Saturday, May 1, 2010

Meet the Beatles...tribute bandmate Ralph Castelli

The Beatles' impact on popular music could only be defined as immeasurable. With millions of fans worldwide hungry for anything Beatles, it's no wonder that Rain: A Tribute To The Beatles, has been loved by critics and fans alike. Now the Beatlemania sensation makes its debut in Atlanta at the Fabulous Fox Theater from October 6-11. Paul, John, George, and Ringo; it may be impossible to fill the shoes of these legends, but for some, like the Denver Post the cast of Rain are "the next best thing."

Ralph Castelli, who plays Ringo Starr in the show, remembers how he got his start with the cast members of Rain. "We met in a Broadway show called Beatlemania a couple decades ago, when I was a sophomore in sunny California. "It was the only band around that actually played the Beatles songs," Castelli says. "I went to go see them and the keyboard player Mark Willis, who is still in the band, and I joined forces with Rain", continues Castelli.

Rain, according to Castelli, is a" show of The Beatles licensed songs, it's a rock concert with a theatrical element to supplement the concert." In terms of what Rain has to offer fans, Castelli says, "there's multimedia, nostalgic TV commercials that bring you back to re-live the times of the 60's. Very psychedelic. It's a wonderful experience for all the kids and parents to see." Fans of The Beatles may find it interesting to know that "Rain is the first tribute band ever, Rain coined the phrase 'tribute band,'" according to Castelli."

There's 3 generations of fans in the audience, we know that when the Beatles first came to America in 1964, the parents took the kids and now the kids are taking the parents to the show," Castelli says on The Beatles impact and their audience.

Like many musicians, Ralph Castelli's life has always been touched by music." I was pretty influenced by my three older brothers. They all played music, one of my brothers was a drummer so there was always a drum set at my house. My mom says I was always playing with forks and spoons and pots and pans," says Castelli.

When it comes to inspiration, millions of artists worldwide claim to be inspired by the Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, and Castelli is no exception. "It wasn't until the night that I saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show that I totally knew what I wanted to do. That was the night that I went right into the bedroom, closed the door, I put on the album Meet the Beatles, I put my headphones on, I just started emulating everything I heard and saw. I just became a big fan from then on," says Castelli. Though early Beatles' materials, such as Meet the Beatles, transformed his beginnings, Castelli's musical tastes have since evolved. "Lately I've been gravitating to the later albums, from Sgt. Peppers and on," says Castelli.

While he makes his life emulating a Beatle, when it comes to one day creating his own classics, Castelli says "No. I don't. This is a pretty busy job. We tour quite a bit. So it's quite busy. Whenever you get a chance to get home it's usually downtime. I mean there's some projects that I've been involved with, but I'm not a songwriter."Castelli, along with his bandmates Joey Curatolo (Paul McCatney), Joe Bithorn (George Harrison), Steve Landes (John Lennon), and Mark Lewis (keyboards, percussion) seem to have successfully brought the "fab-four" back to life by performing classics such as "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "Hey Jude" live, with no pre-recorded tapes or sequences. Now with Beatlemania in full swing, their success can only get bigger and bigger, that is, unless Yoko Ono-mania comes along and breaks it up.

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