BeatleLinks LogoNav Panel New Sites Cool Sites Top Rated Fab Forum Add A Site Link To Us Revolution Radio New Products



Go Back   BeatleLinks Fab Forum > Beatles Forums > I Read The News Today


Reply

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old Aug 30, 2006, 12:28 AM   #1
I am the Paulrus
Bulldog
 
I am the Paulrus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 14, 2003
Location: Here, There, and Everywhere
Posts: 2,203
Default Ex-Beatles drummer still on the beat

Ex-Beatles drummer still on the beat

By MICHAEL HILL
The Associated Press

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


COLONIE, N.Y. As the live beat of Beatles classics begins bouncing off the walls of the Elks Lodge, a man with a gray mustache stands before his drum set and speaks up in a Liverpool lilt.

"Let's take you back," he tells the crowd, "to the days when I used to play with a bunch of guys by the names of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison ... "

Ringo Starr's playing the Elks club?

No.

Meet Pete Best, the drummer booted from the band just before Beatlemania exploded. John, Paul, George and new guy Ringo went on to become voices of a generation, musical and cultural history.

Best became a civil servant.

If there was bitterness and Best says there was not he doesn't show it. In fact, the 64-year-old drummer immerses himself in his Beatles past. He regularly bangs out the same beats he played as a young man in the seamy clubs of Hamburg and the crammed confines of the Cavern in Liverpool. Only now he plays with his own band in clubs and parks and places like this lodge in suburban Albany, N.Y.

Great attitude

"I was strong enough to put it behind me," Best says. "You wake up one morning and say, 'What's that use of crying over spilled milk?' "

The Pete Best Band is a six-piece outfit that rips through chestnuts like "Roll Over Beethoven," "Please Mr. Postman," and "P.S. I Love You." Sets center on music the Beatles cut their teeth on from 1960-62, when the band featured Best, whose mother owned a Liverpool club called the Casbah. Just like the old days, Best leaves the singing and harmonizing to his band mates, content now to split drumming duties with his brother Roag.

He also stages more intimate shows in which he tells anecdotes from the old days and takes questions from the audience. The most common question, of course, is: Why were you replaced?

"A mystery," Best says. His mates never told him, he adds, and they left the unpleasant deed to the group's manager.

"Lo and behold, after playing the Cavern one day, Brian Epstein called me into his office and told me that was that," Best recalls.

The consensus among Beatleologists is that the other three and the band's new producer George Martin felt Best's drumming was simply not up to snuff. Personality issues may have played a part, too.

Best was reserved and displayed little of the trademark Beatles cheekiness. He never got a mop top. Maybe worse, Best was very popular with the Liverpool girls. As Bob Spitz recounts in his exhaustive 2005 book "The Beatles," Paul, in particular, noticed the "orgasm of shrieks" when Best was introduced on stage.

Best shrugs off reasons offered over the years as "conspiracy theories," though he insists the criticism of his drumming "doesn't hold water," since he had a crackerjack reputation in Liverpool.

Personality still the same

Best is grayer and a tad heavier than the leather-clad looker in old Beatles pictures, but he retains the unassuming manner ascribed to him as a young man. At the Elks Lodge show, he slips back behind his drum set after his introductory remarks and spends the set knocking out a beat with his head bowed down. If he had stayed a Beatle, he would have given George a run for his money for the "quiet one" tag.

A few hours before the gig, Best shows up in sweats and sneakers for a meet and greet at the local veterans hospital. Introduced to patients as the Beatles' original drummer, he genially shakes hands and answers questions he's heard again and again.

"So, you know George Harrison and Paul and all those guys?" one patient asks.

"Yeah, played with them for two years," Best says.

"You know Pete Townshend?" the patient asks.

Not really, Best says.

Another patient in a wheelchair, who keeps two Beatles posters by his bed, acts thrilled to shake Best's hand. Still another asks him about being replaced by Ringo.

"It was a long time ago," Best says, "a lot of things have moved on since then."

After his sacking, Best landed a gig playing with another Liverpool band, Lee Curtis and the All Stars. He saw his old mates when the All Stars played on the same bill as the Beatles, but they never spoke.

"We passed like ships in the night," he says.

"I'm the happy one"

He quit show business in 1968 for a job with Britain's civil service and worked his way up to training manager, a job in which ironically he prepared workers for new jobs. He returned to the stage around the end of his government career in 1988 for what he thought would be a "one-off concert" and has been going ever since with his own band.

He could be excused for brooding over the life Ringo has led the riches, the Bond-girl wife, touring with all-star bands. But Best stresses his blessings. He's been married for going on 44 years, with children and grandchildren. Women still scoot near his drum set to take his picture. His band has an album of original material coming out next year.

"In hindsight, that was my karma," he says," he says. "I still have my health, I have a beautiful wife, a family, a band."

"I'm the happy one, no matter what happened."

And he finally showed up on a best-selling Beatles album in 1995, the first of three releases in the vault-clearing Anthology series. Though Anthology 1 deals Best yet another indignity he's beheaded in the main picture of the cover collage he still gets residuals for tracks that feature his work.

Best also is happy that he got to tell his version of what happened during the band's formative days in the slyly titled "Best of the Beatles," which showed on PBS last year and is now out on DVD. And he gets to play the old songs to appreciative crowds like the Elks, a show that ends with a one-two punch of "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Twist and Shout."

Middle-age couples jam the linoleum in front of the stage, twisting, smiling and singing along to the ascending "Ahhhh"s of the final song's chorus.

As Best pounds away with his head down, lead singer Chris Cavanagh raps over the big beat, "Ladies and gentlemen, Pete Best is the ORIGINAL drummer of the Beatles," drawing a big cheer.
__________________
"Excuse me, do you mind not farting while I'm saving the world?" -The 9th Doctor, DOCTOR WHO episode "World War Three"
I am the Paulrus is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Was Beatlemania a media-hype? bearkat77 Abbey Road 23 Jul 17, 2009 10:32 AM
UK Album Chart Records 1958-1995 Wolf And Your Bird Can Sing 4 Jul 12, 2005 02:42 AM
Buried Treasure SF4-EVER I Read The News Today 5 Feb 07, 2003 06:22 PM
Animaniacs and The Beatles? Sgt.McCartney Abbey Road 7 Jul 13, 2002 01:09 PM


Advertisements

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Site Features
Search Links

  Advanced Search
Category Jump



BeatleMail

FREE E-MAIL
@ BEATLEMAIL.COM


Username


Password




New User Sign-Up!
Lost Password?
Beatles History




Donate
The costs of running our database and discussion forum are steadily rising. Any help we receive is greatly appreciated. Click HERE for more information about donating to BeatleLinks.
Extras
» Chat Room
» Current News
» Monthly Contest
» Interviews Database
» Random Site
» Banner Exchange
» F.A.Q.
» Advertise
» Credits
» Legal
» Contact Us
Copyright © 2000-2020 BeatleLinks
All Rights Reserved