'Paul McCartney' of The Bootleg Beatles speaks about tour coming to Harrogate
The Bootleg Beatles are back next week in Harrogate performing a special set to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Please Please Me album, though the show will also feature music from the whole career, from Love Me Do to Let It Be.
Despite been formed in 1980 and being praised for getting each tiny vocal inflection and each witty Beatle quip spot on, it would be wrong to think the Bootlegs ever think about resting on their laurels.
According to Steve White, who has played Paul McCartney in the show for the last decade, the band used Peter Jackson’s recent Emmy Award winning TV series Get Back to learn even more about John, Paul, George and Ringo.
"Peter Jackson’s new version of the Let It Be film was such an eye-opener,” said Steve on the phone from his home in Nottingham.
"With eight hours of footage you could see a lot more of what the body language was like between the Beatles in 1969.
"We’ve used it as new source material.”
The world's premier Beatles cover band pride themselves on two things in particular – never using backing tapes and capturing the Fab Four’s character on stage in a meticulous fashion.
I suggest to Steve, who paid his dues as an aspiring young musician in the pubs and clubs, that what the Bootlegs do is as much a piece of theatre as a gig.
"Playing The Beatles’ brilliant music is one thing; as a musician, the natural thing on stage is to be yourself,” said Steve.
"But to be someone else like Paul McCartney involves acting.
"You need to put the hours in studying the gestures and the mannerisms.
"The audience know The Beatles very well already; they can see right through anything that isn’t good.
"That’s part of why we never using backing tracks, we always have a live orchestra.”
Even after performing more than 4,000 times as The Bootleg Beatles, albeit with no original members in the line-up now, there are some Beatles songs this globetrotting band have never played.
A few will turn up in the new tour, admits Steve, though, he jokes, more experimental fare such as Revolution 9 is unlikely.
I tell him I’ve interviewed three John Lennons previously but never a Paul McCartney.
"I actually played John in my early days in Beatles covers bands but everyone said I looked more like Paul so I had no choice but to switch and learn to play the bass left-handed.”
Despite the pressures of maintaining such high standards, Steve has had experienced many highlights since joining The Bootleg Beatles in 2012, including Glastonbury Festival and the Royal Albert Hall.
But, he reveals, his favourite show was somewhere off the beaten track.
"The one show that shocked me was Mongolia,” said Steve.
"We were in quite a remote place, playing in a market place to about 15,000 Mongolians.
"Their language is markedly different to English but they sang along to every word of every song we played.”
The Bootleg Beatles play the Royal Hall, Harrogate on Thursday, December 8.
For tickets, visit www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk