Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience.” “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”
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Interview with Bill Roberts of “Fab” (Beatles tribute band) – - Part II
By Dave Carew
Fab—one of the world’s finest Beatles tribute bands—performs at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville this Saturday night at 7 p.m. Before the gig, Fab keyboardist Bill Roberts graciously granted a two-part interview to Underground Nashville. Here’s how Part II went (please see below for Part I):
UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: Having played so many more-or-less monthly gigs over the years, how do you keep your shows fresh for the band members and your audience?
BILL ROBERTS: Firstly, all the members of the band are friends as well as Beatle fans. We have fun at rehearsals—also, it’s interesting for us to break down and analyze the songs in order to learn them. Even though we’ve all heard the songs hundreds of times, we always discover new chord voicings or instrumentation or mistakes they left in—there’s a lot more going on in these songs than meets the ear. The Beatles recorded 214 songs—we’ve learned about 118 at last count, so we’ll keep trying to learn new songs that we can hopefully play well. On stage, we just try to have fun. When everybody in the band is cooking and all the ingredients are synching up and the crowd is reacting—hey—it doesn’t get much better in this terrestrial dimension, in the words of Charlie Sheen. We’re honored that so many people leave their warm house, get in their car, drive to the club, and pay money to see us perform. So we try to give them a faithful reproduction of the songs in the playful spirit of the Beatles—hopefully a show that spans their musical and emotional range. We always vary the set list from show to show. We’ve used different approaches—an all-request night, a chronological night, celebrating different holidays, acoustics sets, and so on. I hope we never get complacent or take the audience for granted.
UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: One final question. I can’t resist asking this. How the heck did you EVER learn to play the solo in “In My Life” so beautifully? Even George Martin couldn’t do that in “real time.”
BILL ROBERTS: My piano instructors were all Bach freaks! The solo is essentially a Bach two-part Invention. I still have nightmares—I mean dreams—of them pounding Bach into me. I guess I should thank them.
Don’t miss Fab at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville this Saturday. Show time: 7 p.m.
David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance book editor, publicist, and copywriter.