Ex-Beatle Pete Best Coming To Island

(Kevin MacMichael tours with Best)
From The Guardian, Prince Edward Island, Canada (August 28, 2000)
Written by Doug Gallant

The original drummer for The Beatles, Pete Best, will bring his unique stage show to Charlottetown next month as part of a world tour that will take in cities in more than a half-dozen countries.

Best of The Beatles - Pete Best in Conversation in Concert will be presented in the ballroom at the Delta Prince Edward Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. The Charlottetown date, which is a licensed show open only to those 19 and over, is being jointly presented by City Cinema and The Buzz.

Best spent more than two years drumming for what many regard as the single most important group in the history of recorded music. He sat behind John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison during the band's formative years, playing literally hundreds of shows with the band, more live shows some suggest than Ringo Starr.

The Madras-born musician - his parents moved from India to Liverpool after the Second World War - was still with the band when they began to develop a fanatical following in Liverpool and in Hamburg.

The Beatles' story documents Best as the drummer who performed on the group's first recording sessions in Germany, on the famous Decca Records sessions. He was also their drummer when they met and auditioned in London for producer George Martin.

Best's place in the history of The Beatles' cannot be diminished. Just as the group was about to embark on a journey into pop music history, he was replaced by Ringo Starr in a move that created a huge amount of controversy. Best stepped out of the music world for a number of years but resurfaced with a new band in 1989.

Much interest has been shown in the man and his story. After the release of his book, Beatle: The Pete Best Story, he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and The David Letterman Show and was a guest with Geraldo Rivera. A CD called Back To The Beat was recorded live at The Cavern Club in Liverpool and The Beatles Anthology issued in 1995 featured 10 tracks with Pete Best.

Best of The Beatles is divided into two segments. The first program, The Long and Winding Road, is a narrative accounting of The Beatles' story during their early years in Liverpool and Hamburg. It traces the origins of the groups that eventually led Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best to come together as the band that would later define an entire generation.

Best discusses the era of skiffle music and the effect of American rock'n'roll on English teens in the late 1950s and early '60s. He talks about The Beatles as individuals, exploring the influences they used to create their own special brand of magic. The Mersey Sound is explained, and the clubs of Liverpool and Hamburg are viewed as the backdrop to illustrate how The Beatles climbed past all of their contemporaries to become the number one group in the north of England. Their management by Brian Epstein, failed recording tests and the struggle that led to their eventual recording contract in London are all a part of the incredible story.

Through a question and answer segment, audience members are invited to talk to someone who was a part of it all, giving them the opportunity to find out firsthand the answers to any questions they may have.

The second of the two programs, Mach Shau, gives the audience a rare glimpse of the music that made The Beatles so entertaining live. In a one-hour show, the raw excitement and energy that was a part of the early years is captured accurately by the drummer who helped make it happen. The show includes American rock songs the band used to cover in their shows as well as original Beatles material. It's been described as a rare opportunity to bring an audience together with a major player in the chronology of The Beatles' early years, one who performed with the band when fans were yelling, "John, Paul, George and Pete!"

Helping make this music live again with Best is a band comprised of three powerhouse musicians: guitarist/vocalist Kevin MacMichael, guitarist/vocalist Floyd King and bass guitarist/vocalist Paul Eisan.

MacMichael worked steadily in the Maritime music scene before deciding to emigrate to England, leaving Canada in June 1985 to form a band in London with British songwriter Nick Van Eede. That group was Cutting Crew and their debut album, Broadcast, included the hit songs, (I Just) Died In Your Arms and I've Been In Love Before. The former was a No. 1 record in 19 countries in 1987. They were nominated for a Grammy Award as Best New Artist and appeared on dozens of international television programs, including England's Top of Pops and The Johnny Carson Show in the U.S.

During 1992, MacMichael was approached by former Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant and Tears for Fears producer Chris Hughes to collaborate on Plant's Fate Of Nations CD.

King has been involved in the music industry for almost 30 years. A seasoned veteran of the Canadian club circuit and an accomplished songwriter, his song Come Home To Nova Scotia won out over more than 200 as the theme in Nova Scotia's Old Home Summer campaign.

Eisan has always been busy in the world of the performing arts. His vocal talent brought him to the attention of Neptune Theatre's directors and he was given a part in their production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. When Theatre New Brunswick needed the services of a powerful vocalist, they too turned to Eisan for their production of John Gray's 18 Wheels.

Posted: Oct. 19/2000