It was kind of an accident when Ryan Monahan and Josh McMichael formed a Beatles cover band six months ago.
Monahan had inherited a few pieces of gear similar to what The Beatles used, like a Hofner bass guitar — the kind used by Paul McCartney — and a Vox amplifier.
So, Monahan said he thought incorporating these items with his love for The Beatles would be a perfect combination for a Beatles cover band.
“It’s a lot of fun and one thing that we’ve done over the past couple shows that has worked out really well is that we’ve bought a bunch of percussion instruments, like a tambourine and a cow bell, and we’ll call people up after they have started to loosen up a little bit and have them play on stage with us. ... People really get a kick out of that.”
Beatles For Sale only plays the early Beatles hits like “Love Me Do,” “Eight Days a Week,” “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Beatles For Sale is based in Athens but on Friday locals can check out the band at Wild Wing Cafe.
We spoke with Monahan to find out what it’s like to play in a Beatles cover band, how the band recreates The Beatles on stage and what the fans are like.
Question: How did you come up with the idea of putting together Beatles For Sale? Are all the members of the band hard-core Beatles fans?
Answer: I have known Josh since we were sophomores in high school, and we had always been big Beatles fans. And it’s just something that evolved naturally. It wasn’t until I moved down here from New Haven, Conn. ... it started off as a whimsical idea: “Wouldn’t it be cool to start a Beatles cover band?” We started learning a few songs and realized, “We could actually do this.” So, we just kind of put a set list together and gradually added more and more songs and now we are up to about 45 or so and the list keeps growing.
Q: What other bands have influenced Beatles For Sale’s style of music?
A: I have roots in classical and jazz; I did have formal music training but also I guess mostly influenced by obscure indie rock bands. ... My original music is much, much different than The Beatles. It’s kind of like ambient folk music.”
Q: If you could record a Beatles song, what song would it be and what genre of music would you use to record the track?
A: There’s a Beatles song called “Misery.” It’s not as well known but it’s kind of a more Roy Orbison style, and I like that kind of soaring vocal style Roy Orbison had, so that might be one of them.”
Q: How do you recreate such an iconic band like The Beatles on stage?
A: A lot of hard work; we learn the songs note for note. ... We have a book that has all the Beatles songs written in score format meaning each of the parts are written out individually. In terms of stage presence, at first my hair was long enough and I could comb it into a mop top and Josh’s wasn’t so he bought a wig. Here in Athens we kind of do the suits and ties and slacks and dress shoes and that whole bit.
Q: What are your fans like? Are they are wanting to see recreations of the original Beatles members or are they into your style of Beatles cover songs?
A: We have tried to go out of the way to dress the part as much as we can, and I think people like that aspect. I think they just kind of want to hear the songs and we play only the early Beatles music up till 1967 because after ’67 The Beatles stopped playing out, and they started recording albums only in the studio. So in a sense we are what The Beatles would have done. We only play songs live that The Beatles would have played live because ... at that point in their career they were only down to the studio.