Monday, October 28, 2019


This Friday Night, November 1st, THE FAB FOUR pay a visit to The Arcada Theatre to perform their incredible Beatles Tribute Show. (We love these guys ... and this time we are taking a bunch of Forgotten Hits Readers with us to the show!)

We caught them for the very first time when they backed up Micky Dolenz and Mark Lindsay on their "Summer of '67" tour a few years ago ... and have seen their solo show a couple of times now ... and, for my money, I'll put them up against ANY other Beatles Tribute Band out there today.  Simply put, these guys nail it ... every time and in every way.

Tickets are still available for The Arcada Show ... so why don't you join us for a great night of musical entertainment.

Here's our review of a show they did a last year when we named them one of the Top 10 Live Acts of 2018 ...

Meanwhile, here's your chance to 

(Artists shown represent the cast performing at The Arcada Theatre on November 1st)

RON McNEIL (John Lennon) 
Ron founded the band in 1997 as the original John Lennon, following a vision that inspired him to create a Beatles tribute act that would achieve such a high level of precision (down to the most minute detail) that it would become a role model for other Beatles tribute acts to follow.  (He not only conceived and wrote the act's Emmy Award-Winning Stage Show, but he also programmed every individual sound used during their performances into The Fab Four's keyboards, giving them the perfect sonic tools to recreate The Beatles' more complex latter-era material live on stage while still limited to just the four musicians on stage.  You have to see it ... and hear it ... to believe it.)  
His incredible look and sound-alike abilities have created the ultimate loving tribute to the late John Lennon.  As such, he has performed his spot-on tribute to John Lennon all over the world, all in preparation and anticipation, leading up to this performance Friday Night, November 1st, at The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, IL.  (kk)

ARDY SARRAF (Paul McCartney)
Ardy is also one of the band's original members, dating back to 1997 ... and most Beatles fans and critics will agree that he just may be the best musician ever to portray the young and talented Paul McCartney on stage.  He, too, has performed the act you've known for all these years all over the world ... and, at various times, has even appeared on stage with Bruce Springsteen, Micky Dolenz and John Fogerty (to name but a few).  His left-handed bass playing ability (and the fact that he can also jump on over to piano to perform Beatles / McCartney classics like "Hey Jude" and "Let It Be"), along with his "record accurate" vocals have won him first place in numerous Beatlefest sound-alike contests.  (kk)

GAVIN PRING (George Harrison)
Gavin is the only member of The Fab Four to actually have been born and raised in Liverpool, England, birthplace of The Beatles.  (With his gifted guitar playing abilities and uncanny resemblance to George Harrison, it was inevitable that he would become part of the cast of The Fab Four.  He joined the group in 2006.)  Gavin has performed at numerous international venues ... and has even shared the stage with Sir Paul McCartney himself!  He also channels "The Quiet Beatle" in his side act, George Harry's Son, which performs at many of the prestigious Beatles Festivals held here in The States and back home in Liverpool.  (kk)

JOE BOLOGNA (Ringo Starr)
You'll love Joe's familiar "Ringo Head Shake" when you see him perform as part of The Fab Four in concert.  He also handles the vocals on Ringo's best known tunes like "Boys," "With A Little Help From My Friends" and "Yellow Submarine."  Joe has been playing drums since the age of 13 and is also an accomplished musician on bass, keyboards and guitar.  (He's also a successful singer/songwriter.)  Joe, too, has performed all over the world ... and has made television appearances on Good Morning America and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, among others.  (kk)

Photo Credit: Sal Gomez Photography

KENT KOTAL / FORGOTTEN HITS:  You guys are all too young to have experienced The Beatles first hand as it was happening ... so I guess the most obvious question would have to be:  How did you first come to discover the music of The Beatles? Was it at an early age ... did you discover this music on your own or through friends at school ... or was this perhaps music that your parents, older sibling or grandparents may have been playing around the house when you were growing up?

GAVIN PRING:  Growing up in Liverpool it was not hard to discover a band called "The Beatles" because their faces were literally plastered all over the place and the music they made was pumped out into the cold dank air of every pub West of Manchester ... but what got me about them was the White Album!!!  
Offered to me by my stepfather and in cassette format, I listened to that album from start to finish and then the tape would automatically start again and I think I wore the batteries completely flat the first time I listened to it ... lol!

JOE BOLOGNA:  My older sister was a fan of them and got me hooked, too.  I was 4 or 5.

RON McNEIL:  I don't really remember a time when I didn't know about The Beatles.  I "borrowed" my older sisters' records and never gave them back.  No one at school was into The Beatles except for me.  So, I was pretty much on my own.    

ARDY SARRAF:  Around the age of 10, between my mom's old rock and roll records and my sister's John Lennon tribute photo album after his murder, I was instantly hooked on his and The Beatles' past catalog of songs.

kk:  How did your appreciation of this music change as you learned to play and perform it yourself?

RON:  Listening to The Beatles and performing as The Beatles are two very different things.  The songwriting is, of course, amazing ... but you gain an appreciation of the arrangements more when you perform the music live.  You've got Ringo's steady beat coupled with Paul's moving, yet not too busy bass lines.  John has his aggressive vocals and creative chord inversions.  George adds his tasty guitar solos along with some third harmonies to fill-out the vocal sound. Put it all together with George Martin's producing, and it's just magical. 

JOE:  Honestly, it took away some of the magic for me, a little bit.  

GAVIN:  At first, any music you listen to is magical because you only really hear a finished product but then when you break it apart (by learning your individual parts) you end up having a whole new appreciation for it!! It was kind of like that for the Beatles, learning the harmonies and solos, etc., just added to the majesty of what I already knew!!!

ARDY:  Sometimes the more basic songs musically can be the most memorable and endearing. So much variety in their songs, influences from all over the world.
kk:  The music of The Beatles evolved rapidly in a very short period of time.  Do you have a favorite era? 

JOE:  No.  It changes all the time with me.

ARDY:  That's an impossible question for me. Their ENTIRE album collection is too good to pick just one.

GAVIN:  I liked the fact that they did evolve ... most bands don't ... and I actually like all the eras pretty much equally ... but if I was given the chance to go back in time and watch any live shows, then I suppose the early (Mop Top) gigs would've been magical.  Seeing the people being swept up by the hysteria and seeing Beatlemania firsthand would've been great!!

RON:  My favorite Beatles era is 1966-REVOLVER.  The Beatles are starting to become prolific songwriters and they are starting to experiment with different sounds in the studio without getting TOO "out there" yet.

kk:  My understanding is that The Fab Four is essentially a touring theater company with a revolving cast of actors particularly adept at "playing" The Beatles ... in a live concert setting that covers their entire career.  But in the end, when you break it all down, it's still really just theater ... had any of you had theatrical experience prior to this?  Is this something you did throughout high school / college / and beyond? 

JOE:  I’ve been in various bands since 1975 and got into a local acting troupe around 1979-82.  

GAVIN:  Nah, all of my staging and stagecraft knowledge was kind of undertaken as I gigged. The Fab Four are great at bringing whatever skills you have to the forefront, and I think maybe, I always did like theatre/plays/comedies and I've always been good at breaking apart what works. The Fab Four gave me a chance to try to see what works onstage for me, and whatever worked, I kept! 

ARDY:  My only classes pertaining to theatre were makeup classes in college. Funny how I did that early in life, not knowing how much it would help me now.

RON:  It's more like Theater meets Cosplay meets a Live Band.  Lol.  I had a little theater experience in school, but I wasn't a theater geek or anything like that.  There's really only a little bit of acting when we're on stage.  We've added some dialog to our live music show but we consider what we do to be a concert.  And, altho we DO have an Emmy, I don't think we'd win one for our acting abilities.   

kk:  The Fab Four really goes WELL beyond the typical theatrical experience in that each actor has to not only be able to play the part, but also the MUSIC of The Beatles ... on any variety of instruments ... adeptly and believably on stage.  What prompted you to first audition for this role ... and what in your background allowed you the skills to perform such a high level of musical accuracy?  It sounds like all of you have done other Beatles-related shows over the years ... was this essentially just the next natural step?   

JOE:  I had downgraded my day job and needed a part time job for extra $$ on weekends.  Looking thru the paper for a job, I saw an ad - “Ringo wanted for working Beatle tribute band - must sing as good (or as bad) as Ringo.”  [I love this answer!!!  lol - kk]  Having been in bands and being a Beatles fan since way back, I thought “I can do that!”  I eventually got laid off the day job several times while the Beatle work picked up. After a while, I just quit going back.  I’ve played in Liverpool Legends, Classical Mystery Tour, Rain, 1964 and have subbed for a bunch of others. 

GAVIN:  Yeah, Yeah and Yeah!!! 
You have to be able to play an instrument, you have to be able to sing, you have to be able to resemble your character. But even though I'd performed with other tribute acts (and as good as they were), I always felt like I'd gone as far as I could. The Fab Four were so far superior in a lot of ways that it's kinda like golf: If you play with someone better than you, then you'll learn tricks from them and up your game. I still don't feel that I've hit the ceiling. I still have so much to learn.

ARDY:  I first played with fellow Beatle fan friends in high school just for fun. I learned how to harmonize vocally, played backyard parties, gradually gaining experience performing. I’ve always had a very good ear when it comes to mimicry. I could sing just like the song's vocalist, no matter which band or genre. It’s always been a strength of mine, and I’ve tried to help others within the Fab Four to do the same.

RON:  We started with the music ... just being a band.  The other stuff was added.  I already played keyboards and guitar, but I had to learn to play harmonica and upside-down bass for the show.  Which is nothing compared to Gavin learning Sitar, and Ardy learning to play the bass left-handed!
kk:  Speaking of which, there are a TON of other Beatles tribute bands and shows out there ... but I can honestly say that I have NEVER seen ANYBODY nail it the way that you guys to.  The Fab Four literally take you thru every phase of The Beatles' career, from start to finish, and the audience is able to watch them evolve as musicians and songwriters right before their eyes.  The actors portraying The Beatles on stage have to mimic their look, their voices, their proficiency on each instrument ... even down to some of their slightest mannerisms.  Because The Beatles became so enormously popular, fans picked up on virtually every nuance of each member ... and I've never seen any other Beatles tribute nail this the way you guys do.

RON: Check's in the mail  ;) 

You're now on my Christmas card list!" Lol ... 
Well, that means a lot coming from another aficionado. But yeah, lots of homework, lots of watching the Beatles anthology and lots of positive criticism for and from your team mates and actually listening to the good (and bad) criticism from your audience. If you don't listen, you don't learn. It really is that simple!

ARDY:  That’s the ultimate gratification for me when it comes to what we do. If we please the hardcore Beatle fans, and at the same time impress a general audience, I think we’ve done our job. We are always listening, learning and trying to improve in what we do and how we sound.
kk:  I would think the Paul character would be the most difficult role to fill ... then again, perhaps finding somebody who LOOKS like Paul ... and can actually play the bass left-handed ... might make it "the role he was born to play."  Ardy - you've been with The Fab Four since the beginning (1997).  Is it tough to find "back-up" Pauls for some of these traveling road shows? 

RON: Don't tell him this stuff, or we'll have to pay him more money.

GAVIN:  Nah ... Pauls are ten a penny!!! Lol

ARDY:  Yes is the only true answer to that. I mean I’ve been lucky with my natural ability to sound like Paul, and with makeup and some good genetics, can resemble him enough on stage to give an audience a great experience. Then teaching myself to play left-handed like Paul was sort of the last step. [Ardy is a natural-born rightie ... but had to teach himself to play the bass guitar left-handed ... no small task, I might add ... in order to accurately portray the Paul McCartney charcter! - kk]  We have a couple of guys I can call on to sub for me. They are great in their own portrayal of Paul. It takes dedication and hard work to be in the Fab Four. We have high standards, and all of our team can deliver. 
kk:  And, piggy-backing in on that question, how many Johns, Pauls, Georges and Ringos make up the total touring company of The Fab Four?  How many shows a year do they perform?  And how often do the four of you get to work together? 

GAVIN:  We don't really get to practice together often. A lot of what we do is reliant on technology and it's not unheard of to find a text asking what harmony someone's doing, etc. But, yeah, once we learn our part, then the other Georges have to know what I'm singing so that they can 'slot in' with the other three singers. We have a few "Georges" right now. Doug Couture and Robbie Berg play with the company from time to time, but unfortunately I never get to hang out with them because I'll be somewhere else. That's probably why they're on the gig!! 

RON: We have enough cast members (including Ed Sullivans) to have 3 or 4 casts. 

ARDY:  The Fab Four performs close to 100 shows a year, with 8-10 guys out on the road during the year ... and 90% of our shows are Adam, Ardy, Gavin, Joe.  
kk:  I guess if we're going to do a real "Meet The Fab Four" segment, we've got to ask:  

kk:  Favorite Color? 
RON:  Red
JOE: Red
GAVIN:  Turquoise 
ARDY:  Blue 

kk:  Favorite Food? 
ARDY:  Filet and Baked Potato
GAVIN:  Chik-Fil-A 
RON:  Mexican  
JOE:  Good pasta   

kk:  Favorite Beatles Song?
RON:  In My Life  
JOE:  Changes all the time, but “You Never Give Me Your Money”
GAVIN:  Across The Universe 
ARDY:  All You Need Is Love   

kk:  Favorite Beatles Song to perform on stage (and why)? 
RON:  Twist And Shout  (duh!) 
ARDY:  Hey Jude ... because it sums up what the Beatles music stood for: LOVE. 
JOE:  A Day In the Life.  It’s like we’re all on a tightrope together, doing different things at the same time - yet we all land together - most of the time.
GAVIN:  Here Comes The Sun because it's bloody awesome!

kk:  Do you like jelly babies?  
ARDY:  Yes
JOE:  Black Jelly Bellies!!! Yeah!!!
RON: Yes ... as long as they don't hit my eye!
GAVIN:  I prefer midget gems to jelly babies

kk:  Favorite Fab Four memory or moment (from your own experience)? 
RON:  Opening for The Who at Carnegie Hall 
PAUL:  My favorite moment would have to be playing Bad Moon Rising onstage with John Fogerty.
JOE:  Probably the “solo” show at the PAC Amp in 2016. 
GAVIN:  I haven't had it yet! Lol
kk:  The Beatles revolutionized the world in virtually every way ... music, fashion, pop culture ... and every generation since has come to discover and appreciate their contribution to the world we all still live in.  There isn't anything any one of us could say about The Beatles that hasn't been said before or talked about and analyzed to death.  So, as a way to wrap this up, please state, in a simple summation, what the music of The Beatles has meant to you, personally, and why you think it continues to grow in popularity and resonate with a brand new audience some 50+ years later. 

GAVIN:  I really don't know. I grew up in Liverpool (which meant I grew up in the capital of Ireland). A lot of the local pubs had Irish duos and I distinctly remember growing up amidst all those familiar Irish songs: Whiskey in the Jar, Belle of Belfast city, Fields of Athenry, etc. A few years ago, I happened upon an Irish trio in a pub in Windsor, Canada, and something chemical happened. I was just mesmerized and a kid again, there was something neanderthal and raw and awesome happening, and I think that's what the Beatles are ... Raw, Neanderthal and HONEST ... a universal truth you cannot deny. They were here, they are gone, but they'll never ever go. And if you play their music to a kid, they just get it. They don't know what it is, but they know it's related to them and it's pure and it's LOVE ... Maybe that's why they have a show in Vegas called ... err, can't remember!! Lol

RON:  Summation: The Beatles are good.  Whatever good means.  I think beyond the creativeness of the songwriting, the main subject they wrote about is love.  And, as long as people love each other, their music will resonate. 

ARDY:  Their success is all about the music they created. Great melodies, great singing, great production, great movies ... all were possible because of the music. I hope their music endures forever.
Thank you to John, Paul, George and RINGO!

JOE:  There are great rock bands, pop groups, etc. ... and then there are The Beatles.  They’re on a different level than anybody else.  And the music is timeless.  It’s just that good.

Photo Credit: Kate Klaus Photography

Thanks, Guys ...
See you at the show!!!

(Will we see YOU at the show???  Good tickets are still available here:)