|September 5, 2008
Interview with American English, Beatles tribute band
All you need is love. Plus really well-made Beatles wigs, authentic
Beatles boots (purchased in Liverpool, no less) singing voices to match
those of the original Fab Four, the ability to play guitar, bass,
drums, piano or any combination thereof, and slip into pithy Beatle-ese
with the greatest of ease. Accomplish all this (and more) and you can
become one of the best and most enduring Beatles tribute bands in the
world -- otherwise known as American English. The fabulous
foursome (currently Eric Michaels as Paul McCartney, Young Hines as
John Lennon, Tom Gable as Ringo Starr and Doug Couture as George
Harrison) is in town this weekend to headline the YEA! Highland Park
Benefit at Ravinia. The annual concert benefits numerous youth arts,
education and social outreach programs in Highland Park.
The Sun-Times spoke with Michaels, who has portrayed Paul McCartney for more than two decades in American English.
Q. What's the best part about being a "Beatle"?
Eric Michaels: That when you get up on that stage, it just
all comes together -- the singing, the acting, the playing -- and the
applause from the crowd that means you've nailed every aspect of it.
Q. What's the first Beatles song you ever learned?
EM: "She Loves You," when I was 13.
Q. The most challenging Beatles music you had to learn?
EM: We'll be playing the entire "Abbey Road" album as part of
the Ravinia show, and that has been the most challenging thing for us
Q. How important was it for you guys to play this particular gig?
EM: As a Chicago musician, Ravinia is the most coveted place to play -- to be taken as a serious performer.
-- Miriam Di Nunzio
• • American English, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Ravinia
Festival, Green Bay and Lake-Cook, Highland Park. Benefit tickets, $250
(includes reserved concert seating with a pre-concert buffet dinner
beginning at 5 p.m.). Regular tickets: $45 pavilion, $15 lawn; www.ravinia.org or call (847) 266-5100