The Bootleg Beatles


From Love Me Do to Let It Be, from the Cavern to the Apple rooftop, from black and white to psychedelic technicolour, the world’s Premier Beatle band returns to take you on a whistle-stop journey through the most vibrant revolutionary and divisive decade of all - the Swinging Sixties. We chat to the fab 4 ahead of their Bath Forum show on 17th December...

How did you all come together to form the Bootleg Beatles?


The BBs were formed in 1980 and I wasn't in the band then. The present line up is roughly between its 2nd and 3rd incarnation.(There have been 3 pauls 3Johns 2 Georges and 4 Ringos)   Two of the original band members Neil and Andre (original John and George) are very active behind the scenes as managers. The present line up have known each other for years. We all played with one another in different groups over a past 15-20 years. The Beatle band world is quite niche and we all know every one that works in it. 


Have The Beatles always been a major part of your lives, and if not, when did you start to get into their music? 


To be honest I can't remember when I first heard them but I know that I was really into them when I was 8. I had a poster on my wall of a still from the Ed Sullivan Show and I'd bought several LPs with my pocket money and when my mum took me to school we played Beatles in the car.

How did you get into music and at what age did you realise you could make a career of it?


I started playing the drums when I was 15. I'd played the clarinet and piano before then but I was the worst possible student. The drums worked for me, mainly because I'm a quiet person and the drums allow me to be heard. Everyone can hear the drummer. I think the more you play music the more you realise that making a living out of it is very hard. I'm very lucky to be able to do it for a living


….and how far around the world have you travelled to play? 


Why? Is there a gig going somewhere? We've got passports? we'll go anywhere! We've just come back from tour in Australia and the Philippines. We sometimes go to New Zealand which I think is about as far as you can go away without actually coming back on yourself We go anywhere and everywhere. I think we've played on every continent except Antarctica. But the band could have played there before I joined. Unlikely but quite possible. We are looking forward to playing in Japan next year. That will be a highlight.


What were you all doing before the Bootleg Beatles? 


We were all doing pretty much the same thing. Playing in bands that wanted to be like the Bootleg Beatles. I think I played in more than 20 over the years. I lost count.

"I had a poster on my wall of a still from the Ed Sullivan Show and I'd bought several LPs with my pocket money and when my mum took me to school we played Beatles in the car."


What have been your most memorable gigs? 


Glastonbury Pyramid stage doing the Sgt Pepper album from start to finish with our orchestra in 2017. That was memorable. We play Glastonbury every year (so far)on the big acoustic stage. 2017 saw us play on both Pyramid (saturday afternoon)and the acoustic stage (sunday evening) but we played another much much smaller gig in surrey on the Saturday night so we couldn't stay in Glastonbury festival, And when we were onstage at that smaller gig on Saturday night we were all just thinking, "didnt we just play on the Pyramid at Glastonbury a few hours ago with Dave Grohl watching, Katie Perry in the dressing room next door, Jools Holland propping up the bar and Michael Eavis chatting to us while we got ready, or did we dream that... "


Have any of the bands families been to watch you play, and if so, what were their comments? 


They come and see us a lot of of the time actually. My daughter has just started coming to see us. She is 14. She has her favourite bands and couldn't work out why her favourite band wasn't playing on the main stage at a certain festival but had been relegated to a smaller stage when her boring old dad was playing the main stage and was being filmed for the BBC. I told her it was because  the band I was in was simply the best band out there doing what we do. Her friends are going to festivals next year and are texting her saying they are going to see her dad play.... I think she's going to need therapy now. We go shopping for makeup together. My son i(16yrs old) would rather not know his dad dresses up and wears makeup for a living, so he hasn't seen me play for a while. But they are both a little bit stunned and mildly impressed (teenage impressed) when they see photos of me with famous people like Nile Rogers and Sam Fender who we met at the TRNSMT festival in Glasgow in the summer. I got a couple of grunts out of them for that.

How long does it take to transfer into one of the Beatles?


 If you mean time taken before I go onstage every night then its 90 minutes for me because my makeup routine is extremely comprehensive!! But if you mean how long does it take to learn how to be a convincing Beatle impersonator than its a job that you never stop learning how to do. Ive been doing it about 25 years and I think the problem is that the Beatles are so well known and so distinctive that you have to get it exactly right or you've failed and that's a very hard thing to do. It takes years and years to get close really.


Finally, off all the amazing songs that form the Beatles back catalogue, is there a favourite you like to play? 


Strawberry fields forever because is a great drummy song. But I like "I've got a feeling" Its a great song with  great feel and the audience love that one.


The Bootleg Beatles come to The Bath Forum on December 17th. To book tickets, simply click the link below and follow the steps...