Article from The Taos News, written by Ariana Kramer, published March 7, 2013:
“John, Paul, George, Ringo — the Beatles are on a first-name basis with most music-lovers across the world. Tribute bands capitalize on the familiarity and appeal of the Fab Four’s music for good reason. Their songs are among the best-known and loved of any modern (or historical) composers.
The Beatles wrote more than 200 songs, but most were never performed live. Without trying to impersonate the Beatles, Doctor Robert is a tribute band that aims to bring the pleasure of hearing a live concert of Beatles music to attentive audiences.
The Crested Butte-based band will be coming down from Colorado for a brief Taos tour. Doctor Robert performs about half of the Beatles repertoire – about seven hours of music. Expect each of their Taos shows to be distinctively different.
You can catch them Sunday (March 10) at 8:30 p.m. when the band plays a free show at the KTAOS Solar Center, 9 State Road 150, north of El Prado. Then on Monday (March 11) the band heads up the mountain to play a free show from 3-6 p.m. at the Martini Tree Bar in Taos Ski Valley. The band also played a Saturday night (March 9) gig at the Alley Cantina.
Doctor Robert is Casey Falter (guitar, vocals), Ben Wright (drums), Karen Janssen (vocals, percussion, guitar, mandolin, piano, bass) and Kevin Reinert (bass, guitar, vocals). So, who is Robert?
“ ‘Doctor Robert’ is a song from the second half of the ‘Revolver’ album,” Reinert said. “It’s sort of a ‘deep track’ as most people don’t realize they know it until they hear it (if they know it at all). The idea was John Lennon’s. The name was based on the New York Dr. Feelgood character Dr. Robert Freymann, whose clinic was conveniently located for celebrities and other wealthy Upper East-siders to stroll over for their vitamin B-12 shots, which also happened to contain a massive dose of amphetamine. The song was a joke about a doctor who cured everyone of everything with all these pills and tranquilizers. Since we’re not part of that culture, we like to think of music as the ‘drug’ in our case, as it can ‘help anyone in need.’”
A quote from Derek Taylor from his book, “Fifty Years Adrift,” which appears on The Beatles official website (www.thebeatles.com), explains why the Fab Four seemed so timeless even though their shows were often rather brief appearances: “I have never seen anything like it. Nor heard any noise to approximate the ceaseless, frantic, hysterical scream which met the Beatles when they took the stage after what seemed a 100 years of earlier acts. All very good, all marking time, because no one had come for anything other than the Beatles … Then the theatre went wild. First aid men and police — men in the stalls, women mainly in the balcony — taut and anxious, patrolled the aisles, one to every three rows. Many girls fainted. Thirty were gently carried out, protesting in their hysteria, forlorn and wretched in an unrequited love for four lads who might have lived next door. The stalls were like a nightmare March Fair. No one could remain seated. Clutching each other, hurling jelly babies at the stage, beating their brows, the youth of Britain’s second city surrendered themselves totally.”
Wisely, Doctor Robert does not attempt to impersonate the Beatles. Instead, the band is committed to accurately reproducing their music, playing songs from “Please, Please Me” to “Abbey Road.”
“More than any other band in the history of rock and roll, The Beatles were able to change styles with the times, and stay ahead of the trends. In only seven years of recording, they were able to create so many different ideas and sounds, crossing into just about every genre of music. This is part of what keeps it exciting for us. There is a huge variety of musical styles to recreate. It also helps that so many people know their music,” Falter said.
The members of Doctor Robert have separately performed music across genres, including bluegrass, jazz, classical and original funk.
Janssen remarked, “What’s cool is how this music has been a meeting place for the four of us. We all bring something different from our past to the project. We have appreciated the learning curve too; the music is very complex and the songwriting was pure genius. It’s really inspiring.”
For more, visit http://www.doctorroberttribute.com”;
Article from Central Colorado Magazine, written by Elliot Jackson, published May 2012 (Link to article: http://cozine.com/2012-may/meet-doctor-robert/)
Meet Doctor Robert
By Elliot Jackson
“For most of us, our first memory of “The Music” was mediated through the miracle of electronics, whether through the radio:
12 years old, rushing around getting ready for school, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” plays on the AM radio, stops me in my tracks, and I’m instantly in love – Lynn Wetherell, Paonia, Colorado
Ancient technologies like the record player:
Had the 45 of “Yesterday” (still remember, the flip was “Act Naturally”). Summer of 65, I was four. Maybe the first record I ever owned. Played it over and over and over and over … Adam Davis, Kirksville, Missouri
Or tape players:
I am the Walrus – on reel to reel, age six … and ever more … I loved it … Cara Barone, Salida, Colorado
Eight track tape, White Album, my dad and me driving to the mountains in Arizona to go fishing and light bonfires. Every time the lyric “damn good whacking” in Piggies came up he’d reach across the bench seat and whack me. – Craig Childs, Crawford, Colorado
Or TV – specifically, that moment on February 9, 1964 when the host of a popular evening variety show, looking slightly bemused, announces, “Ladies and gentlemen … The Beatles!” – his last words, “let’s bring them on” drowned in the tsunami of sound, a roar made of shrieks, that would come to characterize the holy hysteria known as Beatlemania:
Watching them play Love Me Do and I Want to Hold Your Hand on Ed Sullivan at my cousin’s house on Long Island – the “old” Italian parents were not impressed (the Beatles weren’t Sinatra), as all of us kids were going wild … Phil Egidi, Vienna, Virginia
Jumping up and down on the couch and screaming along with the audience when they played on the Ed Sullivan Show. – Stuart Rosenberg, Skokie, Illinois
None of the members of the Crested Butte Beatle tribute band, Doctor Robert, is really old enough to have seen the Beatles on that Ed Sullivan broadcast. In fact, drummer Ben Wright, the youngest member of the group, confesses that he hadn’t been that familiar with Beatles music before being roped into playing with the band by Amanda Cook, one of his instructors at Western State College: “My dad was into country music,” he says about his childhood influences, “and my mom played in the church.”
The other members of the band – Kevin Reinert, Casey Falter, and Karen Janssen – all had different influences and have played in different styles, both together and separately. Kevin and Casey, who trade off most of the guitar and bass duties, have been playing together in the Crested Butte area for about ten years, everything from acoustic jazz and bluegrass to a funk jam band. When they brainstormed an idea for a new band, they originally had in mind something quite different from Doctor Robert: “Tower of Power,” says Kevin, referring to the mighty and long-lived California horn band.
What changed Kevin’s mind about the direction for the new band was the recollection of a wedding he had attended: Specifically, the wedding band, a Beatle tribute band called the Cavern Beat. What struck him the most? “Everybody danced.” As he realized from watching the reaction to that band, the material alone practically guaranteed gigs; in fact, Kevin recalls talking to the former manager of the Cavern Beat, who also managed a lot of other bands, tributes to other bands like the Rolling Stones among them, and, “he said, ‘the Beatles bands are the ones that are working.’”
The idea for a band based on Beatles music began to take shape, and Kevin and Casey put feelers out to a lot of Crested Butte-area musicians. Among the musicians who heeded the call was Karen Janssen, who with Kevin and Casey trades off on guitar, bass, mandolin, piano or percussion as needed, and who had played and taught music locally for a number of years before getting involved with Doctor Robert. She remembers running into Kevin and Casey and hearing about the project, and thinking it sounded like fun. Next thing she knew, she was being handed music, and the project began around August 2010.
In the meantime, while the membership of the band was coalescing (Amanda Cook, the fifth original member, is on indefinite maternity leave), Casey and Kevin put an acoustic act together for the Princess Wine Bar, as they started learning new material: “Beatles and blues,” was the vibe, according to Casey. As they were learning the songs, their ideas on arrangement and instrumentation remained fluid – this was Crested Butte, after all, so Beatles music on fiddles and banjos, à la the Charles River Valley Boys, would not have been out of the question. But along the way, they made the decision to stick more or less closely to the original instrumentation and arrangements. As Casey puts it, “You’re either going to play the songs as they are or you’re going to ‘cover’ them. There are key elements that you have to have.”
In the almost two years since their beginnings “playing every Friday at the Firehouse [in Crested Butte],” remembers Ben, Doctor Robert (named after one of the more obscure Beatles tunes from the album “Revolver”) has logged a lot of miles and gigs, playing venues from the Gunnison Valley to the Front Range. Along the way, they have learned about 100 Beatles songs from all stages of the band’s evolution – from “Meet the Beatles” to “Abbey Road.” Along the way, they have developed a huge respect for the Beatles as musicians and craftsmen. “Straight song-writing genius,” says Casey. “They knew how to stop at the right time.” All the musicians say that working on the harmonies in the songs has made them better singers. But every song, even the most seemingly simple, presents challenges. However well they study the arrangements – Casey and Ben refer to themselves as “the notation people,” who study the written scores and transcriptions – “there’s always a nasty kick in each song for each of us,” says Karen.
All of the musicians in the band relish the contact with the audience members that the material inspires. “The people we meet during this journey – it’s insane,” says Ben. “We’ve met so many cool people in all age ranges.” And kids at the gigs are definitely into it – “it’s so cool to meet 10-year-old kids singing every word to ‘Drive My Car’.”
“I’ve never had so many conversations about music in my life!” says Kevin. “And every show there’s someone there from the time we start till the time we finish.
This music has 50 years of memories.”