it should happen for Henry." (6 p.m.; $40, $20 with players card; jacksoncasino.com).
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Carson Valley Inn Valley Ballroom: Melissa Dru, today-Saturday; Dale Poune, Sunday-Wednesday; John Covert's Crystal Image Band, Thursday-April 13. (775) 782-9711.
Eldorado, Reno Showroom: "Magique," Tuesdays-Sundays, through April 14; "Menopause the Musical," Tuesdays-Sundays, April 19-July 14. (800) 648-5966.
Grand Sierra Resort Casino - Grand Theatre: Anthony Cools: Uncensored, today; Bobby McFerrin, Saturday; the Postal Service, Tuesday. (800) 648-3568.
Harrah's Lake Tahoe South Shore Room: Elvin Bishop, Saturday; Local Natives, April 13. (800) 427-7247.
Harrah's Reno Sammy's Showroom: the Four Tenors, Thursdays-Sundays, through May 28; Taylor Hicks, July 3-7. The Stage @ the Zone: Renegade, today-Saturday; Rock of Ages, next Friday-April 13. (800) 427-7247.
Harveys, Lake Tahoe Allan Havey, through Sunday; Chris Porter, Wednesday-April 14; Vince Morris, April 24-28. (800) 427-8397.
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Silver Legacy, Reno Grand Exposition Hall: Tesla, May 4. (800) 687-8733.