You are in the Special Features section - Pete Best Interview

The Casbah Coffee Club and Pete Best of The Beatles

 

 

Digger talks to original Beatles drummer Pete Best about his life, his philosophy and his current projects.


Pete Best with the three other Beatles

Pete, George, Paul and John

This article is the intellectual property of www.retrosellers.com and cannot be reproduced without express permission.

Photograph above © Casbah Coffee Club and Pete Best

Some images courtesy of and © copyright www.rexfeatures.com

 


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Pioneer Beatles drummer Pete Best has a legacy and a family to be proud of and he wants the world to know about it. It was at the Best family home that, masquerading as The Casbah Coffee Club (at 8 Haymans Green, West Derby, Liverpool) the embryonic Beatles found a place to practise and a venue for their very early performances. Talk of the Cavern as being the birthplace of the band is clearly rather misguided. Pete's mother, Mona Best, was a philanthropist who encouraged the lads' ambitions and talents and imbued Pete and family with the same positive and creative approach to life.

Pete was the Beatles' drummer until that infamous day when Brian Epstein called him into his office and told him that his services were no longer required. No reason was given and none has been definitively proven since although the theories abound: 'Pete was too popular and the others were jealous', 'George Martin didn't think his drumming style was suited to the sound Martin was trying to achieve with the band' - the hypotheses go on and on. Drummer Bobby Graham, who had a number one at the time with Joe Brown & The Bruvvers (A Picture Of You), tells me he was approached by Epstein as a possible replacement  - "Why would I want to join an unknown band from Liverpool when I am with a group who are at the top of the charts?" was Bobby's predictable, although in retrospect flawed, analysis of Epstein's offer and so Ringo, the popular drummer with local Liverpool band Rory Storm & The Hurricanes, was famously recruited instead.

Pete continued to perform in various outfits and even left the music business for a long time, labelled cynically by the press as 'The Nearly Man'. With the release of the Beatles Anthology book, videos, CDs and accompanying paraphernalia, Pete at last received some recognition and remuneration for his, and his family's,  involvement in the early evolution of the world's greatest musical phenomenon. And this has given the Best family (for it is very much a family affair) an opportunity to set the record straight, for Pete and his band to tour and to spread the word. There is also a book The Beatles, The True Beginnings as well as Pete Best and Casbah websites and new album releases.

 

Image courtesy of and © copyright www.rexfeatures.com 

Pete today

 

Pete told me that, with The Casbah, the Best family has something to be very proud of and they want to make sure it is run properly. They have a number of ideas and the family are keen that these are handled properly and that their message is put over correctly. The family are very close, even by Liverpudlian standards. When I asked Pete what his biggest achievements were and what were his happiest memories he unhesitatingly mentioned his family first and foremost. After chatting to me he was off to visit his grandchildren who had just started at the local primary school that day and he was obviously excited at the prospect of seeing them on their important day. He is enjoying his grandchildren in a way he couldn't enjoy his own children. Having been, as is often the case, heavily embroiled in career, tours and making a living in those days he didn't have more of an opportunity to spend time with them until they were in their teens. Family and music (listening to it and playing live) are Pete's biggest pleasures.

I asked Pete about his current projects. The book is clearly a priority having just been released in the UK. He is attending various book signings and promotions up until Christmas and then it goes to America so the process will be repeated there. There is a documentary about The Casbah Coffee Club and Mona and Pete in the preparation stages and the Best family are steering this through so that it develops and is produced in accordance with their wishes. Two websites, www.petebest.com and www.casbahcoffeeclub.com are in the final stages of development. These are maintained by some fellow Scousers although Pete wants to get involved as much as he can, possibly providing forums for fans to conduct cyber discussions with Pete and others. A new album containing new Pete Best band material is also in the offing. Pete says that there is a lot of songwriting talent within the band and he has been keen to see this developed. Also on CD will be the early Beatles Decca recordings and their German material.

 

The Casbah

The Casbah

 

As for the Casbah itself, the house was recently 're-opened' to the public as the Casbah Coffee Club. Although it is destined to contain display cabinets, artwork and memorabilia within a month or so, Pete wants it to be much more than a museum. There will be key events held there, various bands will be invited to play, including those that were contemporaries of The Beatles.

Pete maintains a refreshingly positive approach to life. When asked what his biggest disappointments are he tells me that he doesn't have any. "Everything happens for a reason and eventually you tend to discover what that was," he says. He is a firm believer in fate and karma. As for the myths that have grown up around the Beatles story and his involvement, he says that most of these are due to plagiarism by the media and that seems to be part of his current quest - simply to make sure that the truth as told by the Best family is represented fairly.

So what of Pete's musical influences and tastes? He tells me he was heavily influenced by the American rock and rollers - Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, Emile Ford. But he says his tastes are quite universal, loving music from a broad spectrum including Glenn Miller and the big bands, jazz (particularly of the New Orleans variety), country music, rock and roll and enjoying several modern bands including Space and Cast. When questioned he even expressed an interest in Atomic Kitten, although I suggested that this might be something to do with their Liverpool origins. Does he have many Beatles albums in his collection? Well, yes, he has all of the 'main' albums although he doesn't see himself as a big collector, not going for the rarities and special CD issues. But he is a Beatles fan, counting Revolver as his favourite album. As for heroes, he doesn't see film or music stars as worthy of that title - he respects their accomplishments and enjoys their work, but saves that distinction for mother Mona, his father, brothers and wife. He idolised Mona, as did the rest of the family, and his brothers have supported him through life's ups and downs as has his wife who has remained loyal throughout.

We discussed the changing face of Liverpool, which Pete thinks is generally for the good. He says that the council have at last recognised what they have got in terms of variety of architectures, vistas and views, particularly at the Albert Docks, and they are mainly getting it right. It's a fascinating and great city and although it has lost many venues it has gained many more good ones. Live music is back and there is a vibrant scene again after some doldrums in the seventies and eighties. But he stresses that there's a lot more to Liverpool than just the music. And on the subject of change, I asked him about the changing face of music and the influence of technology and the Internet on music and our lives. Pete was predictably up-beat about it, seeing computers as a tool to move us forward and to potentially create great things. He didn't see recorded music or computerised music as a substitute for live music which was still the ultimate in his view.

 

The Casbah

The Casbah


Why were the sixties so creative, in Liverpool and in Britain generally? Pete suggests that this creativity was, and probably is, always there but that something - some unknown factor - sparked it at that particular time to make it extra special. It could have been one or many of several factors - I propose to Pete that one such event could have been American promoter Sid Bernstein's phone call to Brian Epstein to book The Beatles in America. Was that the one small event that triggered the biggest musical revolution and a cultural explosion? Pete doesn't disagree, although we both agree that this is all theoretical. Pete tells me that mass communication and the advent of travel at around that time certainly contributed to the possibilities of making things happen. He mentions that Liverpool and the big provincial cities were all 'back doors' into the country, musically speaking, but he saw the influence of American music on the British music scene as just another development in the evolution of popular music. After all, American popular music was an amalgam of African and European influences, including English folk music. Pete sees this as an on-going process. While not particularly looking back, Pete is still in regular touch with his old friends from the early days - Gerry Marsden, Lee Curtis, Howie Casey. Their paths are always crossing.

What advice would Pete give to aspiring musicians or, indeed, any youngsters trying to succeed these days? (I remind Pete that I am 45 years old and so qualify for this advice too!) "Practise long and hard, take every opportunity and don't be discouraged," says Pete. And as for the best and worst things about being Pete Best? Well, as one might expect, there is no worst angle in Pete's eyes, but the best things are that he can be himself and still enjoy the company of others, even though he does enjoy a certain amount of celebrity wherever he goes. He loves this balance that he has reached and sees it as important to chat to fans, sign autographs and to show the fans some respect in return for what they give him.

 

Image courtesy of and © copyright www.rexfeatures.com



A souvenir book of The Casbah Coffee Club - The Beatles, The True Beginnings, is published by Spine Books and Faber and Faber and is available at £25. It is packed with great photos and reminiscences from those early days and is a must for Beatles fans and collectors.

Two websites, www.petebest.com and www.casbahcoffeeclub.com are available.


 

 

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Website The Cavernites 
Details The Cavernites are a Four piece band in the classic Sixties style, from Liverpool, who perform a Sixties tribute show that recreates the vibrant sounds and atmosphere of the Swinging Sixties. The band take their name from the fan club members of The Cavern Club in Liverpool, the most famous club in the world, the club that saw the birth of The Beatles and showcased all the top bands during the Sixties.

Britain in 1962, and especially Liverpool, was a place where the Rock n’ Roll of the fifties had been fused with American R’n’B by the local beat groups, to create a raw, high-energy brand of music which was honed in sweaty pubs and clubs, such as The Cavern Club in Liverpool, and The Kaiserkeller, Indra and Star clubs in Hamburg.

The Cavernites re-create those days and the birth of what became known as Mersey Beat or The Liverpool or Mersey Sound a musical style that took the UK by storm, influencing countless groups across the country. The Cavernites recreate this era performing classic hits from groups like The Beatles, The Searchers, The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Mersey’s, The Hollies, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who and many other hit groups from the Sixties.

The Cavernites bring The Sixties back to life, taking the audience on a Magical Musical History Tour, through One of the greatest musical decades of all time, it's a fast and vibrant show, designed to get everyone dancing along.  The Cavernites are an accurate live recreation of a Sixties pop group during the Beatlemania years as seen on shows like 'Ready Steady Go’ and ’Top of the Pops' authentically recreating not only the look but the live sound of the bands they perform, bring back the vibrancy and passion of the original bands and transporting the audience right back to the Sixties.

The Cavernites use original instruments from the period, names like Rickenbacker, Epiphone, Gibson, and the famous Hofner Violin Beatle Bass, together with a Black Ludwig drum kit, they also use original amplifiers, names such as Marshal and Vox. The Sixties look is completed by the use of original stage clothes including the classic Sixties style Black thin lapelled suits, narrow leg trousers, White button down collared shirts, thin ties and the famous Cuban heeled Black Beatle boots.

The Cavernites can be contacted at
01745 355977 Mobile: 07769856164

Email at TheCavernites@yahoo.co.uk

Remarks Visit the website for details

 

BeatlesFest - Moville, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Website BeatlesFest 
  Gerry McLaughlin runs the only annual Beatles festival to take place in Ireland. A mixture of Beatles tribute acts and covers bands, special guests and other Beatles-related festivities, the BeatlesFest event takes place at Moville in the beautiful countryside of Donegal.

The BeatlesFest is quickly growing in reputation and stature as a major Beatles event, as can be witnessed by the calibre of acts and guests it attracts. The combination of great location, terrific atmosphere and hospitality and Beatles music is proving a winner.

More information on the event can be found at the Craicon website:

www.craicon.com

Tel: 00353 74 93 82973 

Email: gerrymclaughlin01@eircom.net

Remarks Visit the website for details

 

The Beatles in London Tours - THE Beatles tours in London
Website The Beatles in London Tour
Details Beatles walks by Richard Porter, organised by London Walks. Discover Beatlemania in London - sites where John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr lived and worked. Abbey Road and much more!

The Beatles In My Life Walk

  • A Hard Day's Night and Help! film locations
  • Registry office where Paul & Ringo got married
  • Apartment frequented by Ringo, John & Yoko
  • The house where Paul lived with Jane Asher and wrote Yesterday
  • The Beatles 'Apple' shop
  • Abbey Road
  • The Beatles Coffee Shop
  • And much, much more

The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour

  • The Beatles 'rooftop session' location
  • Paul McCartney's Offices
  • The 'birthplace' of Beatlemania
  • The Studios where the Beatles recorded Hey Jude
  • Abbey Road Studios
  • The Beatles Coffee Shop
  • And much, much more

London walks: 020 7624 3978

Richard Porter: 07958 706329

Email: richardandirina@tiscali.co.uk

Remarks See the website for details

 

The Beatles Coffee Shop - just around the corner from Abbey Road
Website The Beatles Coffee Shop
Details Formerly known as the Abbey Road Cafe, we are positioned at the entrance to St John's Wood underground station on the Jubilee Line. Whether you are a regular traveller passing through the station, a cricket fan on your way to Lords or a tourist coming to visit the sights made famous by the Beatles, call in and visit us for the best espresso, cappuccino, café latte, hot chocolate or a choice of teas. We also have some of the tastiest sandwiches around, some delicious pastries and a selection of cold drinks. London Transport buses passing by the Café include route numbers 13, 46, 82 and 113.

Opening Hours:
Mondays to Fridays from 7am to 7.30pm 
Saturdays 8am to 7.30pm
Sundays 9am to 7.30pm

Beatles Coffee Shop
St. John's Wood Underground Station
Finchley Road, London, NW8 6EB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7586 5404
Email: richardandirina@tiscali.co.uk

Remarks See the website for details

 

Steepletone Record Players and Jukeboxes - Jukeboxes & CD Players, LED Signs & Pictures, Nostalgic Telephones, Radio and Alarm Clocks
Websites steepletonerecordplayer.com

steepletonejukeboxes.com

Details On our website you will find a range of Steepletone products for you to buy. Our range includes Jukeboxes, CD Players, Record Players & Turntables, Nostalgic Telephones, Radios and Alarm Clocks

The remarkable changes in technology over the last few years has pushed the Jukeboxes to new limits, now offering 'No Moving Parts' music in MP3 format. we also carry a large range of LED 3D Pictures and new LED Neon Effect Wall Signs. Great eye catching designs with simplicity of use that, of course, still offer excellent value for money!

Steepletone Record Players. Listen to the classics the way they were intended on our superb range of record players. Many of us have collections of records and cassette tapes, but nowhere to play them or easily to convert to a modern digital format. Old record players, if they have been used over many years, can actually damage records, so it is important, if you wish to keep your collection in good order, to use a record player that is both high quality, and in full working order (especially the stylus!) Why not transfer your old LP's on to the MP3 format or CD using one of the Steepletone CD Burners

You don't even need to connect to your PC and run complicated software to do it - you just put in a recordable CD and transfer the music directly onto the CD. You can then either play back the recorded music using the CD, or even transfer the files to your PC (for storage, transfer to MP3 Player etc) if you wish.

Our Steepletone 5-in-1 Edinburgh Music Centre is very competitively priced. Steepletone is a British company that has been making high-quality audio equipment for 35 years, so you know you are buying a reliable product from a reputable company.

Customer Services
GiftedGadgets.com
Midlands Distribution Depot
PO Box 9276
Leicester

TEL: 0843 523 5145

Remarks Visit the website for details

 

Jukebox One Night Hire - You can create a little bit of magic at your party no matter what the occasion
Website Jukebox One Night Hire
Details Curtis Beauclair Automatics Ltd was founded in 1958.  We have now been in business for over 50 years so you can rely on us as an established company.

We first supplied jukeboxes to bars and clubs in London and the surrounding area.  Later we started supplying jukeboxes to private parties. We cater for everyone having any sort of party or event from weddings and birthdays to company events.  We have supplied jukeboxes to many hotels and party venues throughout London and the South East and we are recommended by many as their preferred music supplier.  We also have a number of party planners and suppliers of marquees who recommend our company.  Our jukeboxes have been used by TV and theatres in their productions.

You can create a little bit of magic at your party no matter what the occasion.

Contact Information
Jukebox One Night Hire
Mr, Robin Rowe
99 Wills Crescent
Hounslow
MIDDLESEX
TW3 2JE

Tel: 0208 894 4463   Mobile: 07850881896

Email: cutejuke@aol.com

Remarks Visit the website for details

 

The VOX Beatles
Website The VOX Beatles
Details The VOX Beatles are the South Coast's fantastic Beatles Tribute Band available for theatres, corporate events, parties, weddings and all other special occasions.

Their passion, enthusiasm and superb musicianship capturing their famous counterparts, along with years of experience will guarantee that your function will be definitely one to remember and a roaring success!

On a more technical note, authentic amplification, instruments and stage lighting are used to provide a high quality sound and visual experience.

Different packages can be tailored to suit your requirements and also interval and background music can be supplied at your request.

PACKAGES AVAILABLE INCLUDE:-

Option 1 - 1 hour Beatles set
Option 2 - 2 x 45 min Beatles sets
Option 3 - 2 x 1 hour Beatles sets


All supplied with interval music, lighting and visuals.

Phone Mike for further info - tel: 07796484605
Email: mountfordmike@googlemail.com
Remarks See the website for details

 

The Pinball Parlour - sales, hiring our machines and parties at the parlour
Website The Pinball Parlour 
Details Located about 75 miles east of London, The Pinball Parlour is the work of two long-time pinball fans, Peter Heath and Pinball Geoff. Peter has been involved with the game for many years, both as part of the Pinball Owners Association and through his Pinballs2Go sales and repair service. Pinball Geoff is a seasoned operator of more than two dozen pinball machines across a variety of sites In the north London area.

To contact us regarding sales, hiring our machines, parties at the parlour, or simply to get in touch with us, contact Peter or Geoff. 

The Pinball Parlour is located at 2 Addington Street, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 9JL, England and is open weekends 1pm to 6pm.

Peter 07973 870544

Geoff 07930 326008

Remarks Visit the website for details

 

The Beatelles - all-female Beatles tribute
Website The Beatelles
Details We are the only Female Beatles Tribute band in the UK and are all 'scousers' just like the Fab Four themselves.

We believe that the Beatles made the best music ever written and it is our mission to play it with the soul and passion it deserves, with a feminine edge of course. We love all the Beatles music but above all we enjoy playing the later material from legendary albums such as Abbey Road, Revolver, and The White album, the songs that broke the mould back in the day, and the little gems that most people don’t realise the Beatles made but still sound as fresh and contemporary as ever.

With an ever growing fan base at our live shows, we perform across the UK and Europe - including shows at Liverpool's own world famous Cavern Club.

The band consists of four fabulous girls.
  • Catherine Cook - Rhythm Guitar
  • Louisa Roach - Bass Guitar
  • Nadeen Kemp - Drums
  • Stephanie Kennedy - Lead Guitar

Being the first female Beatles Tribute from the UK has created opportunities to perform with famous bands and solos acts, including The Persuaders, Denny Laine (from Moody blues and Wings), Hal Bruce and his summer of Love band, The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Pete Best Band, and not forgetting our best friends, Liverpool's own The Mersey Beatles.

We have played the Matthew St festival here in our own city of Liverpool since 2007.

To get in touch, please use one of the following options:

Email - TheBeatelles@live.co.uk
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Beatelles/24884315504
MySpace - www.myspace.com/femalebeatlestribute

Remarks See the website for details

 

Tommy Hanley Photography - Paul McCartney, John Lennon, The Beatles, Rolling Stones Photographs and Prints
Website Tommy Hanley Photography
Details Some of my images are being released for the very first time, which you will see in my vintage print section. These are unique, one-off prints, which were made at the time.

I wanted a medium to share my life's work and allow members of the public to have a look round and if they like it - buy it, as everything you see here is for sale.

For pricing, please email me and I will get back to you with details.

The development of the site will continue and more of my work will be added with time, so please, take a good look round, enjoy, and come back again soon.

Email: tlb.hanley@googlemail.com

Remarks Visit the website for details

 

Rock Guitar Miniatures - From AC/DC to ZZ Top
Website Rock Guitar Miniatures
Details Rock Guitar Miniatures is proud to bring you a large range of miniature replica guitars and drum kits for rock fans everywhere.

The guitars come with a high gloss coating and feature strings and knobs, just like the originals.

The drums are authentically detailed and include snare, toms, floor toms and bass, high-hat, ride and crash cymbals in the original set-ups.

From AC/DC to ZZ Top.

Should you have any queries regarding our products, please contact us at:

Rock Guitar Miniatures P.O. Box 1425. Pinner Middx United Kingdom

sales@rockguitarminiatures.com

Remarks Visit the website for details

 

Gifticuffs -  unique gifts and jewellery for like minded music fanatics!
Website Gifticuffs
Details MUSIC - we love it, we're obsessed by it and frankly we couldn't give a Flying V for anything else!!

Gifticuffs - the website that offers unique gifts and jewellery for like minded music fanatics! All designs are unique to Gifticuffs and produced by Libero of London - therefore you will not find these particular designs anywhere else. Many of the products you find here are almost, if not actually, impossible to get elsewhere, such as Euphonium cufflinks, Tuba keyrings, Flying V tie pins and Gibson Explorer badges - plus lots more! Oh - and did we mention - Free Shipping! Anywhere in the world!

That's why we've designed these fantastic gifts for like minded music enthusiasts - whether you're into Classic Rock, Classical Music, Brass Bands, String Quartets - we should have something for you and we're always adding more designs, many of them unique and certainly different.

Greetings Cards, Rock n Roll Guitar Poster, Cufflinks, Guitar Poster, Music Teacher Gifts, Keyrings, Tie Slides, Hobbies, Gift Sets, Pin Badges/brooches, Earrings

There are great gifts for all occasions - especially popular as music teacher and student gifts as well as Father's Day, Mother's Day, Christmas, Wedding Day and any occasion you can think of... Everything you find here, from cufflinks to pin badges are all designed by us with many unique designs such as Euphoniums and Left Handed guitars. We hope you like the products you see and that your shopping experience is a pleasant one.

Office: 01582 593130 or 07723 014686

Remarks Visit the website for details

 

Get The Needle - styli and cartridges
Website Get The Needle
Details A really good collection of new and vintage Record player styli and cartridges and some sound technical knowledge to go with them.

At gettheneedle.co.uk we offer Modern, Veteran, Vintage, Record Player, Jukebox, Phonograph, Music Centre, Radiogram, Mono, Stereo and DJ Turntable Parts, Belts, Headshells, Accessories, Cartridges & Styli.

We stock literally thousands of styli, if you cannot see what you are looking for please contact us and we will do our best to find the right item for you.

Get The Needle Record Player Stylusor software division

Helpline: +44 (0) 1253 675700

Mobile: +44 (0) 7428 279 543

Remarks Visit the website for details

 


 

 

Pete Best interview. Many thanks to Pete for his help and kindness.

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