From NPR to Howard Stern to the Front Page of Hollywood Reporter, The Fab Faux is a 'Band on the Rise'
Concerts Confirmed for Boston, New Jersey, New York, Hollywood, Washington D.C., and more
For those of us who never got to see The Beatles perform live, we're fortunate to have five of the best musicians around - The Fab Faux - dedicate themselves to faithfully recreating some of the most extraordinary music ever written.
Known for their spot-on recreations of the most demanding Beatles music, The Fab Faux have recently garnered the attention of some of the top media outlets in America. A Front Page article in The Hollywood Reporter noted: After nearly 10 years together, (they) find themselves in the midst of a surprising leap from club fringe to center stage..."
The New York Times said the band tackles The Beatles' most complex studio work without breaking a sweat," and The NY Post praised The Fab Faux as being able to re- create the sounds of albums few would dare play live."
From Associated Press to The New Yorker to Rolling Stone to NY Sun, critics have weighed in, and have described the band as nothing less than Brilliant." Upcoming coverage will include a featured segment on NPR's Morning Edition, and on 11/12, the band will return to The Howard Stern Show.
Numerous new concert dates have been confirmed, including Boston on 11/11, New Brunswick NJ on 11/17, NYC on 12/28&29, Hollywood CA in January, and more. These upcoming performances will give The Fab Faux the opportunity to show U.S. fans why Rolling Stone Magazine Senior Editor David Fricke described them as the greatest Beatles cover band..."
WHAT MAKES THE FAUX FAB? THE LOVE THEY GIVE By Deborah Wilker Oct 11, 2007 - The Hollywood Reporter
NEW YORK -- It was an evening straight out of Lincoln Center, with bravos for the harpist and a standing ovation for the trumpet solo. But this was no black-tie event.
This was a rock show, the setting was the hardscrabble Beacon Theatre, and the music was the latter-day material of the Beatles -- complex songs the band never played in concert -- performed in a manner so close to the original studio recordings as to be almost unnerving.
This take on what the Beatles might have sounded like had they performed such intricate songs as A Day in the Life," The End," Strawberry Fields Forever" and other work from 1966-70 on the road is the singular mission of the Fab Faux - a genial...pickup band of elite Manhattan musicians, including two moonlighting members of late-night TV talk show bands. And, after nearly 10 years together, find themselves in the midst of a surprising leap from club fringe to center stage.
From the echoed mumbling in I Am the Walrus" to the firehouse bell and opulent horns of Penny Lane," it seems that not a single detail escapes the Faux.
We spend so much time at rehearsal just sitting in a circle listening to nuances," drummer Rich Pagano says. I don't know any other band that does things the way we do."
Long known among the Beatles faithful, the Faux got a considerable profile lift from a pair of stirring performances earlier this year -- first on Late Show With David Letterman," then during a visit to Howard Stern at Sirius Satellite Radio. When tickets to a recent Beacon concert (the band's first in a major theater) flew from the boxoffice, promoters scrambled to take this extreme tribute to the bank full time.
But that would ruin it, don't you think?" says the Faux's Jimmy Vivino, who is best known for his regular gig as lead guitarist and arranger for the Max Weinberg 7 on NBC's Late Night With Conan O'Brien."
Not that the band could tour, even if it wanted to. The Faux's bassist is Will Lee, who has played in David Letterman's band since his late-night show began in 1982. In fact, all five members -- also including Frank Agnello on guitar/sound effects and Jack Petruzzelli on keyboard, guitar and percussion -- play in other bands and continually work in the studio with leading artists.
While a weeknight job in television can be limiting, no one's complaining. On Saturday, the Faux is squeezing in two sold-out shows at the Keswick Theatre near Philadelphia -- performing 1966's Revolver" album at 4 p.m. and 1969's Abbey Road" at 8. Amid a slew of shows through the holidays will be a presentation of Sgt. Pepper," start to finish, at the Berklee College of Music in Boston next month. An L.A. show is set for January at the Avalon in Hollywood.
Most of the time, we're stuck in New York, which could have been the thing that killed us if we hadn't been any good," Lee says. But now I think it adds to our desirability. It's not that we want to say no -- we love playing. So we kind of do a world tour of one particular town every Saturday night."
That they love" it understates the obvious. All are self-professed, lifelong Beatles geeks. Their devotion is clear during costly, laborious sound checks and setups that sometimes stretch five hours or more and even include placing specific brands of microphones and speakers just as John Lennon reportedly did decades ago.
We do torture ourselves over the details because it's so worth it," Lee says. But when you look at the Beatles' body of work and how quickly it all happened and how it impacted basically all of pop music, it deserves a lot thought. They bent all the rules."
Clearly there is -- and probably always will be -- limitless profit potential in the music of the Beatles and other iconic acts with substantive, versatile catalogs. But while the rapidly expanding tribute" sector of the music business has become increasingly profitable and worthy of greater respect (a rare bright spot for today's music industry), the Fab Faux is not part of that movement.
The hundreds of working Beatles acts, with such names as Ticket to Ride, Come Together, Rain and the Fab Four -- as well as bands including the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Floydian Slip, Led Zepplica, Freebird, Fan Halen and others -- concentrate on pop radio hits, wigs and costumes.
Members of the Fab Faux do not dress up, mimic a particular musician or stress the visual in any way. All five trade off on vocals, various instruments and live effects -- whatever's called for aurally to create the whole sound.
Although in some shows they do include the early pop hits favored by typical Beatles tribute acts, the Faux's primary goal is to decipher what went on in the studio when a somewhat disillusioned Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr decided to stop touring and record whatever came to mind -- no matter how avant-garde, silly or strange.
What the Fab Faux has figured out is how to play songs that were never designed to be played live," says veteran music journalist David Fricke, senior editor at Rolling Stone magazine. Everyone knows they could be touring this thing to death if they wanted to. It could be a license to print money. I don't know any Beatles band that has ever attempted to play 'Revolution 9' live. It's just too hard."
Accomplishing all this has its price. The harp, strings and horn sections that must be onstage for such songs as She's Leaving Home," Across the Universe," Penny Lane" and many others typically bring the Faux to 11 pieces for most shows. The tab for lengthy rehearsals, sound technicians, extensive setups and a schedule that doesn't allow for the economy of consecutive shows isn't supplemented by a record label, promoter or sponsor.
While the band is now well-known enough to receive top billing at the annual Beatle Week in Liverpool for the past several summers and also does well with lucrative private corporate gigs, its members say that even if that were not the case, they would not consider doing business less expensively.
On 'Penny Lane,' for example, you will never see a guy playing a synthesizer to emulate the piccolo trumpet solo," Lee says. You'll see a guy playing a piccolo trumpet."
Band members say they're always augmenting their Beatles knowledge -- continually scouring used record shops and the Internet for rare takes and other clues to the past.
Says Pagano: I've found imports where just one fader is up on the 'White Album' and it's just John's guitar part, and I'll bring it to Jimmy and say, 'Listen to what he's doing here -- listen to the tone on his amp!"
A little obsessive? Perhaps -- but Vivino says they have it in perspective.
I've heard that Yoko appreciates what we do," he says of Lennon's widow Yoko Ono. But though he's met McCartney and Starr, he's never mentioned his side band. I just don't think I could walk up to either of them and say 'Hey, by the way ...' That puts you into that strange stalker place, and we don't want to go there."
THE FAB FAUX - UPCOMING APPEARANCES:
11/3/2007 Colden Center for the Arts - Queens, NY Sgt. Pepper Encore Performance! The album, in its entirety - plus a mixed set of Beatles favorites. Featuring The Hogshead Horns, Creme Tangerine Strings, and Erin Hill on harp. Tickets: Call 718 423-8394, 7 days a week, 9:00 AM- 10:00 PM.
11/11/2007 Berklee College of Music - Boston, MA Sgt. Pepper in its entirety - featuring The Hogshead Horns, The Creme Tangerine Strings, and Erin Hill on Harp.
11/12/2007 The Howard Stern Show - Sirius radio channel 'Howard 101' 7pm ET and 4pm PT with a replay at Midnight ET / 9pm PT - www.sirius.com Featuring The Hogshead Horns and Creme Tangerine Strings; playing excerpts from Abbey Road LP
11/17/2007 State Theatre - New Brunswick, NJ 2 Shows - 4 & 8 pm Featuring The Hogshead Horns and Creme Tangerine Strings; consisting of the Abbey Road LP in its entirety, followed by a mixed bag of Beatles favorites!
12/15/2007 House of Blues - Atlantic City, NJ This will be the first East Coast House of Blues appearance for the Fab Faux! It will be a mixed bag of Beatles classics and favorites, featuring the Creme Tangerine Strings and Hogshead Horns.
12/28-29/2007 Terminal 5 - New York, NY 2 Shows! The White Album in its entirety on Friday, 12/28; and Revolver in its entirety + a mixed set of Beatles favorites on Saturday, 12/29! With the Hogshead Horns, the Creme Tangerine Strings, and Faux Faves (White Album show Andy York & Erin Hill).
12/31/2007 First night Montclair (New Years Eve performances) New Year's Eve Montclair 'First Night' with three - FIVE PIECE - stripped down rock and roll shows! Come join The Fab Faux (and many other performers and activities throughout the town square) for a most memorable New Year's Eve!
Performing in the Town Church Sanctuary 40 SOUTH FULLERTON AVENUE - MONTCLAIR, NJ Three separate performances: 8:50PM - 9:35PM, 9:55PM -10:40PM, 11:00PM -11:45PM. Tickets for one, two or three shows can be purchased online starting Sunday, November 4th.
01/19/2008 Paramount Center for the Arts - Peekskill, NY A winter fundraising concert; featuring the Hogshead Horns & Creme Tangerine Strings; performing a mixed bag show from The Beatles' entire career.
01/26/2008 Avalon Hollywood - Hollywood, CA 8:00 PM (7:00 PM Doors) with The Hogshead Horns and Creme Tangerine Strings
04/26/08 Warner Theatre - Washington, DC 8:00 PM - featuring The Hogshead Horns and The Creme Tangerine Strings.
The Fab Faux brings together the talents of five of New York's most respected musicians: Will Lee of Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Vivino of Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Rich Pagano, who has performed with Rosanne Cash and Ray Davies, Jack Petruzzelli, who tours with Joan Osborne and Rufus Wainwright, and Frank Agnello, whose musical credits include Phoebe Snow and Marshall Crenshaw.
The Fab Faux commemorated the 43rd Anniversary of The Beatles' performance on The Ed Sullivan Show with a February appearance Late Show with David Letterman. Check out their fantastic recreation of 'I Am The Walrus'.
The Fab Faux's popular video for I Don't Want to Face It" - part of the Instant Karma project to help aid the crisis in Darfur -- is now available on iTunes.
ABOUT THE FAB FAUX:
With a commitment to the accurate reproduction of The Beatles' repertoire, The Fab Faux treat the seminal music with unwavering respect, and are known for their painstaking recreations of the songs (with emphasis on the later works never performed live by the Beatles). Far beyond a cover band, they play the music of The Beatles so impeccably that one must experience it to believe it. Imagine hearing complex material like Strawberry Fields Forever" or I Am the Walrus" performed in complete part-perfect renditions; or such harmony-driven songs as Because", Nowhere Man", and Paperback Writer", reproduced not only note-for-note, but with extra vocalists to achieve a double-tracked effect.
The musical virtuosity of The Fab Faux - in actuality five of the hardest working musicians in NYC - completely up-ends the concept of a Beatles tribute band. Far beyond being extended sets of cover versions, their astounding shows are an inspired re-discovery of the Beatles' musical magic, as The Fab Faux tackles the group's most demanding material live onstage in a way that has to be experienced to be believed.
Calling them, the greatest Beatles cover band - without the wigs," Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke wrote, the Faux invigorate the artistry of even the Beatles' most intricate studio masterpieces with top chops and Beatlemaniac glee." Approaching the songs with the intent of playing them live as accurately in musical reading and in spirit as possible, The Faux's breathtaking performances tend to dispel all concertgoers' previous notions of a Beatles tribute act.
The Fab Faux are a labor of love that was born in 1998 when neighbors Jimmy Vivino, guitarist/arranger for Late Night With Conan O'Brien house band the Max Weinberg 7 and Will Lee (who's played with all 4 Beatles), bassist for Paul Shaffer's CBS Orchestra on the Late Show With David Letterman kicked around the idea during an elevator ride in their NYC building. Rounding out the line-up are lead-singing drummer/producer Rich Pagano (Rosanne Cash, Patti Smith, Ray Davies, etc.), guitarist Frank Agnello (Marshall Crenshaw, Phoebe Snow, etc.) and ace keyboardist/guitarist Jack Petruzzelli (Joan Osborne Band, Rufus Wainwright). All five principals contribute vocals, making the Faux's soaring harmonies as resonant as their multi-instrumental chops, which are further enhanced by the four-piece Hogshead Horns (with Blues Brothers, Blood, Sweat & Tears and SNL band alums) and Creme Tangerine Strings.
The Faux's high energy shows have generated serious buzz not only at top NYC venues including Hammerstein Ballroom, the Nokia Theatre and Webster Hall - with Beatles fans, movie stars and world class musicians in attendance - but at major dates in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Park City, Utah (Sundance), Philadelphia and Toronto, among other locales. They've headlined 4 of the last 5 years at Liverpool's annual Beatle Week, playing before 35,000 Beatle fanatics - while in England, they had the rare honor of recording an original song at Abbey Road Studios - and also delighted the masses performing live on the Howard Stern Show. Benefit and corporate dates have included events for JVC, the N.B.A. and the Michael J. Fox Parkinsons Research Foundation.
It's not just a cover band," says the Faux's Pagano. This is the greatest Pop music ever written, and we're such freaks for it." Imagine the instrumental complexities of Strawberry Fields Forever" and A Day in the Life" performed part-perfect with an orchestra. The lush, multi-layered harmonies of Because," and Eleanor Rigby" sung note-for-note. The adrenaline rush of Helter Skelter" and Paperback Writer" delivered spot on, down to the barnyard sound effects...