Beatlemania. From the early sixties until present day, it has followed us everywhere. And thank goodness! The Beatles were musical icons, and a part of so many of our lives. I recently had the chance to see Sir Paul McCartney live at Yankee Stadium, and I felt so privileged to see a “real” Beatle on stage. It was a night I will never forget. When my children were babies, I would rock them to sleep to the strains of Abbey Road or the White Album. And in a few weeks, my husband and I will take our daughter to Irvington, to see a Beatles Tribute Band.
The PreFab4 will be doing one Westchester show on its tour of a musical event they call YEAH, YEAH, YEAH. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! A Beatles Concert Celebration (“Y3”) is an audience interactive Beatles concert where the songs for each evening are determined by request. Young, virtuoso actor/singer/musicians, PreFab 4 performs Y3 as themselves, connecting with the crowd in ways that elude other Beatles tribute acts. The show will be performed at the Irvington Town Hall Theater.
We recently had a chance to speak to Anthony Rella, the group’s drummer. Rella, an attorney when he is not on tour, is a Rockland native, currently residing in Manhattan. Here is what he had to say.
WH: We understand that you have always been a musical person…but how is it that you got involved with being a Beatles Tribute Band? How did you all come together to do this?
AR: “Like many people, I started to play music because I wanted to be like my idols, the Beatles – while other people chose diplomats, firmly rooted literary figures, etc. as the topic of their college essay “Discuss what historical figure you would like to meet and why,” I chose Paul McCartney.
The idea for “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” (“Y3”) came about because while dress-up Beatles tribute bands are a lot of fun, I’ve always found there to be barrier between the tribute band and the audience. Y3 is about breaking down that barrier and establishing a personal connection between the audience and the performers on stage as we celebrate “together” the great music of The Beatles and the way it has touched the lives of so many people. I produce and direct the show and I handle all of the business matters (bookings, contracts, etc.) Our bassist acts as the musical director.”WH: Did you start out regional, and grow from there? How far do you take your tour?
AR: “One of the other things I spend a lot of time doing is playing “Buddy Holly” in a musical about Buddy Holly’s life (“The Buddy Holly Story”) that is performed around the country. I have done the show (in the role of Buddy or, when I was starting out, as his bass player or drummer) at ten or eleven different venues now – over 500 performances. “Buddy” has always been a great success at all of the theatre’s I have performed it in. Most regional theatres are familiar only with traditional musicals like “Hello Dolly” and “Grease.” They don’t quite know what to do with a true rock and roll show like “Buddy.” Once they see how much their audiences love “Buddy” and they know me personally and professionally, they become excited about booking PreFab 4. So that is how we started out.”
Currently we’ve done Y3 productions in NYC, Carmel and Los Angeles, California, New Orleans, Mississippi, Illinois, Nebraska, and New Jersey. While we offer PreFab 4’s services to private/corporate events, Y3 itself is generally performed in theatre’s for multi-week runs as part of their regular season’s offerings or as a special concert performance on days their stage would otherwise be dark.”
WH: OK, We have to ask this since is so intriguing, but how on earth do you balance your legal career with your passion for music and a musical career?
AR: “I have my own law firm, Lawlor & Rella LLP in NYC. My partner who lives in Dobbs Ferry, is a full time attorney, but has a foot firmly in the arts as his wife is a musician with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Basically, when I get a gig, he covers all of our court appearances, etc. I take my laptop and do any legal work I need to over the web. For the last 15 years I’ve split my time between my two careers.”
WH: What type of law do you practice, and does it coincide with your artistic personality or is it a sharp contrast?
AR: “My firm has a general legal practice – contracts, litigation, setting up businesses, real estate closings, but we also have specializations in the disparate areas of Commercial Landlord Tenant law and SEC subpoena enforcement. A strange mix, but that is what we do. For better or worse, my personality is usually the same no matter what situation I’m in, minus the jumping around I do on stage – not so practical in court or in a conference room.”
WH: If you have some advice for someone with a mainstream career who wishes to pursue an artistic endeavor, what would you tell them?
AR: “Go for it! Just be prepared to go to sleep every night thinking about all the things you wish you had time to do during the day that has just passed and hoping you’ll be able to fit it all in tomorrow.”
You can catch the show at the Irvington Town Hall Theater on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 8pm. For more information, including tickets, click HERE (www.irvingtontheater.com). For more information on PreFab4, click here! Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!