Founded in 1997 and having traveled all over the world, Beatles tribute band, ‘The Fab Four’ will be performing at Indian Ranch, 200 Gore Road in Webster, Massachusetts on Saturday, August 23. The group covers the entire Beatles songbook and they take requests!
I had the honor of speaking with Fab Four founder and John Lennon of the group, Ron McNeil. To hear the entire audio interview, click here.
Now, the group was founded in 1997. In just a few years, you’ll be celebrating 20 years as a tribute band.
I know and that is scary. That’s actually longer than the Beatles were together.
I know, in all of their phases.
Yeah, it’s amazing. They went through all that stuff within about a decade.
It’s been about 50 years since the Beatles started.
That’s right. In 1964, America got their first glimpse of the lads coming over here and it was a big deal. Of course, none of us in the band are old enough to remember that, but we’re an example of what happens when great music hits the planet. We’re byproducts of the ripple effect of that event.
Did you ever expect that the Fab Four would become what it would be today or was it kind of a “fly by the seat of your pants” idea that you came up with? Just see how long it lasts?
Well, yeah. At first you don’t expect it to last as long as it did. I met Ardy who plays Paul McCartney here in LA. We started off as wanting to put together a good, loving, respectful, tribute to the band that we loved. We played local clubs and then we got a call to go to Vegas. I think that’s where our show started to become more of a polished show rather than just a bunch of guys playing their favorite songs. Eventually it’s grown into something where we’ve won an Emmy for our PBS television specials.
We’ve worked with Robert Zemeckis on a film and we’re the actual motion capture for the video game, ‘Rock Band.’ If you have the Beatles ‘Rock Band’ in your house, that’s our movements. We’ve done all kinds of crazy things and have been all around the world playing the greatest music of all time. It’s certainly the best job in the world to have!
I read you play the entire Beatles songbook. That must be quite a challenge.
Not all at once, but at separate times we have played probably just about all of them. It just depends on what’s going on. Our show that we generally travel around with and the show that we will be playing in Massachusetts will be our hit oriented show. They have so much material when you think about it. Like you said, it’s only ten years they were together, but there really isn’t a bad track on an album.
You’ve talked about performing in Vegas. What was that like for you? How is it different from touring around the country?
Well, at first it was just a Paul McCartney. There was an act that couldn’t perform, so we got in there for a week or two and did our thing and left. They liked us so much they had us back again. We performed at the LV Hilton for a couple of years and then we moved to what used to be the Aladdin for a couple years. Since then, we’ve learned that it’s probably better just to go travel around and take the show all around. It was an interesting experience. It helped us to polish the show. We’re grateful for that.
You mentioned winning an Emmy.
We filmed our television show for public television which generally plays on most PBS TV stations across the country. We won an Emmy, and are very proud of that. It airs as part of PBS pledge drives and then people will get tickets to our show as part of the pledge. Sacramento is having another PBS pledge and a couple other different places.
At Indian Ranch, you’ll be performing the hits.
That’s correct. Basically, our show starts with what people remember 50 years ago, the Ed Sullivan show. We have a gentleman that comes out and performs as Ed Sullivan. He’s Jerry Hoban, and he performed as Ed Sullivan in the motion picture, ‘Pulp Fiction.’ We are excited to have him on as well. Then we go through all the changes that the Beatles did - their psychedelic years and then into Abbey Road when they were splitting up. We take the audience through the 60s.
I noticed on the Fab Four website you take requests. Do you take requests when you’re at the concert?
We do take requests. Our show is pretty formatted, but every once in a while somebody a special anniversary or something that they want to hear or a certain song that means something to them. Let’s face it. Everybody has a personal story with one Beatles song or another. For the most part, people request pretty much the hits or something that we do know or something that we can pull out.
I’m sure it’s going to be a fantastic show on Saturday, August 23rd. It’s been wonderful to talk to you today.
It’s great to talk to you and remind everyone to bring the family. It’s a family show and be sure to bring everybody who likes the Beatles. We’re looking forward to seeing you out there.