Nashville tribute band bringing Beatles tunes to Pulaski

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

What do The Beatles and Mexican fajitas have in common?

They’re the ingredients that produced the next tribute band taking the stage at Pulaski Theatre March 24.

The WannaBeatles, based in Nashville, like to say they go “where no Beatles band has gone before.” They got their start 10 years ago playing background music in a Mexican restaurant in Nashville.

Band member Dennis Scott recalls how they played some Beatles tunes one night and it was such a hit with the customers “Beatles and fajitas” became the chosen fare.

Now the band plays up and down the East Coast year-round and are about to make their first trip west to Oregon.

Scott and band members Bryan Cumming, Nathan Burbank and David Toledo aren’t a Beatles look-a-like band by any means. That doesn’t mean fans of The Beatles — or even non-fans — won’t enjoy the show, though.

Since band members aren’t “married” to the characters of John, Paul, George and Ringo, Scott says, it gives them a lot of freedom to step outside of those personas when performing.

Besides, since John Lennon and George Harrison are no longer among the living, he says he finds it “kind of macabre” to try to look like them.

“It’s more of a variety show,” he said of their performance. “There’s a lot of surprises, but it’ll still make Beatles fans happy.”

He says the show includes humor and performances of some non-Beatles songs that tie into Beatles history. “Hello Dolly” by Louis Armstrong, for example. That’s the song that finally knocked the Beatles off the top spot on the charts in 1964.

The group’s album, “Fab Fan Memories — The Beatles Bond” was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2012 for Best Spoken Word Album. Narrated by George Harrison’s “big sister,” Scott says, “That’s probably as close as we’ll ever get to a Beatle.”

The Grammy Awards ceremony actually provided fodder for two more of the band’s songs, “Oh Betty!” and “We Wanna Meet Paul.”

Scott explained that Paul McCartney was at the awards ceremony and they hoped to meet him, but the closest they got was about a few hundred feet. The Betty, also known as the “Betty White Song,” refers to the fact Betty White won the Grammy for which they were nominated.

Scott says the audience is likely to hear those songs at Pulaski Theatre, too.

He describes their concert as more of a time machine than a timeline. In other words, they play all eras of Beatles songs, but not in chronological order. “We like to pace them with the audience and play the song that’s best for the moment,” he added.

Asked whether the famous “Paul is Dead” hoax plays a part in their show, Scott just said, “I’m pretty convinced he’s still alive.”

All band members are full-time musicians. Two members direct music programs at their church and one owns a recording studio. Scott produces children’s music, which has earned him Grammy Awards.

But he calls The WannaBeatles “the most fun gig I’ve ever had.”

To get Pulaski “energized” for their 8 p.m. show, Scott said efforts are afoot to have March 24 declared Beatles Day in Pulaski. They also plan to seek out children’s choirs and dance groups to come onstage with them on some songs.

There’s also audience interaction, Scott added. “We like to make it more like a party” than just a concert, he said.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

Tickets are available online at pulaskitheatre.org and at Martin’s Pharmacy and The Southwest Times in Pulaski, and Pulaski Visitors Center in Dublin.

The theatre is at 14 W. Main St. in Pulaski.

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