During the week, Michael Pieck ’92 appears to live a conventional life—a 25-year career at Goldman Sachs with evenings spent shepherding his two young daughters to their activities—but on the weekend, he gets on stage, puts on a wig and leopard-print pants, and relives the ‘80s in front of crowds of die-hard fans. Rubix Kube, the ‘80s tribute band, has become legendary and Pieck mans the piano, touring the country and even playing with and opening for bands like Chicago.
Rubix Kube isn’t just an ‘80s cover band though, says Pieck—the show will take you back to the ‘80s. A full theatrical performance with a light show and almost 30 costume changes, all band members change to match the musical genres and artists as the show progresses. With a male and female lead vocalist, and everyone in the band taking turns on the mic, the band can cover a range of artists, including Madonna, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Prince, Devo, Bon Jovi, Guns ’N Roses, AC/DC, and Twisted Sister.
Pieck moved to New York City right after graduating from MIT and immediately got involved in the vibrant music scene. He spent the first 15 years playing back up and doing side gigs before meeting the members of Rubix Kube. “I don’t think I ever left the ‘80s,” says Pieck, “so to me this is a dream come true. There’s a little something in the ‘80s era for everybody. There’s no angst, irony, or sarcasm it’s just a good time. The combination of all the colors, the widely accessible music, the sheer fun of it all means that whether you’re six or significantly older you can have a good time at the show.”
The band got its start with a five-year residency at an NYC club and now plays about 100 shows a year all over the country. They’ve even traveled with the military overseas to different Air Force and Army bases to perform. Because of the reputation the band has gained, they often perform with other bands as well.
“I got to cover piano parts for Night Ranger when they came to town because they didn’t bring their piano player,” says Pieck, “and even occasionally jumped on sax when necessary.” The band has also played with Rick Springfield, Bonnie Tyler, Bon Jovi, Bret Michaels, and many more. “It’s not just awesome to be able to perform these tunes but I’m getting to meet the people that I idolized during those years.” Pieck started playing in a band at age 13 and never stopped, participating in the Logarhythms and Musical Theatre Guild at MIT along with a band through his fraternity. Although keeping it up is a scheduling challenge, he says music is an important part of his life.
“When you have a tough day at your day job,” says Pieck, “you have this whole other part of your world to balance it out. I really do like both the left and the right brain stuff. I’m thrilled to be on the stage but I’m equally happy with my laptop slinging out code for Goldman Sachs for as long as my brain can do it.”
When he isn’t on stage, Pieck is writing software as a tech fellow at Goldman Sachs where he was recently named managing director as a part of the class of 2018. “I get involved in the most complicated technical problems that the firm has to offer,” says Pieck, who is grateful for his 25 years at the company and their flexibility with his occasional weeknight shows. “The joke I tell my colleagues is that I want to do this long enough that my kids remember that at some point their dad was cool,” says Pieck, whose young daughters, Alexa, eight, and Kaia, six, make occasional appearances on stage at shows. “They really embrace it and they feel they are a part of the band.”
Rubix Kube appear at many regular spots on the East Coast, including Gramercy Theatre and Irving Plaza in NYC as well as Hard Rock Cafe in Boston and Showcase Live in Foxboro every thanksgiving.