Beatle Paisan

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

For All-Things Beatles (and beyond)

As you may or may not be aware, my Beatles' program "Just Four Guys" airs on every Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 (Eastern time). HOWEVER, JFG also airs on - Sundays at 9:00a (Pacific)/Noon (Eastern). I also have the great privilege of hosting a show on Beatlesarama Monday - Friday at 9:00a (Pacific)/Noon (Eastern).

Just an FYI...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Your Beatle Story...

Everyone who's a Beatle Fan has a story that details The Beatles' relevance in their life. Whether it's the first time you saw The Beatles (on Ed Sullivan), heard The Beatles on that crackly AM radio you had back in the early 60s, or how you felt the day you heard John Lennon and George Harrison died - you have definitive feelings on the subject of the Fab Four - together or apart. And if you're a younger, newer fan of The Beatles, you have been regaled with tales of the aforementioned by your folks.

Please leave your Beatle Story for all to digest.



Friday, October 9, 2009

John Lennon

Remembering John today...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Heavy Metal Interpretations of Beatle Tunes

Imagine if John, Paul, George & Ringo "got busy" with James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and Robert Trujillo of Metallica. The offspring would no doubt be "Beatallica" (and yes, such a band exists... and they're AWESOME!!)

Jaymz Lennfield, Kliff McBurtney, GRG Hammetson & Ringo Larz comprise this "tributization" to Metallica and The Beatles. In the next week or so, it's Beatallica, Beatallica and nothing BUT Beatallica on "Just Four Guys - The Most Realistic Beatle Show on Earth.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Ever wonder what you're purpose in life is? Unless you're like one of those guys who likes to get stiff (drunk) every weekend, watch Sports Channel, and "bless" your girlfriend or wife with your awesome presence, you more than likely ponder your role on Earth (if you were like the aforementioned type, you wouldn't be reading this in the first place).

John, Paul, George & Ringo knew at a very early age what they were meant to do with their lives. That always amazed me. I've been in awe of that fact my whole life. If I'm being honest, I've also had my moments of extreme envy. I always thought "My GOD - To be so dedicated to one thing, at the behest of all else"! When you're a teenager, that's a gift (A BLESSING).

I don't know what it says about me that I think about The Beatles talent, focus, impact, and overall mystique every day of my life - even if it's for just a minute of so. Once they were Beatles, they were Beatles forever. Whether they were a performing unit or solo, they would always be Beatles. They didn't have to think about what they would have to do for a job, how they would pay the mortgage, budgetary constraints - none of the of seemingly mundane worries you and I run through in our mind on a day-to-day basis.

But it occurs to me now & then that we all "arrive" at our essence in due time. Whether it happens when you're 16 or 46, if you hold out hope for what you know is inside of you to begin to manifest itself in unexpected ways, your psyche will begin to smile. Those mundane tasks don't gnaw away at you quite as much. You deal much better - with life.

Harry Truman, Grandma Moses, Colonel Sanders, Rodney Dangerfield - all began their career after 40 (or, at least, began to really flourish after 40).

So, be true to you. Explore what drives you, and keep the faith.

Monday, September 14, 2009


This past Sunday, September 13th, I had an Mvyradio event to host at The Pinehills - a community in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It's one of those developments that has units - condos - ranging from $550,000 to $2 Million. Beautiful place, nice people.
It was one of those promotional events where Mvyradio will emcee either their annual "Jazz & Blues on the Green" show.

One of the displays set-up near our tent was for an artist named Tom Zotos. Of course, I wasn't the one to make initial contact with the artist. It was my 10-year-old daughter, Tess. Before I even saw the guy's work, she'd already charmed the socks of this man and his wife, Nancy. Tess is one of the rare kids who truly appreciates history, especially cultural history. And Tom's work is just that - Cultural History.

I remember back in the late 1980s when Mel Blanc - one of my heroes - passed away. THE VOICE - the one and only voice of the original Looney Tunes characters - was sadly silenced. Not too long afterwards, an illustration appeared that moved me beyond words. It depicted all the Looney Tune characters - Bugs, Yosemite, Elmer, Tweety, Sylvester, etc - grouped together, eyes closed, heads downward, while a a spotlight shined on an empty microphone...

Tom Zotos is the man who created that illustration.

Getting the opportunity to meet this man - someone obviously steeped in the same things I absolutely love - was an absolute honor. And to top it all off, he's one hell of a great guy. As my Mom used to say, it's "like we went to different schools together!".

Another classic piece Tom has created is one very similar to the Mel Blanc previously mentioned, only it was one for Frank Sinatra (which, by the way, was done at the request of the Sinatra Family!!).

To say Tom has some serious "street cred" would be like saying The Beatles put out a few good tunes (Tom has also been commissioned by Yoko Ono to create a depiction of John Lennon).

I implore you to check out this man's work. Here is his website at

Thursday, September 10, 2009

To Play Music - Just Do It!

Ah, for the days of whiling away hours - literally - playing my guitar(s). I'd not meditated seriously prior to playing music. And it only took me a few years afterwards that I realized that I actually WAS meditating! Playing music - on whatever level - is a meditative experience. It's a learning experience. It's a beautiful experience. And, as you might imagine, playing along to Beatle Music just heightened my experience.

If you've ever dreamed of playing music but felt intimidated, fear not. Just look & listen to those who dare to call themselves "musicians". They have an arsenal of five (5) chords that they use over & over in different incantations. But who's to say they are ridiculous? They're doing it! They are playing music!! While we can be scornful of the three-to-five-chord wonders, we should at least learn those five chords first before we cast aspersions on these so-called posers. They are doing what they love to do. They have "grabbed the bull by the balls and kicked those punks off campus!" (Sorry, lapsed into an "Animal House" moment...).

It's the old story. Those that may have a fraction of the talent or genius that you do, BUT they're out there doing it & enjoying life (which equates to a successful life, really).

So, how 'bout we get off our collective tuckus' and get playin' our "axe of choice!" That part of yourself that's been empty and in the waiting room of life will immediately feel "in the game".

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hey There,

I owe it to you to let you know just how friggin' AMAZING Beatles Rock Band is! I'm 46 years old, I play guitar, I play bass, tinker around fairly well on the drums, sing, etc... However, the time, energy, reverence, technology and history that went into putting this game - Beatles Rock Band - together makes it an absolute must for any self-respecting Beatle Fan to own.
I played with my wife and daughter this past evening and had the best time I've had in a long, long time. AND, they are the actual Beatle songs (not some lousy cover version)!!!. Dhani Harrison got this whole thing started, Paul, Ringo, Olivia Harrison & Yoko Ono all signed off on it.

Again, the only electronic game I've ever really been into is Pinball (and that's going back almost 30 years). I'm not very video game -oriented. But THIS... This is a different story.

Get it and you'll see what I mean. To hear a conversation with one of the developers of Beatles Rock Band, please go to the following link:

It will also air as a podcast next Tuesday afternoon, September 15th, at 4:00 on

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Keeping Your Head Together

In these trying economic times, listening to The Beatles can be a very soothing tonic. If you're one who's having a rough go of it these days, you owe it to yourself to devote at least a half-hour to an hour of listening to The Beatles- together or solo. 'Cause if you're a lifelong Beatle Fan - love just about everything that came from those four guys, and can't live completely without having Beatle music in your life - then your DNA has been mutated in the most wonderful way possible. Your body craves Beatle Music.
It sounds a bit screwed up to put it that way. But even a "Lay Beatle Fan" can admit that The Beatles were a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. The music (and how they played and sang it), the approach, the attitude, and their overall message - very friendly, very healthy, very meditative music to keep your head together with.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A "Yellow Submarine" Remake???? Oy Vay...

So, I hear-tell that there is a remake of Yellow Submarine in the works... As you might imagine, I'm not pleased. It just speaks to the fact that Hollywood is lost when it comes to generating new ideas for movies. So, why not just bastardize a classic Beatles movie, right? 'Cause we all know just how excellent Robert Stigwood's "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was, right?

It's a phenomenon I've never understood ("Hey, I've got an idea! Let's remake a movie that was never meant to be remade! Let's embarrass the hell out of the actors involved! Let's insult the original screenwriter! And, lest we forget, let's waste people's money, time and patience!"

More later...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Aerovons' Tom Hartman

Do you remember a band called The Aerovons? Chances are most people do not. However, The Aerovons are more than a minor footnote in Abbey Road History. The Aerovons hailed from Missouri circa 1966. Like so many groups at the time, The Beatles were an ENORMOUS influence on the group. So much so that despite offers from Capital Records - a record company in the USA - they sought to get signed by EMI in the UK, and record at Abbey Road. And you know what? It happened. AND they met The Beatles (they even sat in to watch The Beatles record a few tracks for The White Album. How unbelievably COOL is that???)
Anyway, without giving the store away, I will be speaking with the main Aerovon, Tom Hartman, over the next couple of days. The results of that chat will be on a future edition of "Just Four Guys" (probably within the next few weeks).

Just a little FYI about The Aerovons - Had they progressed with their career, Badfinger might've never been heard from.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Beatles Rock Band

I've had a change of heart. If you asked me two weeks ago what I thought of all the "Guitar Hero" & "Rock Band" games, I'd be a total purist jerk and say it was all designed to numb the minds and sensitivities of our youth. For the most part, I still believe that. But then I witnessed Beatles Rock Band.

When my daughter & I went to see Paul McCartney at Fenway Park back on August 5th, we happened upon a kiosk that was demonstrating Beatles Rock Band (considering the company that helped design it - Harmonix - is based in Cambridge, no big shocker that it was there). And the fact that all the principal players in The Beatles' family have all endorsed Beatles Rock Band, again, not surprising that the demonstration was set at a Paul McCartney show.

As we made our way over to the sounds of familiar - actual - Beatle music coming from the stage, we were immediately struck by the graphics. Granted, they're not exactly spot-on likenesses of John, Paul, George & Ringo, but they were close enough. But more important than that, the care and research that went into the backgrounds of each "Beatle Era". That impressed the hell out of me (The Ed Sullivan Theatre, Shea Stadium, The Cavern, etc...).

Once I got past the atrocious singing of the various volunteers that went up there to "Play Beatle", I found myself actually enjoying myself. And once Tess (my daughter) got up there and "BROUGHT IT" - a Harmonix employee's critique of her singing "Octopus' Garden" - I was completely sold...and I finally got it: This is just this generation's version of a transistor radio, a 45 Single, or an album - in either LP, 8-Track, Cassette or CD form. A new, more interactive way to appreciate The Beatles. Paul McCartney is behind it 100%. So is John Lennon's second wife, Olivia & Dhani Harrison, and the luckiest man in show business - Ringo. And the fact that George Martin's son, Giles, is overseeing the music production & presentation, what's not to say YES to?

BUT, I still think it should be a requirement for anyone who plays Beatles Rock Band to actually learn how to play an actual instrument...actually.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Paul McCartney at Fenway (August 5th, 2009) - A 45 Year Journey and it's impact.

I can't remember the exact year or grade it was when I brought The Beatles' 45 RPM "We Can Work It Out" to school for Show & Tell (I'm thinking it was 1970. I was seven years old). Being a hopeless Beatle Fan, I just had to share one of my favorite Beatle Songs with my class (being a chubby, large-nosed little guy, I wasn't exactly "Johnny Popularity"). Not that bringing in a five year-old song would heighten - create - my "cool factor" or anything. I just wanted to share my favorite music with kids I hoped would hear what I heard - Perfection. So I get to school, and my big moment arrives. I'm gonna slap that 45 on the classroom record player and play The Beatles! But when I reach into my bag to retrieve the record, it's not there. Immediately I begin to freak out on the inside. WHERE in God's name did my favorite 45 go? Needless to say, I wasn't "Showing or Telling" anything that day.

Fast-Forward to the end of the school day when I arrived at my bus stop. Just as the doors of the bus opened to let me out, I saw what I was hoping I wouldn't: a shattered 45 RPM of "We Can Work It Out" (with "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" on the flip side). Immediately, I began to sob (not a cool thing for a seven year-old boy to do in front of others). I felt like that record - shattered. Even at that early age, I felt a kinship with The Beatles. I had a loyalty to all four of them. Not being the most popular kid, I found solace and peace in The Beatles. I could listen to their music and be immediately elevated. There is an intangible magic to the way they wrote and recorded their music, played their instruments, the tonality and blending of their voices, George Martin's production, Norman "Hurricane" Smith's & Geoff Emerick's engineering...Everything. Like no other artists before or since, The Beatles were ordained by a higher power to change the way we listen to music, and the way we view the world in general.

Which leads me to an event of monumental proportions. Wednesday Night, August 5th, 2009, Paul McCartney took the stage at Fenway Park in Boston...and I was there.

I'd always wanted to see Paul in concert (the "Wings Over America" tour was something I REALLY wanted to witness. But being only 13 or 14 years old - and no one willing to take me - sigh....). I now know why it's taken me until I'm 46 years-old to see Paul McCartney: I wasn't meant to see him live without my daughter, Tess. She's been raised on Beatle music. She's my "Beatle Buddy". She can put most Beatle fans to shame when it comes to Beatle Trivia and musical nuances. WHO BETTER TO SEE PAUL McCARTNEY WITH THAN HER???

I fully expected to go bit off the deep-end at this show, but didn't. I suspect it was because I was seeing a "de facto" long, lost big brother" whom I've idolized for 45 years. Sounds off the wall, doesn't it? I never met the man (or any of The Beatles, for that matter). Yet, I feel more connected to them than my actual blood relatives (my daughter being the sole exception). What does that say about me?
Is it that I have so little to inspire me in my life that I look to a pop group that ceased to exist almost 40 years ago? No. I have a beautiful wife who feeds my soul in every way, and a child I'm absolutely crazy for.

Is it that I feel I might have wasted the musical talent I've possessed all my life? Possibly. I look at those "four guys" as being the ultimate capitalizers on their own God-Given Gifts. Were they the GREATEST musicians to walk the planet? No. But they sure as hell knew how to play their kind of music. Christ - they taught us all that there is always a new way to listen to something (let alone CREATE something)!

Is it that I looked upon those "four guys" as the ultimate friends? Definitely. The only two true, blue friends I've ever had in my entire life is my wife & daughter, and I say that with complete clarity and without remorse. The Beatles music, personalities. mindset, and overall mission has been a driving force in my life since 1965. They've never given me any grief, psychodrama, or upset. Sounds like the "Ultimate Friendship in absentia".

So what does all this psycho-babble bullshit have to do with the Paul McCartney show at Fenway? Well, I reckon it relates to the impact Paul (and John & George) had on my life. I've been an unapologetic Beatle Fan my whole life. That will never change.
Their music makes me happy. It makes my daughter, Tess, happy. My wife, Laurel, has really grown to seriously appreciate The Beatles (all it took was her to marry a complete Beatle-Idiot).

Some people thrive on religion. Others are Political Junkies. Others are rock fiends. Me? I'm a family man with a musical edge who loves The Beatles. Seeing Paul McCartney on Wednesday, August 5th, at Fenway Park was the culmination of 45 years of listening, learning, imagining, pondering & hoping. It was everything I hoped it would be and more.
My Daughter, Paul McCartney, a historic baseball park, an almost full moon on a beautiful Summer evening...

What's not to Love?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vineyard Beatle Show, "Just Four Guys" plays a Gino Vanelli song

Just when you thought it was safe to listen to a seemingly unassuming Beatle podcast, the unthinkable happens. If you were minding your own business Tuesday afternoon (July 28th) and looking forward to a new installment of "Just Four Guys" on, you had no idea that the host of the show would commit musical heresy. 
The theme of this week's show was "Pillow Talk" (Beatle Style). Basically, I went into the show with the mindset of your typical, schmaltzy & insincere "Pillow Talk" radio host - Low Tone of Voice, REALLY into myself, dispensing some Love suggestions and waxing eloquent about whatever came to mind. SO, to get it all going, I started the podcast with Gino Vanelli's "Living Inside Myself" (a staple of soft rock stations all across the United States). For me, it was the natural choice to begin such a ridiculous show. It's my sincere hope that it rocked the "Fab" infrastructure of Beatle Lovers everywhere. A collective "WTF" was the desired effect. WHY? Because almost every Beatle Show on the planet does the expected thing - Beatle Songs, Bootlegs, Outtakes, Conversations, Movie Clips, and Boring-Ass commentary about what was happening in the studio with J,P,G & R. Am I interested in all the minutiae? Absolutely! But I'd rather read about it than hear someone drone on about something that's been documented over and over and over..... UNLESS, it can be made interesting (Uh, Oh... I'm digressing like a bastard. Reel it in boy...).

Anyway, the UNEXPECTED is an element I fully embrace for my program. Have I done the expected thing (like the aforementioned)? Yup. However, it's my sincere wish that I've put a spin on those things that provided a different perspective. But snapping your head around by engaging in the "WTF" is the only way I'll feel successful.

A good song is a good song, and Gino Vanelli's "Living Inside Myself" is a damned good song. And it was totally utilitarian for this week's theme.

If you were pleased, great. If you were pissed or nauseated, even better.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Expression of Love

You wonder sometimes, "Am I letting my wife know just how much I love her?" Inevitably, the answer is no. Then you think, "How can I express how I feel about her without being typical, trite and too sappy?" For me, I utilized Beatle Music - together & solo - to help convey how I feel about my Beautiful Wife, Laurel. Music is such a HUGE part of our relationship, as is humor. Combining the two, again, in as unique and organic way possible was the only way to go - especially for MY WOMAN.
This is my way of "shouting it from the virtual rooftops".

Scroll Down to "Past Shows" and click on July 14th, 2009


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Perceived Misogynistic Show Title - "Just FOUR Guys"

Just Four Men. Just Four Boys. If you heard either of those titles uttered either in person or on a radio promo, you'd think that something a bit "unseemly" was afoot. I've heard people talk about my show - to me - referring to it as one of the two aforementioned titles. It makes me cringe thinking about the type of person who'd scan by my show hoping to hear some heavy panting (or worse... EW!). And, obviously, "Just Four Guys" isn't a show that excludes women. This isn't the 1950s anymore (a mindset I still can't wrap my mind around. Who died and left MEN to be the arbiters of what was to be or not to be?). Male Chauvinism. What those guys needed was a major slap in the tool bag for what they put the women through back in those days (Hmmm... I'm smell a theme for a JFG show)

Just Four Guys - The Beatles. They were just four guys ("just a band that made it very, very, big..") with drive, attitude, comedy, and whole lot of God-Given musical gifts. They changed the way we listened to music, the way we looked at rock/pop stars, and they helped open our minds up to the endless possibilities that can be achieved. There was a mystique about them that even Elvis and Sinatra didn't possess. Maybe it was the fact that they wrote such amazing tunes (never replicating what they did previously). Not many bands can lay claim to such musical innovation. Nor can many bands say they created absolute masterpieces under what would be considered primitive recording conditions. Four Tracks, the Imagination & Genius of "Just Four Guys", and a producer & engineer in George Martin & Geoff Emerick respectively - who listened to their ideas and helped make them reality. The result of this blessed combination were the albums "Revolver", "Sgt. Pepper" & "Magical Mystery Tour" (HUGE kudos to Norman "Hurricane" Smith for all HE did from their first recordings up to the amazing "Rubber Soul" album).

"Just Four Guys" is, without question, the Most Realistic Beatle Show on Earth. I produce this show purely from a fan's perspective. I'm no authority on ALL-THINGS BEATLES. Do I know a lot about them? Absolutely. But I'm not John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison or Ringo Starr. Those Four Guys are the only experts on The Beatles. All I try to do is respect and maintain their legacy the best way I know how, infusing a bit of myself and my "spin" on the phenomenon that was - is - The Beatles.

The Best Music Ever Recorded. The Personalities. The Legend. The Humor. Common Themes - as they may relate to what we 21st Century Folks go through today. Some might say that reality is a drag. I say it depends on your outlook. If we can take just one lesson away from The Beatles as a once-in-a-lifetime phenom, let it be this:

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something in your own distinct, inimitable way. Yeah, we're working our collective tuckus' off trying to keep body & soul together, while trying to carve out the precious family and private time we all need. But always remember that The Beatles existed for many reasons - enjoyment, inspiration, peace, love & understanding. Also, they had their flaws. But they didn't allow those flaws to stifle them. As long as you maintain your priorities and don't compromise your principles, you'll be living in the spirit of the freedom we received whenever we listened to The Beatles.

They may very well have been "just a band that made it very, very big", but to life-long devotees like us they were so much more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

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An expert on The Beatles? Not necessarily. Passionate as a bastard about The Beatles and their profound influence on culture? Absolutely.
Please join me in my quest to perpetuate their legacy in my own unique way.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson

It's stunning to me just how ignorant people can come off. Ever since MJ died the other day, the negative commentary about his court case(s) have been upper-most in the minds of those who must secretly fantasize about that sort of thing. The fact is this - nothing has ever been proven. Was he odd? Yup. Did he have a Peter Pan complex? Sure did. Was he a musical genius & performer? Absolutely. Did he deserve to die at the age of 50 (as some believe)? Absolutely not.
As Beatle Fans, we know that John Lennon has essentially been canonized by many. Was HE a Saint? Hell no. Was he odd? Yup. Could he be cruel sometimes? Yes. Was he a musical genius and engaging performer? Absolutely.

My point is this: You're going to run into a lot of peckerheads out there - all spouting the negative about Michael Jackson. Don't even engage these people. You'll never turn their minds in the direction of clarity and reality (or COMPASSION for that matter).

As we did - do - with the memory of John Lennon, appreciation & reverence for an amazingly talented, yet tortured soul is all we should engage in.

Believe me - I could be downright vicious to & about these people who tear MJ down. I once had a "friend" who thought that Freddie Mercury deserved to die of AIDS. For that - and many other reasons - we haven't spoken in over 13 years.

Ignorance & myopia are things I'll never suffer.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


If you're a Beatle Fan, then you're obviously a lover of all things quality. If you listen to "Just Four Guys", well, I hope you think I'm doing the band justice. I'm no Beatle Authoritarian, nor will I ever claim to be. Though I've had this 45 year obsession with Four Men who hail from Liverpool and changed music and culture as we know it, who really knows everything about anything? Really, the only ones who could speak definitively about The Beatles are the guys who were in the middle of the firestorm that was Beatlemania - John, Paul, George & Ringo.
If you are a listener, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to occupy one hour of your time each week. If you've not checked it out yet, new show(s) air Tuesday afternoons at 4:00 (Eastern Time) on Shows also air every Sunday at Noon (Eastern Time) on

All shows can be heard by looking on the left-hand side of the page...

Thanks so much. I look forward to "speaking" with you.