Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Interview: Abbey Road Experience

“Abbey Road is such an accomplished piece of music it’s hard to know where it came from.”

On the 9th of March the Abbey Road Experience will be bringing a very special show to our MET studio. The tribute band is dedicated to performing the full Beatles Abbey Road album and other favourite hits. The show promises to be a huge hit for Beatles’ fans.

The group dropped in to the MET Studio to practise their challenging and energetic set and so it seemed only fitting that we hijack their rehearsals in true rock ‘n’ roll style for an exclusive chat with the band…

So how are rehearsals going so far?

Chris: Ok I think! Its been good starting rehearsals.

Derek: It’s the first time working with a PA system and's starting to feel really good, exciting really.

What was your inspiration to tour the Abbey Road album live? Does the album have special significance for all of you?

Chris: There’s an American band called the Fab Faux and I saw one of their videos a few years ago and was knocked out by them. I thought Abbey Road was untouchable in terms of a live performance so it opened my eyes to put something together. It took a while to get it together and now we have the right people involved which makes it exciting. Abbey Road is one of my favourite albums of all time.

Derek: The Beatles never performed it live for a start, so even as piece of music it’s quite a challenge and it’s very enjoyable to take it on. Abbey Road was a studio album pieced together as a whole concept so to tackle it live is a challenge!

You have six dates coming up in the area, would you like to carry on after and take it to more venues?

Phil: That’s the plan, as there aren’t really many countries where bands take this whole album out. There are many Beatles tribute acts around, but only American bands tend to go for recreating whole albums whilst European bands tend to take on songs or sections of albums. We feel there isn’t much competition as so few bands do this concept, so would definitely like to take it elsewhere!

We’re very excited to have you kicking off your rehearsals in the MET Studio, what do you think of our new venue?

Derek: Wonderful.  It’s superb, a lovely space and it’s one of our first dates. It’ll be nice to come back as we know what it’s like- a home from home!

The MET holds an intimate audience, is
 that more nerve wracking than playing to a big arena?

All: Yes!

Phil: If you can see the whites of their eyes it’s unnerving!  With a big audience, there’s a gap between you and the audience so you can psyche yourself into thinking there’s no one there and if I make the biggest mistake of my life it doesn’t matter!

Have you all worked together previously? How did you all "come together"?

Chris: Steve and I work in a band called Desperado, an Eagles tribute band and have been together two and a half years.

Steve: Derek and I worked together about fifteen years ago, but nobody had worked with Phil before.

Chris: I’d been to see Phil as a solo artist and he’s incredible, it was an ambition to get him on board straight away. Without Phil’s input I don’t think it would have come together.

I imagine you’re feeling the pressure to live up to the work and do it justice?

Derek: It’s nerve wracking, as you can know the songs to listen to, but learning to play them and juggling all the different parts is daunting. There’s no point doing something like this unless you can do it well

Chris: We don’t want to embarrass ourselves!

So Derek, as a Staffordshire lad, does it feel more special playing to your hometown?

Derek: Even though I’ve toured and travelled the world, it’s always been home and it is nice to come back.

So, what is your favourite song to perform from Abbey Road?

Derek: The last one!

Chris: That’s a tough question! I tend to look at it as a whole piece of music in it’s own right from start to finish

Phil: George Harrison songs are probably the best on for me.

Derek: When I first heard the Abbey Road album, I always wanted to perform Because and thirty years on I’m getting to fulfil that ambition, so that song has to be the inspirational song on the album for me.

Phil: John Lennon was probably the least musically educated, yet he just did stuff and it worked. Abbey Road it’s such an accomplished piece of music it’s hard to know where it came from. When you try to play it you can tell he just came upon it, which makes it even more remarkable.

Chris: You can extend that to a lot of songs, as they were so young when they were writing these incredible songs. They’re basically geniuses!

An even tougher question; what is your favourite Beatles song?
Phil: It’s so subjective and once you name one you want to add more.

Derek: When John Lennon’s death was announced on the radio, the first thing I played was Across The Universe and it made me cry that day. It will always stick in my mind.

Phil: In My Life is a fantastic song; simple but couldn’t be improved in any way.

Chris: Long and Winding Road is one of my favourites, it’s just a great song and I get to sing it live which is even better!

Is there anyone in the charts that you find exciting at the moment?

Derek: I love Ed Sheeran; he’s brilliant

Chris: He is pretty good. I do like Jessie J, her voice is extraordinary.

Biggest rock ‘n’ roll highlight?

Chris: I’ve never really been a bad boy!

Phil: I’ve toured a lot and you tend to find some of the best moments are when you’re off stage, and the places you find yourself in, as you’d never go there without music. I went across Siberia and that was something special. I’d never have gone there without doing the music.

Steve: I did a month’s tour of Russia and we played in a circus! Our equipment was coming in past tigers; it was mad!

 Abbey Road Experience is on Fri 9th March 2012 at The MET Studio, Stafford Gatehouse. 

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