The Cavern Beatles were kind enough to answer a few questions about the group and upcoming show at The Brunton in Musselburgh for us recently.
1. If you are going to do a tribute band then The Beatles are one of the most obvious choices out there as apart from still probably being the most famous band in the world, they also have one of the most recognisable song catalogues too. Have you all been Beatles fans before coming into The Cavern Beatles Band
We’ve all been huge lifelong Beatlefans, so it’s not just about The Beatles being the obvious choice because they are the most famous or have the most recognisable songs. It’s a musical passion as much as anything.
2. Who plays who in the band, and where do you come from?
John – Paul Tudhope from Liverpool
Paul – Chris O’Neill from Liverpool
George – Rick Alan from Liverpool
Ringo -- Simon Ramsden from, you guessed it, Huddersfield but he’s lived in Liverpool for years.
3. Do any of you get to play your own favourite Beatle on stage, or is the part more based on musical ability and personality?
I don’t know really, it’s a strange question. I think the more research you put into a part or a role, the more interested you become with that personality. Personally I like all the Beatles for different reasons, and like trying to pick a favourite song, it is difficult to have a strong preference.
4. Last time I saw you all in Edinburgh the show was in two sets. The first part was the earlier “live band” period and the second part mostly the later “Studio years”. Is there any personal preference for a particular period from The Beatles?
We like it all, but I think we all like to play the songs we have most recently put in the set. Again, it is the thing about the Beatles that there are such defined periods of the music that there is enough going on and enough change to keep you interested.
5. Although the later years contain many classic songs that an audience now expect to hear from a Beatles tribute band, a lot of the later studio music was never played live by the Beatles. Is that studio sound difficult to re-create for a live audience?
It is impossible for a four piece group to recreate everything that is on the records, because there is so much going on even in the earlier tunes that required studio overdubs. For the first half we generally play the songs as they would have played them live or in the case of the songs they didn’t play live, how we imaging they would have done. The second half of the show becomes a bit harder. We play everything 100% live so it means that on some songs we have to play guitar and keyboards on the same song, choosing the most important line to play.
6. I have to admit here a personal preference for the sound of The Beatles as a live touring band. Being called The Cavern Beatles, would you ever consider a show based on just the earlier material?
We have done this in the past, but we now feel that the show benefits from the vast array of sounds we are able to bring to the stage. It just makes it more interesting for a general audience.
7. The Beatles obviously wrote some of the greatest songs in popular music, but they were also a great R & B cover band. Their version of “Please Mr Postman” is always to me one of the great covers of that song. Can we expect some of that earlier R & B sound in this show?
The Beatles, in my opinion, made ALL the cover versions they did their own, even though most of the arrangements were very close to the original. A good example is Arthur Alexander’s Anna (Go to him). We love playing these songs, but there simply isn’t enough time to jam everything we want to do into the set. There are so many big hitters that we have to leave out already. It’s the old adage that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. We played a show once where someone shouted out “play one we know”. I think that was after “You Can’t Do That”. So we are kind of damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
8. Last time I saw you in Edinburgh you did a great version of “Oh! Darling” from the Abbey Road album. This is not a song that seems to get played too often these days. Can we expect to hear some other not too often heard songs this time round too?
This leads on from the last question really. We would all love to play a set of our favourites, but the songs that the general audience want to hear tend to be the same ones. People would feel cheated if we didn’t play She Loves You perhaps.
9. How authentic do you go for that look and sound? Some of the equipment and instruments looked pretty authentic to me last time.
As authentic as possible. More or less everything we use is authentic, even the vocal microphones. We don’t travel with exact vintage instruments because now they have become too valuable, but they are all very good facsimiles. A period Gretsch Country Gentleman in the kind of condition we need for the show is worth more than £10,000. A new one which looks exactly the same costs £2,500. The Beatles guitars looked new, so there isn’t much point in having one 50 years old. There is always a compromise I guess.
10. If each of you could choose a favourite Beatles song what would it be.
It would be changing every day ;)
Thanks for the information and taking the time out to answer our questions guys