Tribute bands revive Beatles vs. Stones rivalry in Flagstaff - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Arts & Life

Tribute bands revive Beatles vs. Stones rivalry in Flagstaff

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Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2012 12:05 pm | Updated: 9:52 am, Tue Jun 19, 2012.

No doubt the 1960s are long gone, but this year, the mods and the rockers are it again.  

Beatles vs. Stones — A Musical Shoot Out will pit Rolling Stones tribute band Jumping Jack Flash against rival Brit boys Abbey Road in an all-out musical showdown for rock dominance at 7 p.m. April 20 at the Green Room, 15 N. Agassiz St. in downtown Flagstaff.

From Mick Jagger’s (Sir Todd Loweth) infamous gyrations to Keith Richards’ (Young Hutchison) sweet licks, Brian Jones’ Vox Teardrop and the band’s original wardrobe, Jumping Jack Flash brings all the authenticity of an old Stones show into 2012.

“Some of the ‘Keith-isms’ that the big fans just love are the blacked-out-tooth, electrical tape around the snakeskin boots and the disjointed walk he was famous for,” Hutchison said. “We’ve done everything to present the music per the original album versions, because that’s what fans have been singing along to for the last 50 years and that’s the way they want to hear it. We’re not even the Stones, but people just go wild.”

Show producers Tom Maher and Andy Nagle auditioned more than 200 Beatles hopefuls at a casting call in 2008, many of whom played in their own Beatles tribute bands.

“Most of them came in Beatles gear, Beatles wigs — they were all in character,” Nagle said. “All the Pauls were running around trying to out-Paul each other, the Johns were brooding, the Ringos were off by themselves. It was a room full of guys that all loved Beatles music, it was surreal.”

For their part, the members of touring Beatles tribute band Abbey Road bring the mop-top haircuts, harmonies and boyish charm of everybody’s favorite Liverpudlians to the stage. They also play modern reissues of the exact same instruments and amps used by the Fab Four.

Axel Clarke (Ringo Starr), a high school and college teacher by day, prepares for his time behind the drum kit by studying old video footage, listening to band interviews, and mimicking Starr’s specific performance style.

“Ringo’s style and physical approach to the drumset were unique,” Clarke said. “He sat very high with his drums low, used big sweeping arm movements, punched at his cymbals more than striking them, bounced his torso in time and kicked his head to the side on big accents — and smiled like a goon at all times. That’s Ringo 101 for you.”

Clarke and his bandmates also spend time mining the original Beatles recordings for specific nuances and unintentional flubs that ended up on the final cut.  

“There are subtle mistakes all over the Beatles’ recordings. In “All My Lovin,” Ringo forgets the form of the song and goes into the chorus beat by mistake. He plays that beat for one bar, realizes his error, and switches back to the verse beat. Most people might not notice things like that, but it adds a level of authenticity and would feel weird if it wasn’t there.”

Kicking off the show in signature “A Hard Day’s Night”-era black suits, the band runs through several costume changes, including mustaches and wigs (a la Sgt. Pepper’s) and full-on Abbey Road attire, before the night is through.

On stage, the bands alternate mini sets and trade improvised barbs and banter between songs to act out the famous rivalry.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.greenhouseproductions.net and are on sale at Rainbows End and the Green Room or by phoning 928-853-4292. Jumping Jack Flash’s website is www.jjflash.biz and Abbey Road’s site is www.inmylifetheplay.com.

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