Bryan Vickers may be the only musician outside of Lynyrd Skynyrd who doesn't cringe when someone in the audience yells for the band to play "Free Bird."
"I tell them, 'Don't tempt me, I'll do it and then you'll have to sit here for 13 minutes,' " says Vickers, leader of the Bryan Vickers Band, which plays a free show Friday night at ApCal Winery.
The way he sees it, a band has to give the audience what it wants.
And he's happy to do it.
"We're going to get good gigs by playing the covers that people want to hear," says Vickers, who started the band as a solo project before meeting up with brothers Quetzal Emanuel Andrade and Quetzal Uriel Andrade, a pair of music majors who graduated from Fresno State and share a first name.
The band's bread and butter are the radio hits; that's anything from Santana and Bruno Mars to Michael Jackson or Sublime. They've even been known to do some Britney Spears, if the crowd is right.
Those songs — or the band's often improvised interpretations of them — get people in the door and onto the dance floor.
But the Bryan Vickers Band is not just a cover group.
"We throw a few originals in there," Vickers says.
To push the point: Today's show doubles as the band's CD release. "Draw the Line" is 12 tracks of original music that falls within the realm of "rock," Vickers says. There's also some funk and blues riffing.
It was recorded and self-produced at a friend's studio in Hanford and features a few songs that Vickers wrote during his solo days. Most were written during marathon jam sessions the band had when they first started playing.
Currently, the ratio of covers to originals during any given set stands at about 80-20, Vickers says. He hopes someday those numbers will be reversed.
"It's hard, man, for an original band. It's hard for people to give you a chance," he says.
Bryan Vickers Band, CD release party, 7 p.m. Friday at ApCal Winery, 32749 Avenue 7, Madera. Free show. Details: (559) 674-9463, apcalwine.com