Meet Britishmania: The Man Who Started It All!

Britishmania leader Jon Ferris is the man behind the famous Beatles Tribute Band that has been playing and delighting audiences for years. Ferris explains how it all started at a young age, when he watched the Beatles perform on Sunday night on the Ed Sullivan Show, and the frenzy that instilled the next day among his peers. For Ferris, playing as a member of a Beatles Tribute Band is more than recreating the Beatles for younger generations to experience, it is about keeping the spirit and legacy of the Beatles alive!  Here is the transcript of a recent interview that Ferris did about Britishmania.   Do you remember the first time you listened to Beatles music? Vaguely. I was very young and was fortunate enough by accident to see them. I was in kindergarten and the Ed Sullivan Show was on Sunday nights. My mom and dad turned it on and there they were. They didn’t make any real impression on me, other than that they looked weird! My dad got up and turned the station and that was my first experience with seeing the Beatles. Those were the days. The next day, at school recess, everyone was talking about the Beatles. It was a frenzy! It stayed with me through that period. As I grew up, by high school, the Beatles were done. Then Beatlemania happened in 1977, instilling a new injection of a “WOW” factor. Then again, when John Lennon died, the whole world turned to the Beatles once again.   How did Britishmania get started? I’ve always had a passion for music my whole life. I was not a musician, not professionally, until Britishmania. Back in the mid 80’s, I saw a Beatles tribute band, that blew me away. But before that when John Lennon had passed away in 1980, I really started to listen to Beatles music from the musician side—the whole composition of the songs. Things started to change even more around 1999 and 2000. I got more interested in their music, listened more intently with a heightened awareness of The Beatles of just how great they really were. I started out playing with some local guys who wanted to get together and play and learn the music. This set me out on a journey to break down all the little nuances of the music (lead and backing vocal parts, guitar, bass, and drum parts) for each song. The guys I was learning with had no aspiration for turning it into something more than playing at some local bars which I really wasn’t interested in doing. I was looking at something much bigger what I could do beginning a true tribute. The original guys eventually dropped off and more high level talent began working with Britishmania.   What is your favorite Beatles song to perform? There are so many great ones! There are so many that I love for so many different reasons, for the song structure, and many other reasons. It is a tough one to answer. I would have to go with “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. It was the first big hit that hit America. It has a lot of meaning as far as what America knows the Beatles as. “Please Please Me”—is another favorite to perform. “Please Please Me” was the biggest hit in England the year before I Want to Hold Your Hand became a hit in America in 1964. What about the Beatles makes you want to keep their legacy alive? The love of the Beatles music is number one. I think for me, personally, it is about loving to play and sing the music and seeing the reaction you get from people and the compliments. The legacy is something that I feel obligated to do. I want to bring every nuance that I can bring and inject into Britishmania to let people relive what it must have been like. If I can pass that on to people of all ages then I feel like Britishmania is marking a viable mark in the world. I want to make sure the young kids get what The Beatles were all about. It will make their legacy even greater.   What is the best part of being part of a Beatles Tribute Band for you? The best part is getting on stage wanting people to believe that I’m John Lennon of the Beatles and seeing people sing, smile, and dance. People from 7-75 come out and enjoy our show.  I’m very humble, grateful and thankful  that I am able to do this.   What has been your favorite performance? I would have to say one of the most memorable performances was a 2 ½ week performance at Laguna Beach Playhouse, Laguna Beach, CA in 2013. We had a show every day for 2 ½ weeks, with a matinee one day. We put together our second CD during that show. We were able to work with the best in the business, and got to learn a lot about the business, and my character during that time.   What bands, if any, do you think capture the same spirt of music as the Beatles? I mean, I’m sure there are many, many bands that capture an essence of what the Beatles were doing. If you look at a lot of famous musicians/bands, they all know about the Beatles. It is like learning about Mozart. If you want to learn about people that have longevity, and that shows up in a lot of bands, you learn about the Beatles. Each band is going to take their own interpretation of the structure, on how they build and write a song.   Any advice for young aspiring musicians? I would say, keep playing for the love of the music and keep learning as much as you can about music. The whole composition process, learn an instrument, then learn another if you can, learn to sing. Learn all the aspects of music. It is a PRICELESS gift to have, it is something that someone can have with them their whole lives.   Anything else you would like to add? I think that from all the reviews that Britishmania has had over the years, all the venues and events we’ve played, I would tell people to come out and see what Britishmania is all about. They will find that we really look at the details and really hone in on what the Beatles were like on stage, and we try to reproduce some of the songs from studio. We are all about authentic. Come out and see us!

1 thought on “Meet Britishmania: The Man Who Started It All!”

  1. Britishmania played at my husband’s 50th birthday party, and they were awesome! The Beatles are appealing to every generation, so everyone young and old had a fabulous time. Britishmania looks and sounds amazing, and takes every aspect of their tribute performance seriously. They were terrific to work with, and were very accommodating to our needs from the budget to the small venue. I highly recommend for any event personal or corporate!
    Sona-MD

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