More than a tribute band

Friday, June 15, 2012

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

The WannaBeatles band performed in the Marshall County Community Theatre last weekend and the impressive crowd was offered a performance arranged for the Second Saturday events conducted by the Lewisburg Downtown Alliance.

"This is more than a tribute band," WannaBeatles spokesman Dennis Scott said backstage before the performance coordinated to be paired with dinner at the '50s Ice Cream Parlor next door on Church Street. "This is a Beatles variety extravaganza."

The band grew from "an evening of Beatles and fajitas at the Mexicali Grill" in Cool Springs nearly 29 years ago, Scott said as the musicians donned their costumes for a close-up shot.

"We did some Beatles (songs) and some Bryan Cummings," the spokesman said.

Their rendition of the British band of the 1960s and beyond impressed the crowd at the Williamson County restaurant, so the musicians decided to pursue that act.

"We include elements of comedy and other '60s references," Scott said. That includes impressions of Ed Sullivan, the network TV variety show host who first broadcast the Beatles in the United States.

Jimmy Stewart, Carol Channing and John Lennon are other victims of their impressions.

WannaBeatle Bryan Cummings has first-hand experience on how John Lennon sounded when not on stage.

They were recording in the same set of studios in New York City in 1974.

"My employer was Martin Mull," Cummings said. "He was the artist. I was playing sax, coronet..."

Another musician "got drunk" the night before and didn't show up for the recording session and Mull called in Cummings, he said. "Very irresponsible."

The WannaBeatles make extensive use of a keyboard because some of the Beatles songs had orchestration that Nathan Burbank has rewritten for the instruments the four WannaBeatles have available.

"'Eleanor Rigby' is one (song) I took and made it work for the four of us," Burbank said.

The Green Hills resident was trained as a classical organist, but he always wanted to be in a rock 'n' roll band, he said.

The next Second Saturday is July 14. Andrea Childress is organizing that day's activities.

"We're going to try to have an art stroll and we are approaching businesses with space for displays and artists who want to show their work," she said Thursday.