Cumbria Times
A Voice of the North
Graham Clark
Features Writer
8:39 AM 5th October 2021

Interview: Bootleg Beatles

The Bootleg Beatles are going out on tour again this autumn. The shows in this run will feature all the hits and more. There will also be a special set dedicated to songs that the Beatles played in their famous 1969 rooftop concert, to celebrate long awaited release of the new Peter Jackson Beatles documentary The Beatles: Get Back.

Tracing the Fab Four’s journey through the Swinging Sixties, with every detail forensically observed from the costumes and instruments to their flawless renditions of the classic hits from every era of the world’s most famous songbook, the show never fails to impress me.. But it’s not only their sound that is authentic; they bear an uncanny resemblance to the Fab Four.

I spoke to Steve White who plays Paul McCartney in the show.

Have you always been a Beatles fan?
When I was 9 years old I discovered the Beatles Greatest Hits album and used to sneak it into my room. I really liked the inlay sleeve with the montage of the band, if I had to pick a favourite track it would be Ticket To Ride as up to that point all their singles had been boy loves girl, I want to hold your hand but with Ticket To Ride this was a turning point for them.

What did you do before joining the Bootleg Beatles?
I joined in 2012 but as a musician. I was a late starter in that I didn’t start learning to play guitar until I was 20 years old. I played in a lot of 60’s covers bands and there was one where we had to do a 60th birthday party and we did all Beatles songs. That particular band broke up but I got a call shortly afterwards from the Bootleg Beatles saying that the guy who played Paul was ill and could I stand in for him.

What was the hardest Beatles song to learn?
It would have to be Oh! Darling off the Abbey Road album, vocally that was very hard.
Musically it would have to be Rain, it is the B side to Paperback Writer.

If you listen to the bass lines on most of the Beatles songs you will hear that they are quite intricate. I think Paul is a genius as with his bass playing he is playing the melody all the way through the song as well as singing too.

On this tour you are playing Stockton Globe, the Beatles played there in the 60’s
I was reading an article about Ian Wright the photographer who took photos of a lot of the acts who played at the Stockton Globe before it closed down in the 70’s. We are looking forward to playing there as it is great to see all these old theatres coming back to life.

Have you heard about the Bradford Odeon being restored?
No I haven’t, but from what you tell me that is lovely to hear, it really is music to my ears that the Bradford Odeon is going to re open as a live music venue. Places like the Stockton Globe and the Bradford Odeon are historical musical landmarks and once they are gone that’s it. Everyone should take a leaf out of their book, the news of the project is a joy to hear.

Have you ever seen Paul McCartney live?
Yes, I have seen him several times in concert, he might be getting older but he still pulls in the crowds. He did a 3 hour set the last time I saw him at the Liverpool Arena, the atmosphere was electric.

Do you find the audiences in the north are better than the south?
There is definitely a northern vibe I would say. A lot too all depends on the time of year when we tour - we always tour in March and April where the audience are more sedate than say when we tour around November and December where Christmas is just around the corner.

How has the last year been for you?
Like all bands, the last year destroyed the live music scene. We weathered the storm but I know a lot of musicians who ended up working on building sites or becoming delivery van drivers. Fortunately we came out the other side though many bands have fallen by the wayside. It will be great to be able to get back on stage again, that's why we are all looking forward to this tour so much.

The Bootleg Beatles play the following shows in the north:
14 October - O2 Academy, Leeds
16 October - Baths Hall, Scunthorpe
17 October - Globe, Stockton
21 November - Sands Centre, Carlisle
2 December - City Hall, Sheffield
7 December - St George’s Hall, Bradford
8 December - Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
9 December - Royal Hall, Harrogate
10 December - Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
17 December - City Hall, Newcastle
7 April Victoria - Theatre, Halifax
8 April - Barbican, York