Saturday, January 24, 2009

How I nearly joined The Beatles.

last week at the NAMM convention in anaheim
I was having dinner with john vitale (from parker guitars)
and saul zonana (soon to be the engineer for e).

saul began telling us about a new project he was involved in.
the back story is this:
probably the most famous Beatle tribute band in the states
would be the Fab Faux from new york city
featuring will lee, the bassist from the letterman show
and jimmy vivino, the guitarist from the conan o'brien show.
I've yet to hear them but I'm told they're fantastic.

recently their former keyboard player rob arthur
moved here to nashville and began the idea of starting
another Beatle band to service the needs of the south.
saul auditioned for the new Beatle band and won a seat.
saul is now the paul of the band.

saul mentioned they were still looking for the john.
(I told him it was just around the corner to the left).

to me The Beatles represent pure joy
and anything to do with their music excites me.
so, without much thought I immediately
campaigned for the role of john.
I figured I know the material and I can do
a honorable imitation of john's voice,
why not? it would be such fun!

a few days later after arriving home
saul e-mailed me to ask when
I would be available for the first rehearsal.

that's when reality slapped me in the face:
of course it would be fun
but it would also require my focus and attention
and much time and effort to do the job justice.
I simply don't have that luxury right now.
what with little things like touring the world
with the world's best power trio,
writing and producing records,
filling the pages of this blog,
spending time with my family, blah blah blah.

so I had to write saul that I would
withdraw my name from the hat. I wrote:

"hey paul,
I never thought I'd hear myself say this but:
I don't think I can join The Beatles".

as my buddy robert likes to say:
you don't get much closer than that!


  1. It would have been great to hear, but the Power Trio and King Crimson will be better.

  2. The Bears come pretty close at times, but my dream-idea of a Beatle tribute band would be Paul and Ringo, with you and Todd Rundgren on guitars. Oh, the vocals alone would be glorious... the first time I actually pictured you in that role was my first hearing of "Dinosaur", one of many thrills in that tune.

  3. after "me and my arrow" which was so faithfull i almost cried , how about reworking "walrus" for us ?


  4. The Beatles are over rated. I listened to them for the first time the other day and I don't think I'll be downloading anymore of there stuff. Lifes to short for music that sounds like everyone else.

  5. Anonymous,

    What you fail to understand is that the Beatles don't sound like everyone else. Everyone else TRIES to sound like the Beatles!

  6. Scott, what you fail to understand is that it's not a crime to not like the Beatles, they are only a band, they are not that important in the grand scheme of things (repeat, they are only a band). I personally prefer my pop a bit fresher and download it acordingly.

  7. cough cough. Im sure they'll get by without your "patronage". Hope youre paying for those downloads.

  8. I was inspired to listen to the White Album after reading this very amusing post, and I could totlly hear you doing " Savoy Truffle " !!

  9. Being partial to George, your wY,wY did me just fine!

  10. Please excuse the typo, " totally " ! I agree Adrians's "Within You and Without You" is great, but there is SO MUCH MORE !! Oh well, maybe someday.
    Peace xo

  11. adrian, i'd love to hear you do a version of "it's all too much". you could have a lot of fun with that one.


  12. Adrian,

    I'll support any gig that would bring you to the west coast this year - hint hint...


  13. As much as I love listening to Adrian's music (including Crim) on its own, I think that part of my love for it is his admiration and respect for The Beatles' music. There's obvious influence. And I love that story in which Robert says to Adrian: write "I Am The Walrus" and Adrian comes up with Dinosaur. Pure genius! (Imagine a songwriting team of McCartney and Belew! I think I'd faint.)

    Oh, and to Anonymous: for sure, I thought you were kidding.

    Rock on.


  14. That would be cool, but I'm glad that you're doing your own new music.
    I spoke to you for a minute at the namm show, what a pleasure.Hope to see you again when you're in L.A.

  15. ^ amen, curt! ade .. bring ANY projeKct you are involved in (crim, trio, or even just yerself) to anywhere within 1000 miles of san diego and i'll be there!!

    on the topic of this post ...
    i have a hilarious similar russian doll set of Queen ... i'll try to take a pic and post it here. it's so absurd

  16. To Anonymous: I didn't accuse you of any crime.

  17. To Anonymous,
    Sure the Beatles were "just a band" in one sense. Sure, when you look at a list of songs on i-tunes, they are just another band. Every band is just another band when you look at it that way.
    And I acknowledge that every generation has musicians who are meaningful to it. There is no way for me to undersyand the impact of Swing music or Bill Haley the way my dad felt them.
    But if you grew up in the 1960's or 1970's you would know that the Beatles changed popular culture in a big way. They were more than just a band. There had never been a band that had such worldwide popularity before then.
    They introduced exotic things into pop music, like Indian music and "Music Concrete". They spurred on the Peace movement during an awful war. They legitimized experimentation with psychoactive drugs. (I often legitimized experimentation with this sort of thing by saying to myself, "If Paul McCartney did it, then it must be okay") They even popularized long hair for males. Before the Beatles came along, every guiy looked like he was in the army. But suddenly the whole world had long hair.
    Looking back from 2009, their influence may not be so distinguishable, since their influence is still with us. But for those of us who lived through it, they made a difference in many facets of our lives.
    And then there is their music...

    (Hey, someone had to say it.)


  18. Very well said, earDRUM!

  19. very, very well said, earDRUM. you probably wouldn't have ever heard of Adrian Belew or anyone else you have a preference for, if it weren't for the Beatles. It is kind of like everything else in history...there were lots of things that came before which impact your life today, but your perception is based on your experience and time.

  20. Hi Adrian,

    I have a newspaper article clipped promoting a show you did at the TLA in Philly on the Here tour. It starts with:

    "Adrian Belew once joked that he wished he could have been in the Beatles. As if he needed that on his resume."

    The articles continues to say other nice things. I though you'd be a good fit as John back then. I'd love to see you do something like this as a one-off sometime.

    The whole article (and photos I took of the show) can be found at


  21. wow---i had heard about this from robin----
    and--agree---with ya--ade-----re---the "how much time is there in a day"--feeling--you had after thinking thru---and yes---we can't wait to hear how "e" turns out--after you,saul,julie and eric--are done with it------
    but the anonymous rants of IGNORANCE--towards
    the accomplishments of the BEATLES---well the comments must have been made jokingly-------
    if not----well i agree with eardrum--and that
    rant---being 55----i would say---well--if they hadn't existed---george w bush's term-would probably be considered--THE GREATEST PRESIDENCY
    we would serve---that special PEANUT BUTTER--
    PREPARATION H-------------anyway----yeah---
    annette funicello-frankie avalon-and possibly pat boone--would be OUR heroes--------
    but just for one day-----------------lovya
    can't wait for 2009 music------gary slick

  22. "the world's best power trio"

    Glad you see it my way! HA

    Please bring it west. Please.

  23. an adrian belew smarties beatlesque song contest? please please... a song on e

    saw the beatle tribute band "rain" a couple of weeks ago.. very talented guys... "paul" was spot on.. great show