In 1987, a then four-year-old Jeremy O’Dell came across four robotic dogs at a Chuck E. Cheese in San Jose. These dogs were known as “The Beagles,” and when someone pushed their button, they would sing Beatles songs. This is what got him interested into knowing more about The Beatles and their music, he said.
O’Dell is the lead singer of Because: A Tribute to The Beatles. The band will perform on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Paradise Performing Arts Center, located at 777 Nunnely Drive in Paradise. The doors will open at 6, and the show starts at 7 p.m. There will also be a free drawing for a guitar autographed by the band.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for teens and children. They can be purchased online at starbrightshows.com or in-person at one of the following locations:
Paradise: Grocery Outlet, PostNet, and Izzy’s Burger Spa.
Magalia: Jaki’s Hilltop Cafe.
Chico: The Music Connection and Grocery Outlet.
Shortly after discovering “The Beagles,” O’Dell’s mom said that she had The Beatles’ first album. But neither of his parents were huge fans of the band, O’Dell said.
“My mom had a few albums, but [she’s] definitely not a die-hard like me,” he said. “My dad wasn’t really a fan. He’s more of a Jethro Tull/Black Sabbath kind of guy.”
When it comes to music, O’Dell said he “can’t write” it, but he can “replicate it.” It wasn’t until the year 2000, when he first saw Rain – another Beatles tribute band – at Harrah’s in Tahoe that he realized he could do a tribute band.
“I always wanted to be a Beatle, and I didn’t think it could happen – I had never heard of a tribute band before,” he said. “Then, when I saw them, it was just like a no-brainer. I said, ‘Oh, that’s what I want to do.’”
The band covers multiple eras of The Beatles, and instead of having one look for the entire show, they’ll change their wardrobe to fit the music. O’Dell said they usually do “three costume changes.”
“We do the early Beatles – like ‘Ed Sullivan’ suits – then to ‘Sgt. Pepper,’ and then we’ll change one last time into like an ‘Abbey Road’/‘Crosswalk’/‘Let It Be’ vibe,” he said.
After The Beatles disbanded in 1970, each member began releasing solo albums. O’Dell said that his band tries to cover some of those songs, too, but it doesn’t happen that often.
“Every now and then, we throw in ‘Imagine,’ but that’s kind of it for that,” he said.
The Beatles did have a lot of number one hits and other songs that became popular with the fans. This can be a little challenging, when it comes to figuring out which songs to perform, O’Dell said.
“We try and mix it up if we can, but that’s kind of a gray area, too,” he said. “Some people want to hear B-sides and the lesser known songs, but other people want to hear just the hits. We try to do a little bit of both, and then we’ll change it for the next show, so it’s different every time.”
There have been several occasions where people will come up to O’Dell and tell him that he sounds like John Lennon, he said.
“I’ll just tell them they’re crazy,” O’Dell joked.
But, for the most part, people tell him about their experiences with The Beatles, he said.
“Most people always come up and they have their stories,” O’Dell said. “We brought them back, made them feel young again, ‘I saw The Beatles,’ and all that. Everyone seems to be all caught up in the moment.”
Originally a drummer, O’Dell turned his musical talents to the guitar, after he received the same one that Lennon played – a Rickenbacker 325 – as a high school graduation gift, he said. This is how he determined that he would be the role of Lennon for the band.
“When I stopped playing drums and started the group, I already had the guitar, so that’s why I became John Lennon,” he said.
This will be the second time Because has performed in Paradise, and O’Dell said he really likes both the area and the amphitheater.
“The area, to me, is very beautiful,” he said. “I like how it’s kind of secluded, but it’s very clean – I like the trees. The theater is very nice. I always see it more from the back side, to be honest, than from the front, but it’s a nice, spacious area.”
This is an all-ages show, and anyone who has seen The Beatles, or wished they had seen The Beatles, will have a good time, O’Dell said.
“Dance all night, sing along, clap your hands, stomp your feet, bring your kids, because it’s going to be fun,” he said.