AXS TV’s World’s Greatest Tribute Band Concert Series Wraps With The Beatles Tribute Band, THE FAB FOUR!
Posted On 11 May 2017
Last night, The Beatles tribute band, The Fab Four closed out this season of Katie Daryl’s World’s Greatest Tribute Bands. It was their second appearance on the show, and it was a 90-minute performance of Sgt. Peppers in celebration of the album’s 50th anniversary this year.
Presented by AXS TV, this weekly concert series brings music from iconic bands such as The Police, The Beatles and Pink Floyd … or at least reasonable facsimiles of those groups and others. Host Katie Daryl introduces concerts that are filmed at famous music venues in the Los Angeles area. Not only do the performers sound like their more-famous inspirations, but also they often derive their band names from the bands that they cover. The featured bands include The Police Experience, The Fab Four, Which One’s Pink, Alice in Cooperland, and Led Zepagain.
This season included music from Led Zeppelin, Metallica, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers Band, Queen Dolly Parton, Dave Matthews Band, ELO Experience, Supertramp and finally The Beatles. The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands airs 100% LIVE from the world famous Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip. Keep up to date on next season’s dates and line-up here: http://www.axs.tv/programs/worlds-greatest-tribute-bands/
All Access was lucky enough to attend last night’s final performance of the series and was delighted by the sounds of The Beatles Tribute Band, The Fab Four.
What makes The Fab Four so incredible?
The LA Times has called The Fab Four “The Best Beatles Band On Earth.”
The Fab Four won an Emmy for their PBS television special.
The Fab Four member, Joe Bologna aka Ringo has performed on Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres show and for the closing bell at the NY stock exchange.
The Fab Four have headlined Liverpool’s annual “BeatleWeek”
Gavin Pring aka George was born and raised in the birthplace of The Beatles (Liverpool, England).
The Fab Four have a Silver and Bronze Telly Award for their TV specials & performances.
Ardy Sarraf aka Paul has appeared on stage with Bruce Springsteen and John Fogerty.
Ron McNeil aka John was invited to play for Malaysia’s Prime Minister.
Learn more about The Fab Four in the following All Access interview:
What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music? What were some of the highlights? What are you most excited about for 2017?
Ron McNeil a.k.a. John Lennon
Gavin Pring a.k.a. George Harrison
Ron: Every single year is an anniversary for The Beatles of some sort. In 2016 one of the highlights for us was we got to play at Dodger Stadium on the same exact date 50 years later that The Beatles performed there. So that was a lot of fun for us and obviously a great honor to be at the same place at the same venue on the same day 50 years later. Obviously this year 2017 is a great year for us and a great year for The Beatles. The greatest album of all time, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” is gonna be released by The Beatles and Apple and we’re looking forward to performing that live on AXS TV May 10. It’s just such a unique album, it’s got great tracks on it and we’re really looking forward to it. Another thing that’s exciting for us this year, is we are performing with a couple of our teen idols, which are a couple of our heroes from the 60’s: Mickey Dolenz from The Monkees and Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere and the Raiders in a summer tour that we’re doing. We’re excited about that as well.
Gavin: Last year was a year where we lost a lot of the prominent, talented people in the music industry and we did a lot of dedications from early on. David Bowie, Prince and other famous people. Obviously the passing of these famous and influential people wasn’t the highlight, but performing their songs and knowing how much they were appreciated by the audiences that we were performing to was a highlight. It just goes to show you that music will never die. The people that produce them or write them will never die as long as we keep playing them. In 2017 I am looking forward to performing with a sitar on AXS TV, it’s an instrument I have never played in my life. I am both excited and really scared about performing on AXS TV. It’s the 50th Anniversary of the Sgt. Pepper album and every Beatles tribute act and everyone with salt, as we would say in England, is performing that album. So I’m looking forward to performing that, I think, three times throughout the year.
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? What about your earliest memory with the music of the Beatles?
Ron: Growing up, my mom said I used to stand up on the record player and watch The Monkees record go around and that was kind of my introduction to music. As early as I can remember I always wanted to play music and I started playing the guitar and some keyboards ever since I was round 5 or 6 years old. I’ve always tried to emulate The Beatles and The Monkees, which were my favorite groups growing up. I borrowed my oldest sister’s records (she had a lot of Beatles records) and I kinda never gave them back.
Gavin: I grew up in Liverpool England. I couldn’t get away from the music of the Beatles. I think I was listening to them nine months before I was born. My earliest musical memory, actually, related to the death of John Lennon. I just remember being five years of age and everyone crying. I just remember the whole city getting upset.
How long have you all been in this band together and how did you meet one another and decide to form a Beatles tribute band?
Ron: I had gone to a local Beatles convention here in Los Angeles and as part of the Beatles convention they have a look and soundalike competition and Artie, the guy who plays Paul McCartney in our group, was performing a song called “Coming Up” by McCartney, and it was just amazing. I couldn’t believe how much this guy sounded like Paul McCartney. So later I went up and asked him, “would you like to be a part of a Beatles tribute group?” And later we got together and formed the group here in L.A. As a side note he won the contest by the way and a couple years later I won that same competition performing “Imagine” by John Lennon.
Gavin: Actually, the Fab Four was around a couple of years before I joined it. I joined it when they were looking for people in Las Vegas and I was living in Chicago and I just answered the call. They made like a bird noise like “doot doot doot,” and I answered like “doot doot” (laughs) and I came over to Las Vegas to see what it was like and I’ve been with the guys ever since.
In May, you will wrap up this season of World’s Greatest Tribute Bands with a performance of Sgt. Peppers to celebrate the album’s 50th anniversary. This is your second appearance on this show. What does it mean to you guys to be involved with this series?
Ron: “The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands” has been going for so many seasons now, I mean this is just amazing. There are so many great tribute bands out there and I think what we do really brings a lot to the music world. A lot of these bands, you can’t see live any more, Queen, and a number of groups. And I think we’re in great company with people who love this music and are dedicated to performing the songs as accurately as possible. I think it brings back a lot of great memories for people and I think that’s what a lot of people see in tribute bands.
Gavin: I’m excited and nervous to death about performing. Last time we performed on AXS TV we got a lot of good press and good reviews; a lot of views on our social media. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to doing it again and scared to death.
Can you talk about your connection with the Sgt. Peppers album? What are some of your favorite songs on this collection?
Ron: Sgt. Pepper’s is probably the greatest album ever recorded and I think it’s because it was so creative and unique at the time. I think there are a lot of challenges here. We’re only a four-piece band and we don’t use any tapes or backing tracks, so it’s just going to be the four of us except for “Within You, Without You,” which features some Indian musicians. None of us could play any of those instruments and those are the only enhancements we’re using for the show. There are songs on Sgt. Pepper… I mean, where do I start? “She’s Leaving Home,” which is all orchestra and John and Paul singing, and stuff like “A Day in the Life.” None of these songs were meant to be performed live on stage and we’re gonna give it a good shot for sure.
Gavin: I haven’t really listened to “Within You, Without You” as much as I have in the last five months. It’s become a song that I’ve actually grown to love in a way. I have to listen to the lyrics and the melody and get that down as well as perform the sitar and I actually like it. It’s kind of like a prayer. It means a lot to me now, actually. Those who gain the world and lose their soul, it’s a very kind of biblical, spiritual thing. It’s now my favorite song on the album.
You have all been able to play at many incredible places and with amazing artists because of being in this tribute band. What are some favorite moments that come to mind? What about a favorite performance together?
Ron: We were honored to be chosen to perform in Liverpool. Every year, in August, they have a Beatles convention out there and we were chosen to be the featured act. I mean it was so great to see where the Beatles grew up, the Cavern Club and all these great places. That was pretty amazing. We’ve done so many great things. We’ve performed at The Hollywood Bowl and, like I said, Dodger Stadium and a lot of the places The Beatles themselves played and that’s always a treat for us.
Gavin: For me, we performed to a few celebrities. Eric Idle, he was one of the first celebrities in Vegas that I played to. I didn’t actually spot him until like the last song. We ended up working with him as well for The Rutles, which is a kind of a Beatles parody. I know the guys had performed with him before. For me that was one of the highlights of performing with the Fab Four. My favorite performance with the lads, I can’t even think of what the best performance would be. For me, I suppose personally, it was performing in Liverpool for the first time with the guys. Having a lefty Paul coming over, been performing in Las Vegas for a few years, and then going back to my home town and people hadn’t seen me in years and I was on stage with the Fab Four. So that was like a homecoming gig for me and I really liked that.
Has anything surprised you about being a Beatles tribute band? What is the most challenging and best part about performing as them night after night?
Ron: The best part is that on stage, we’re four of the most famous people that ever walked the planet, but off stage we get to be ourselves, which is great. We don’t have to be recognized or have any autographs or anything like that. Although every once in a while we’ll get recognized, I got recognized at the gas station the other day, but for the most part it’s just a great chance to live out a dream every day you get to perform as one of your heroes and there’s nothing better than that. The challenging part of being in a Beatles tribute band, after 1966, the Beatles didn’t perform any of their music live on stage besides one performance on the Apple rooftop of some of the “Let It Be/Get Back” stuff, so that becomes a challenge. We have to perform everything live on stage, which includes trumpets and strings and different kinds of orchestral instruments, and it becomes a bit of a challenge to perform everything live as a four-piece. But I think that’s how we look at it. We look at it as a challenge and hope we meet people’s expectations ever night.
Gavin: I think the most challenging thing is trying to keep it fresh like it’s the first time you’ve ever played it. There’s a saying in Las Vegas, it’s called “Vegas Face.” And that means when people know the show inside and out, they just kind of phone it in and they know “I’ll say this now and after they’ll go ‘ha ha ha’ for like three seconds then I’ll just say something else.” Well, I never really got “Vegas Face” because I always really enjoyed what I was doing the whole time. It was always fresh because even though I did the same thing, the audiences were always different every time I performed for them. So it was like, I didn’t perform for the same people thousands of times. I think that’s what keeps it fresh is the audiences reactions and they still react so well after all these years. And that’s what surprises me.
Have any of you ever gotten the chance to play for or meet Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr?
Ron: I have never met any of the Beatles, although I ran into Ringo’s plumber once.
Gavin: I did actually meet Paul McCartney. I think I had only been performing a tribute act for like six months in Liverpool. After George passed away, there was a big dedication for George Harrison. There was a big performance with loads of local acts, not just tribute acts, but people who were around back then in the 60’s as well. After we performed, Paul McCartney was backstage, he looked at me and said “You look a bit like George” and I said “You look a bit like Paul.” He laughed and said “Ah, George would have loved that,” “Loved what? I don’t know, me shoes or me sense of humor?” I think he just meant the whole night because there was a lot of Indian music and a lot of different variations of his songs. I thought it was a nice fitting tribute to him.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs and your shows?
Ron: I think one of the reasons why The Beatles music has lasted so long is because of the message of peace and love. And it does sound a little corny, but I think it’s true. As long as that message rings true, I think the Beatles music will go on forever.
Gavin: At the end of the day, it sounds cheesy, it’s all about love. You can’t buy it. All you need is it. Love is mentioned so many times in the Beatles songs, that’s why they named a show after it in Vegas, “Love,” cuz it’s mentions 37,387 times. I think that’s what it is. Something that can never be bought, something can never be sold and it’s something we can all give. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world right now and instead of, like, arming the world, we could just give everyone flowers. You can’t do much with flowers other than plant them and add more flowers. I don’t know if we’re gonna change the world, hopefully we will. The Beatles did.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about The Fab Four?
Ron: Yes, we are completely honored to be on AXS TV on “The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands” performing the greatest album of all time on May 10. A splendid time is guaranteed for all!
Gavin: Yes, there’s four of us and we’re fab. And that’s all I’ve got to say. I don’t know what else to tell you really. Tune in on May 10 and see what we’ve got. We love playing the Beatles. We try to do them the best service we can by performing as well as we can and as close to the record as we can. And that’s the difference between a tribute act and a cover act is we make sure it sounds like it did on the record. Note for note, harmony for harmony. We make mistakes but that’s just part of being live. I’m looking forward to making loads of mistakes on AXS TV May 10. Anyway, thanks for the interview and I’ll speak to you all soon.