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!
If you are a diehard Beatles fan, then you are familiar with the man who is co-responsible with starting it all—John Lennon. Born John Winston Lennon on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England, to Alfred and Julia Lennon, he was named after his paternal grandfather John “Jack” Lennon, and England’s Prime Minister at the time of his birth, Winston Churchill.
John did not have an easy childhood. His father, Alfred Lennon, was a merchant seaman who was away at the time of John’s birth. It was not uncommon for his father to be away for extended periods of time, but he sent regular paychecks to John’s mother, Julia. His aunt, Mimi Smith, had complained twice to Liverpool’s Social Services concerning John’s welfare at home with his mother. After the second complaint, Julia then turned the care of John over to his aunt Mimi, who took care of John through childhood and adolescence.
While living with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George Smith, Lennon was first introduced to arts and music. Mimi purchased volumes of short stories, while George purchased a mouth organ. It can be said that because of this exposition to musical instruments, John’s musical interest really took off. In 1956, Lennon’s mother, Julia purchased a Gallotone Champion acoustic guitar, Lennon’s first guitar. Julia “lent” the guitar to Lennon on the condition that the guitar be delivered to her home, and not Mimi’s, because Mimi was not supportive of Lennon’s musical aspirations. In fact, Mimi was very skeptical of Lennon’s claim that he would be famous one day, often telling Lennon, “The guitar’s all very well, John, but you’ll never make a living out of it.”
In September 1956, at the age of 15, Lennon formed the skiffle group “The Quarrymen”. On July 6, 1957, when performing with The Quarrymen in Woolton, England, Lennon first met Paul McCartney, who Lennon would later ask to join his band. And so, the beginning formation of the Beatles had started—officially becoming a band in 1960! The band accepted a 48-night residency to perform in Hamburg, Germany, in August of 1960. Aunt Mimi was horrified when Lennon told her about the trip, begging him to return to school and continue with his art studies.
After nearly a decade of performing around the world with the group that he had formed, Lennon left the Beatles in September of 1969, but did not inform the media of his departure. In the years following the Beatles, Lennon married Yoko Ono and settled in Manhattan, New York. Together, the two formed the Plastic Ono Band, and produced several songs together.
In 1975, Lennon’s second son, Sean Lennon, was born. Lennon then took a five-year hiatus from the music industry to stay home and raise his son. He officially announced his break from music in 1977 while in Tokyo, saying, “We have basically decided, without any great decision, to be with our baby as much as we can until we feel we can take time off to indulge ourselves in creating things outside the family.”
Lennon’s final singles were produced and released in 1980. “(Just Like) Starting Over” was released in October 1980, followed by the album Double Fantasy
in November of the same year. The album contained songs written during a trip that Lennon took to Bermuda on a 43-foot sailing boat the previous June. The album reflected the newfound fulfilment that Lennon found from a stable family life.
On the night of December 8, 1980, Lennon and Ono were returning to their New York apartment in the Dakota, when Lennon was shot four times in the back by Mark David Chapman. Chapman lurked in the shadows before stepping out, shooting and fatally wounding Lennon. He was taken to nearby Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. The day after his passing, Ono released a statement: “There is no funeral for John. John loved and prayed for the human race. Please do the same for him.”
The legend that started with Lennon continues on today through Beatles Tribute Bands
. They introduce a whole new generation to the music and genre that Lennon invented, through his talents and years of performing alongside the Beatles. His legacy and the Beatles live on, through Beatles Tribute Bands
. Performing the well-loved music that Lennon helped to create allows us to never forget John Lennon’s incredible contributions to music, and the world.
In the early years of the 1960s, four young men sat down together to discuss the prospect of their self-starring band succeeding in the vast world of the music industry. No doubt the relatives and other local small-timers who had heard them play expressed assured confidence in their skill and relayed encouraging messages about their success in the “real world.” Continue reading “The Beatles Experience Can Still Be Yours”
There’s absolutely nothing like seeing your favorite band live—just ask any die-hard music fan. But what if the unthinkable has happened, and your favorite musicians have disbanded for one reason or another? You’re either stuck browsing internet videos, or, if that band happens to be the Beatles, you’re in luck!… Continue reading “Why You Need this Beatles Tribute Band in Your Life”
The Beatles don’t really need an introduction, but in case you are not very into music, or the British pop genre of music, this is the band which brought a revolution in the music industry back in 1960. After more than 55 years, The Beatles is a band still remembered, and will always be remembered, for its significant contributions in music… Continue reading “Introduction”
Are you a Beatles fan?? You must be or you wouldn’t be reading this! Then you need to see Britishmania! Authentic costumes, gear, on-stage banter and MUSIC from THE greatest all time band. Check out our Tour Schedule page on our website at www.british-mania.com for a show near you!
If you have been hankering to see your favorite band playing Live before you for some time now but simply do not know a way to achieve this, book a cover band. Groups such as the Beatles tribute band can fulfill your long seated wish. You will experience live performances from close distances without worrying about long lines and tickets. With something as popular… Continue reading “SEE YOUR FAVORITE BANDS PERFORM MINUS THE HASSLES OF ARRANGING FOR TICKETS”
Are you looking to fill up the halls and give a roaring and fantastic time to your audience? Why don’t you sign up a Beatles cover band to perform on stage? While the 1960s may be long gone, the legacy from that time remains in the form of the new generation Beatles fans that cannot have enough of the songs and performance. Call them copycats or successful… Continue reading “Tribute Bands For A Delightful Performance”
The Beatles have been the one band in the history of music like who can be no other. The first ones to introduce a unique style of music, making it popular with so many all around the world – such magic could never truly be woven by any other. Even after the official disbanding of The Beatles in the ‘70s, their music has not ceased to inspire the population. Their music… Continue reading “The Legends Live On With Beatles Tribute Bands”
Anybody who loves Beatles music will find performance of most Beatles tribute bands only average, though they use the same iconic instruments and the costume of the original Beatles along with wigs – to make them look like the original Beatles stars. But imitation of on-stage personality of the Beatles and the manner in which they interacted for creating the… Continue reading “Recreate The Original Beatles Magic With Beatles Tribute Bands”