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Any McCartney imitators in tribute bands out there?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by darkhorse9, May 3, 2010.

  1. darkhorse9


    Mar 28, 2010
    I started playing bass to do one thing...play along with Beatles records. If I do say so myself I've become pretty well-versed at McCartney's lines.

    Since then I've managed to try put together a few efforts at a tribute band. I don't know if I'll ever have the right mix to actually gig as the Beatles. Unfortunately you gotta find three other (at least) like minded people who just happen to look and play like them, plus have the commitment. I've tried Craigslist but It's tough to find the right people.

    Any one out there booking gigs as MCartney? I'd love to hear from those handling tribute shows.

    How did your group get formed?

    What kind of shows/venues do you perform at?

    Do you find it easier to specialize? (i.e. early Beatles, psychedelic Beatles, rooftop Beatles?)

    What advice do you have for someone trying to start a Beatles tribute?
  2. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor, MusicGearReview.com
    I don't think it's necessary to look like any of the Beatlles to do a Beatles tribute band. Will Lee is in The Fab Faux and they don't try to dress or look like JPG&R. Ronn Roberts -- Iamthe bassman here on TB -- is in The Eggmen, who do a mix of Brit accents and period dress but don't limit their rep to Beatles or wear wigs. Brad Delp, late Boston frontman, was in Beatle Juice -- another cover band that didn't try to look like the Beatles.

    I think it's more important to recreate the music faithfully than to look like the Beatles. That means finding guitarists and drummers willing to limit the solos and play maybe not as flashy as they can. And it take good three-part harmony. It would be hard to find many bassists who have the voice of McCartney, being able to switch from sweet to screaming at will. I don't even think it's important that the songs be sung by the Beatle who actually sang them. If "John" in a cover can sing "Helter Skelter," I'm not gonna complain. You'd also need a keyboardist to c0ver the studio material from 1966 on.

    I've been thinking about a cover band myself here in Pittsburgh and I even have the guys in mind. Someday I'll get off my butt and do it.
  3. boy would i love to be in a proper dyed in the wool beatles cover band...

    anyway, i would think that if you were in a beatles cover band that dressing the part would be almost half the fun. i mean the beatles are one of (if not the) most visibly recognizable bands in history, and there's at least 6 or 7 different looks to choose from (if you wanted to get specific with your dress) all of which are awesome. so why wouldn't you want to dress up?

    besides, if you run an establishment and you want to book a beatles band who are you going to pick: the band that looks like a bunch of average shmoes or the band that looks like the beatles?
  4. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Umm..guilty. (raises hand)
    Thanks for the introduction mccartneyman.
    I am the bass player in The Eggmen, based out of Austin,Texas. We began in 1992 and are still going strong. Started by me and 3 friends who were all big Beatle fans, and conveniently played rythym guitar, lead guitar, and drums. I am left-handed. When we started we only played the "red album" stuff. We didn't have the "proper" gear, tho' I did have a Rickenbacker 4003 and Vox Beatle amp, we wore (non-matching)suits and took any gig we could. Things began to change when the rythym guitarist bought a Ric 320 like John's. I then bought an Epiphone Viola Bass and the lead player got a Gibson ES330(same as Epi Casino), and the drummer got a nice old Ludwig set. Things started to get busy, we started travelling, and I bought a proper Hofner Beatle Bass. Then we got a keyboard player and that opened up a whole new world for us, we could do any Beatles tunes we wanted. And so we did. Our show now consisted of one set of "red album" tunes followed by a set of "blue album". At this point I bought an old Rickenbacker 4001S like Paul's and painted it like he did his for Magical Mystery Tour. We started doing lots of radio and TV, and more travelling. Got lots of corporate gig$ and weddings, but found a lot of folks were baulking at a hiring a whole night of Beatles for their function. So, we added a 3rd set of "British Invasion" tunes and that sealed it. We began working as much as we wished, our booking agent didn't even need to make any calls, he just answered the phone when it rang.
    Nowadays we're all married with children, but we still work as often as we like, it's just less than it used to be, and we try to avoid flying if possible(but sometimes the $$ is too much to refuse). A few times a year we perform with an orchestra, which is amazing fun!
    The show is:
    1st set: matching suits, Gretsch, Rickenbacker 12 and 6-string, and Hofner, Ludwig drums in proper "oyster" finish. "She Loves You", "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", etc.
    2nd set: psychedelic clothing and light show, Rickenbacker and Fender Jazz basses, Fender Strat(in "Rocky" finish), Gibson Les Paul, Epi Casinos, Epi acoustic, electric sitar. "I Am The Walrus", Strawberry Fields", "Abbey Road medley", A Day in the Life", etc.
    3rd set: "mod" clothing, Phantom guitars and basses, Danelectro Longhorn bass. Stones, Who, Monkees, Animals, Yardbirds, etc.

    Austin is a VERY music-oriented city, EVERYONE here is in a band. Every year they hold the Austin Music Awards where the public votes for their favorite bands. We have won Best Cover Band 7 times, and come in 2nd 3 times.
    Hope this helps answer some questions.
  5. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Did I mention that we don't try to look like The Beatles? LOL
    Just trying to sound like them.

  6. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor, MusicGearReview.com
    Love those paisley jackets, Ronn. I have a friend supposely working on a Shea jacket for me.

    With a handle like mccartneyman, I SHOULD be in Beatles cover band. But, oh ... the logistics. I don't wanna buy a PA or haul stuff around at 2 a.m. And Pittsburgh has a terrible club scene, so private parties might be the way to go. Too many irons in the fire right now to make it work, I think. But if I wait ...
  7. bobwhite


    Mar 11, 2010
    Really fine sound. On "Help from My Friends" it even sounded like Ringo singing. Very impressive, but I am sure you already know that....
  8. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    McM, the one I'm wearing in that last photo was made for me bya fan, it's pretty cool.
  9. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Thanks! We were pretty happy with how that sounded considering we were using the festival's backline. It was nice to move some air running thru 2 SVTs!
  10. I'm a big McCartney fan and even I have to say that the guy from "wingsband" does a great job in his act. If that helps at all...
  11. Hey Iamthebassman - do you have any close up shots of the paint job on that Rickenbacker. It looks groovy!
  12. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars

    I was trying to get it to look kinda(but not exactly) like this guy's.
  13. I saw a band a few years back called The Return. I beleive they're out of Marietta, GA. They did a great job at the look, sound, and stage presence of the Fab Four. It was a pretty cool presentation, really. The film society at school put on a screening of A Hard Day's Night and The Return played a short set during intermission and then a longer set after the movie was over. It was a really cool evening for this Beatles fan. :D
  14. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    You play your bass with the strings set for a righty like Gerald Casale from DEVO! Unusual!
  15. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Nah, Gerry plays like me! ;)
  16. kelleysdad


    Dec 12, 2007
  17. Demon_Hunter


    Jun 8, 2008
    Is Will Lee using a pick or some odd plucking technique?
  18. KimblesNimble


    Jan 10, 2008
    Im sorry, but I'm not familiar with the terms "blue" and "red" album. Are they refering to those hits albums with the shots of them on the stairwell looking down? Or nic's for Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper or something?
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    he uses a pick but only uses upstrokes. he sort of holds it in his hand like he's using fingers.
  20. KimblesNimble


    Jan 10, 2008
    Can anyone school me on this red and blue album business?

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