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Reference Library: Pete Best in the 90's

From: (Stephen Cooke)
Date: 11 Sep 1996 01:38:34 GMT

Here's a random transcription of my interview with Pete Best. The quotes are accurate (it's from a tape), but keep in mind I didn't get to talk to him as long as I wanted (the promoter had 7 interviews booked for a one hour window!), also it was a newspaper story, not a magazine article, but it was a pleasure to talk to him, and with luck I'll get to meet him on the weekend at one of his band's shows in Nova Scotia

-on seeing the Fabs after his dismissal in 1962: "I played about two or three times with them, on the same bill, but after that they basically went their way, and I went mine, so our paths have never crossed since then. But there's a possibility they might, so who knows?"

-when I gave him an idea of the kind of questions I got off "A lot of people ask the same general questions, but you've got people who turned around and say, 'You recorded in a school hall in Hamburg (in 1961); what was the tape deck you used?' My god, I don't think even (producer) Bert Kaempfert knew that!"

-on not being interviewed for Anthology: "That was entirely their own decision on what material should be used and what shouldn't...A lot of people have said (I should have been involved), but at the end of the day it's as they wanted to present it, and it is their story."

-on finally having tapes of his recordings with J,P & G finally released on Anthology 1: "I'd heard the conventions you see it popping up, people come over and give you a copy or something like that, but (Anthology) was the first time I'd actually seen it in an offical recognized format. For my own piece of mind it was nice to turn around and say 'Yeah, they included me in the Anthology.'"

-on how Apple contacted him re Anthology (likely it was producer Neil Aspinall, to whom he was closest in the early 60s): "It was a case of 'We are going to use them, do you have any reason why we shouldn't?' and then once we reached that stage, like everything else the show business world, especially the record industry, it was all handled by the lawyers."

-on his relationship with Aspinall: "I see him from time to time...It's a quick 'Hello, what's happening, nice to sort of touch base again,' so the relationship is still there."

-on his drumming and helping create the Mersey Beat sound: "I hold my hand up for that particular credit, that style of heavy bass drumming with the tom tom work that I started doing in Germany when we first went over there...A lot of drummers in Liverpool copied that particular style. "When you're playing with a powerhouse unit, you need to lock something in which is going to add more dimension and hold it together."

-many books claim Pete wasn't as wild as the others, espcially when it came to taking pills for endurance. Pete begs to differ: "I was just as rowdy as the rest of them in the early Hamburg days. Nine times out of ten we were drunk, I drank as much as the rest of them...Whatever antics they got up to, I got up to; you were a Beatle."

-on watching Lennon-McCartney's partnership evolve: "When they started to introduce original material into the act it was good, because it was a case of 'Okay, we're doing something different from all the other bands in Liverpool.' We started to play material that was different than the normal Top 20. When other bands started looking for similar material, going into the Tamla-Motown era, we then turned around and said we were going to do something different and we started to introduce original material, so you can tell, even in those early days, they were still very much avant- garde regarding their ideas of being in front, in leading the kind of material that was going to be played next. "That could have fallen flat, it could have been a case of 'Hang on now, what are they doin? Yeah, it's original material, but we don't like it!' But yes, the audience did like it and because of that recognition it was the start of something new. We wanted to do original material, and even when it got to the first recording with George Martin it was, 'No, we want to record our own songs, and we're adamant that we do it,' because we knew it was good."

-on his new book: "It's nothing acidic, I'm not going for the jugular or trying to rip anyone's throat out but I think it's going to put forward a lot of the myths and misconstruances which have happened due to misreporting. By the time black gets passed on, it's turned to purple."

-on his mom Mona (check out the Best or Hunter Davies book for info on her contribution to the Fab Four's success: "She was one of the people who didn't get the recognition she deserved, but she will."

-personal memorabilia: "I've still got my leather jacket and my leather pants; stuff which is near and dear to me. First print records and posters, I've still got them."

-where does he keep them?: "I'm not telling yooouuu...Let me just put it this way; they're in a very safe place."

I hope fellow posters find this informative. It was hard to get Pete to divulge specific information ("Buy my book" was a stock answer).

Stephen Cooke

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