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Fifteen minutes with The Backbeats

John Benson • Feb 10, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Want to go?

• WHAT: “All You Need is Love” Beatles Tribute

• WHEN: 7 p.m. Feb. 12

• WHERE: Norwalk Theatre, 57 E. Main St., Norwalk

• COST: $12/reserved seating, $8/general admission

• INFO: 419-668-8048

Though it’s been more than 40 years since The Beatles broke up, the Fab Four remain as popular as ever with tribute bands found coast to coast. One such act is Detroit-based The Backbeats, which has been keeping the music of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Star alive.

The popular quartet, billed as the No. 1 Beatles Tribute Show in Michigan, is scheduled to bring its authentic-looking instruments, clothing and hairstyles to Ohio on Feb. 12 at the Norwalk Theatre. Funcoast.com talked to bandleader and visionary Eli Echevarria, the John Lennon of the group and film animator by day, about The Backbeats and its growing popularity.


Funcoast: How does one go about creating a Beatles tribute band?

Eli Echevarria: It came out of someone bringing to my attention that I play guitar, I sing and I do a John Lennon impersonation. So I answered an ad from a local Beatle group that was looking for a John Lennon. Now I did not like the band at all, but it give me the idea of creating one of my own. It’s just basically putting out ads in local papers trying to find musicians who want to be involved in the project. I was lucky enough to find a Paul, George and Ringo and over the years I have slowly replaced those members with better guys. So the current lineup has been together for three years and it looks like this is the band that’s going to stay because it’s a very good combination.

FC: Some Beatles tribute acts concentrate on a certain era. What kind of show does The Backbeats offer?

EE: We do the entire spectrum, all the way from the “Love Me Do” to “Come Together.” However, the early stuff is the stuff that we do the most only because that’s the most popular and what people want to hear the most.


FC: What’s the most obscure Beatles song in your set?

EE: I don’t know if there are really any obscure Beatles songs out there because their whole catalog is so well known by people. We do a lot of Beatles songs that a lot of other bands don’t do like “Helter Skelter” or “I’m Down” only because our Paul is very good at doing the McCartney screams where he can scream in pitch. A lot of Pauls out there can’t do that. So we tend to pull out a lot of the more-obscure rockers. We also do a few Beatles songs that they never officially recorded, stuff that they used to do back in their early days. There’s a song like “Some Other Guy,” which diehard Beatles fans will know but most average listeners wouldn’t recognize that as a Beatles song. It’s a great rocking tune.


FC: Finally, what should people expect from your upcoming show in Norwalk?

EE: I think the main thing that we have got going for us is that when you come to one our shows you just have fun. There are Beatles bands out there that when you close your eyes they sound just like the record, but they are a bore. They just stand there onstage and all of their lines are scripted. It’s hardly a rock’n’roll show. We are the complete opposite of that. Although we do, I think, a very good job of playing the music, we also recreate the feel of an early Beatles concert. Whereas a lot of Beatles bands out there come across as a Vegas lounge act - very, very polished, very squeaky clean - we come across as a rock’n’roll show, a rock’n’roll band.


The Backbeats are scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Norwalk Main Street Theatre, 57 E. Main St., Norwalk. Tickets are $8 to $12. For more information, call 419-668-8048.

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