Doppelganger, comprised of Clive Nelson and Johnny Dregg — a.k.a. Lee Lewis and Jason Cooper — is an all-improvised rock show. The show starts off with the duo asking the audience to shout out their favorite Doppelganger songs. Yes, for those of you not keeping up, that means shouting out fake song titles.
Lewis and Cooper are joined by a third member, the unnamed booth guy (Andy Livengood), who keeps things moving along. “He sets up lasers, which is really just a cat toy,” says Cooper, who adds that Livengood’s role includes doing voices, like the almighty voice of God.
Nelson and Dregg play it like they’re on a reunion tour, giving fans what they want. “I play the guitar and come up with the riffs,” says Cooper. “Lee has the gift of gab.” Cooper describes Lewis’ character as an Elton John, David Bowie type, while his guitar-playing Dregg is more salt of the Earth.
He adds that the guys definitely have their go-to song formats — the 80s rock ballad is a favorite — but every song is made up on the spot, and that night will be the first and last time anyone hears it. And while Cooper generally has an idea of the type of music he may play, he also draws from whatever he’s listening to right before the show. “I’ll listen to the music playing in Theatre 99’s lobby and come up with three or four chords,” he says.
Does Cooper have a stand-out song — a favorite after all these years? Yep: “Just the Tip.” He says he’ll never forget how clever Lewis was in creating this song which references what you think it does, as well as the unknown: “It’s something that you’re able to see, but there’s more below the surface, like an iceberg.” “The only reason I remember ‘Just the Tip’ is because it was the first time I’d played that chord preogression, and the way he [Lewis] came up with the lyrics was perfection,” says Cooper.