February 2003 entry
The new revised paperback edition of Beatles Gear was released a few months back and has been well received. A limited hardbound version of the revised edition was also released and at this point is almost sold out. The revised edition has many new pictures and updated text - well worth checking out. Working with my band The Chesterfield Kings on our new LP that is due out this spring has taken up most of my time, but I still managed to attend some promotional events for Beatles Gear.
I've just returned from the University of Oklahoma where Professor Carl Rath had invited me to give a few lectures at the University (pictured L-R: Carl, myself and Eldon). It was a great time and I thank Carl and Dr. Eldon Matlick for having me.
(with Professor Carl Rath and Barnes & Noble's Sandy See)
While in Oklahoma I also visited a very nice Barns & Noble for a scheduled books signing. The highlight of the weekend was the performances by 1964 - the Tribute. I had heard so much about the band but had never seen them perform.
(1964 in action!)
The University of Oklahoma has 1964 play every year and fortunately professor Rath planed my lectures the same weekend. I must say that 1964 is the BEST Beatles tribute band I have ever seen! The harmonies and instrumentation were impeccable. The best part was that the members of the band were all real cool guys. I had a lot of fun hanging out with Mark, Gary, Jimmy and Greg talking about the Beatles' gear. A real great bunch of guys and a phenomenal band. A must see for any Beatle fan!
Mark Lapidos has had me to three of his Beatlefests in 2002 and I had a ton of fun at each one. Beatlefest has changed the name of their convention to the Fest For Beatles Fans. Mark has asked me to speak again at the 2003 NYC Metro Beatlefest at the Crown Plaza Meadowlands this March 28, 29 & 30. I look forward to being there as I find meeting all the different Beatle people and collectors very interesting. I've made a lot of friend at Beatle conventions and I look forward to seeing everyone again in NYC this March. Don't miss this one because the legendary Donovan is the special guest and he'll be doing a special acoustic set. I'm a huge Donovan fan and I can't wait to hear him play!
(with Alistair and Billy J.)
Beatlefests are also great because I get a chance to hang out with guys like Alistair Taylor and Billy J. Kramer over a beer and hear them tell great old Beatle stories. I can listen to those guys for hours!
Joey Molland of Badfinger was one of the coolest guys I had met! At the Boston Fest we stayed up all night with Joey tipping a few, listening to tunes and talking to him about his days with Badfinger. It was a trip! Well I hope to see everyone at Beatlefest in NYC. Till then...
May 2002 entry
Since Beatles Gear was published I've received hundreds of emails and correspondence with wonderful comments from readers. Beatles Gear has also been well received in the press with very favorable reviews in a wide array of major publications. I am very grateful to everyone for the kind comments and reviews. This past March, I was invited to speak at Mark Lapidos's Beatlefest 2002 at the Crown Plaza Meadowlands. I had the pleasure of meeting a lot of Beatle people while there.
A highlight for me was hanging out with Klaus Voormann (pictured R-L: my pal Kim, Klaus and myself). Listening to Klaus tell his amazing stories was a real treat - he's a true artist and a gentleman! Mark Lapidos has asked me to speak at the 25th annual Beatles convention - Beatlefest 2002 - Chicago Fest, August 16, 17 & 18th, 2002 at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel. Go to Beatlefest.com for more info.The Buffalo and Erie Count Historical Society has asked me to speak at their museum during the Buffalo Niagara Guitar Festival June 21, 2002 at 7:00pm. For more info contact www.bechs.org. I will be giving talks on Beatles Gear that will include a slide show and audio presentation. I look forward to meeting more Beatle people, hope to see you there. Till then ...
January 2002 entry
The book launch for Beatles Gear started on November 1st in England. The great staff at Backbeat Books UK / Outline Press set up a busy schedule of press, book signings and seminars throughout England which included a very special Northern book launch at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool. I was very excited hanging out on Mathew Street taking in the vibes.
It wasn't long after the presentation at the Cavern that I found my way over to The Grapes Pub. I couldn't resist downing a few pints in honor of the Fab Four. A few days later, an extraordinary London book launch was held at Madame Tussauds Wax Works.
The surreal atmosphere of people mixed with wax dummies was wild. To make things even more amusing the curators of Madame Tussauds set up the display of the wax Beatles sitting on a couch right in front of the stage during the book presentation. It's very bizarre doing a book presentation on the Beatles' gear while the wax Beatles are sitting there watching you!
On hand during the UK book tour were Tony Bacon, editor and publisher of Beatles Gear as well as Michael and Pete from London's own Counterfeit Beatles. The book presentations consisted of Tony Bacon posing questions as I told stories about the Beatles' gear, then the Counterfeit Beatles used their phenomenal arsenal of Beatle guitars to help demonstrate the various sounds we were talking about.
Michael and Pete played great versions of my favorite Beatle songs. We had a ball hanging out! From England I was off to Manhattan were Backbeat Books here in the States set up a special US book launch at Manny's on 48th Street. It only seemed natural to do the book launch there because the Beatles bought some of their gear from Manny's in the 1960's. To help with the launch members of the Beatles tribute band Fab Mania performed an acoustic set of Beatle tunes.
It was a real splendid time for one and all! A highlight during my stay in Manhattan was when I was invited to host a radio program airing on WNYU-FM called "Plastic Tails". The show's host Arnie let me go through the book and play Beatle studio out-takes ("bootleg's" - I'm not suppose to call them that) to help illustrate the sounds I was talking about in the book. We crammed a ton of toons in the brief hour and a half, which made the studio's phone lines light up like a Christmas tree! It was a blast playing all those bootlegs (thanks to my pal Kim) on the radio for people to hear. After more press in NYC, I was finally headed back to my hometown here in Rochester, New York for more press and a book signing at a Barnes & Noble. All in all the book launch for Beatles Gear was a great success thanks to a wonderful set of people who worked real hard behind the scenes to make it all happen. I am real fortunate to have such a great publisher. A big THANK YOU to everyone at Backbeat Books! You guys are the best!!