Hello Peter, can you tell us a little bit of the history
of The Counterfeit Beatles?
I formed the band about 1998. It was only a small idea but
it soon became apparent that it could be quite popular.
I suppose tributes were starting to become big at that
Yes, they did become popular around that time and then it
all just sort of took off. One guy left from the original
line-up but then it settled down for nine years.
That’s very unusual for a band to stay the same line-up
for that long.
We played in Japan, Greece, South Korea and some really
big shows. After it settled down and the line-up was
sorted out, we did the Fuji Rock Festival in 2003, which
was like a really big thing. We played all the stages. And
another big thing we did was when we played Glastonbury
the same year as Coldplay and Elvis Costello.
Wow. Have you done the Isle of Wight yet?
Not yet, but after Glastonbury we did a show out in Greece
for 31 nights called Beatlemania, which was a really high
profile show on the radio and TV. That was another big
highlight. In 2009 we went out to South Korea, in Seoul,
which was in a Vegas-type show called The Famous Artists
Show, which premiered at The Hilton in Seoul and then went
on to The Marriott. This was for seven weeks. That was
last year and this year we went out to India twice – a
tour of southern India incorporating Sri Lanka as well. We
did six dates.
You’re real globetrotters, aren’t you?
Well, yes, I’ve just read out the highlights – I’m
not mentioning all the weddings and what have you.
No, we also did Redditch!
Yes. So that was in February this year and then in July we
went up into the north west of India. It was quite an
adventure – Burma and all that way.
With these other countries, have they still got a strong
A western show comes in and it’s not like here where we
get a show every week. There, it’s not often that a show
comes in from abroad, I suppose, and so there’s a bit
more interest. We also went to Malta this year. I didn’t
know too much about it – I just took the booking. We did
an open air concert in front of 10,000 on our own!
They’re very pro-British there.
Yes, they’re lovely people. Finland and Sweden – we
did gigs there too between Stockholm and Helsinki. We went
out to Bahrain for a little jaunt, Germany and Spain. Next
year we go to France, so that’s all the big sort of
stuff we do.
Do you tend to play songs in chronological order?
Yes, it’s a full show with four separate stages of The
Obviously with costume changes as well?
Yes. We did a gig for Liam Gallagher – a Christmas Eve
surprise, it was. He really liked us and hung out with us
and chatted. It was his sisters who arranged it and the
in-laws so it was a family thing.
He’s famously known to be a big Beatles fan, of course.
Yes. It was really surreal to do that. And this year we
did some filming with Tony Hawks.
When’s that being shown?
Early next year – it’s called The Moldavian Tennis…
Yes, I know it - Playing The Moldavians at Tennis.
Part of the story is he goes up to Liverpool and needs to
get a visa and the only way he can get it is through a
Moldavian. And there’s a Moldavian Beatles band so he’s
re-enacting watching them and then talking to them
afterwards. It’s quite funny, and we played the part of
The Flying Postmen – that was the name of the band.
Have you seen Harry and Paul’s latest series?
Yes, The Beatles parody. Very funny.
It’s hilarious to see them showing The Beatles as if
they had always been around. So I’m assuming that
you’ve got lots of youngsters at these gigs?
Yes, we cover every age. Most people quite like The
Why do you think they are so special to people?
I suppose it’s because they did so much – if you look
at their career they covered so many genres – rock,
blues – you name it. Everything they did, they did it the
And pioneers in so many ways too.
Yes, engineering-wise and with the sounds.
We were lucky to get Sir George Martin to answer some
questions a while back and he did so much apart from The
Yes, mid-way through The Beatles I think he had his own
studios and it was only up until about ‘67 and Sergeant
Pepper because after that he did other stuff because they
were starting to get to be hard work.
He was doing comedy records and classical recordings and
producing bands like
And Peter Sellers...
...And Rolf Harris and Bernard Cribbins.
We did a thing on the BBC news when it was John Lennon’s
birthday and they did a little story featuring our band up
at The Beatles Store in Baker Street.
Howard’s store? He’s great because he’s always at
the gigs that I go to – he gets around.
He does well in that shop – it’s very busy. The BBC
rung us up and said they wanted to do a little story for
John’s birthday about what he’d think now. I said one
of my guys is a good showman and actor so he dressed up
and walked around the shop chatting. I’ll send you the
link. We’ve done various stuff including radio Kent
where they asked us who did the best Beatles cover.
Do you play Beatles stuff to relax?
It’s part of my life so I switch on and off with it.
It’s like a business really.
What about the future for The Counterfeit Beatles Peter?
Well, it’s just what it is. It’s not going to be
anything more than that – no major surprises.
No ambitions to play The Albert Hall?
I think we’ve fulfilled most of our ambitions, you know?
Out to Japan, to India twice this year, to Germany – The
Hard Rock Café. We’ve done all the big corporate gigs
– Park Lane and all the big hotels. We even did a gig
under Concord which was quite cool.
They put tables and chairs under it and a stage between
the wheels and a backdrop all lit up and it was huge. It
was in a hanger at Manchester airport. At the corporate
venue and it was incredible. There should be some pictures
on our website.
I went on the Concord but it’s really a lot smaller than
you think, isn’t it?
It is and it smells of leather.
A very seventies look and smell. We have a lot of people coming in
to the site who are interested in
tribute bands and sixties and seventies parties.
Do you put on events?
No, we just point people to companies that do.
A guy rang me the other day and said “We need you to
come and play guitar to people as they come into the venue
for 20th December up in Liverpool.” And I
said “I can do a Paul McCartney thing.” And the guy
was very broad Scouse and wasn’t saying too much, but then I
got an email from someone and it said Paul McCartney has
announced a few Christmas dates, one in Liverpool
and one in Manchester and one in London. I looked it up
and the Liverpool one's on the 20th so I’ve
got a feeling that the company running it wants me to play
in the foyer or something like that. They didn’t
say too much, but I can work out roughly what it’s about.
They’re going to ring me back on Friday and seem really
interested. It would be great if we get to meet him.
I was wondering if that was one of your remaining
ambitions, to meet one of the two remaining Beatles?
Yes, I wouldn’t mind, not madly, but something like that
would be on a good level to do it.
You’ve got to go for these things when they turn
It might be interesting to see how it goes. You get all
these opportunities that crop up.
When you see McCartney playing these days he’s almost
like a tribute in some ways – playing some Beatles hits
and some Wings hits, isn't he?
Yes, he plays the stuff that people want I suppose. He’s
got such a big back-catalogue of stuff. He actually puts
on a two hour show and does very well, doesn’t he?
He does very well. I’ve seen him a few times now and I
can’t believe how he can carry on for so long. His band
are terrific and his drummer is terrific.
The big guy, yes. So you never know...
Fingers crossed. I hope you do meet up with him, but good
luck with that gig anyway.
I’ll keep you posted because it might be a nice little
Thank you. Best of luck and thanks very much Peter.
Alright, thanks, Bye.