Cast Member:


Bass, Guitar, Piano

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Q&A with Tony:

How did you hear about BEATLEMANIA auditions? 

I heard about the Beatlemania audition back in 1977.  I was in Tucson, AZ and I was playing in a top 40 band Called Cheap Trix.  This band was
together before the group Cheap Trick had been formed.
We had a following and were pretty good band, I was the lead Singer and Lead guitarist in the group.  I was playing around the Southern California
circuit and an agent Named Fred Cisneros, booked us at that time. 

He had told another band member, Sy Goraieb, that he heard about The Beatlemania show and thought that I would be right for the show. 
I got a call from Sy Goraieb who was helping in the hunt for a McCartney for their group that already consisted of Jimmy Poe and Sy as well as Bob Wirth.  So it was Sy that called me for the audition.  I told him that I did not know the songs but that I would love to try out.

Had you been impersonating Paul  McCartney before you heard about Beatlemania? 

I was not doing Paul before the audition, however I was a singer and had performed only one McCartney song. "Beware My Love."  This song really
rocked the house when we did it in the clubs.  When I would sing it, people would come up to me and say I could pass for McCartney.  I thought
nothing of it at that time.  I was more into Frampton, and Bad Co.

What was your audition experience for BEATLEMANIA like? eg: was the room full of Beatle impersonators, or was it just you and a music director? 

When I auditioned I flew in from Phoenix where I was playing the night before.  I worked up three songs. "Can't Buy Me Love",  "Yesterday", and "Hey Jude". 

My friend John Markovich helped me with the bass parts and I learned "Yesterday".  "Hey Jude" was more of a challenge cause I had not yet learned the piano.  I worked really hard to learn the song good enough for the audition.

I flew into LA. and went to SIR studios where there were several Pauls dressed up as Ed Sullivan McCartney.  The musicial director was there, Jack
Carone, and Bunk 4: David Leon, Rob Laufer, Ralph Castelli and Jim Odem.

So they asked me to sit in with there group to audition me.  So my first audition was with David Leon.  We did "Can't Buy Me Love".  I was very nervous, sang almost all of the song but stopped and couldn't sing anymore.  I was very dry and nervious.  So they all said, "dont worry just take it slow." 

I was then asked to do "Yesterday" I was a little more comfortable with that one.  I sang it pretty well.  I then sang "Hey Jude" on the piano and I remember doing the ending just like the record.   All the scatt screams were really close to Paul's.

I remember being very excited and really wanting to be in the show.

How old were you when you were accepted into the show? 

I was about 20 years old when I auditioned.

We recently watched "The Making of Beatlemania" and noticed that you are all over that!  Were you in "BeatleSchool" at the time of the taping? 

When we filmed the making of Beatlemania I was already hired for the show. We were going though the motions as if we were auditioning.

What was your first experience on stage as Paul in front of an audience like?  Was it the first for your other band members as well? 
Tell us  that moment right before you hit that first note on IWHYH! 

My first show as Paul was in Los Angeles at the Subert Theater.  It was a beautiful Theater.  Very modern and lots of people around you all the time.  I was just a young kid from Tucson and had no idea what I was getting myself into. 
We did our sound check and I remember Rob Laufer saying to me right before the curtain went up.  Don't be nervous. Is just a show man.  Just a show.  It did calm me down but not enough.  I just remember hearing a loud "GO!" and 1,2,3.  For the first song and  from there it was just a blur.
It took me a long time before I was conformable doing Paul. It's not and easy gig.
even still to this day.

How many years were you with the show? 
I started in Beatlemania rehearsals in 1977 and I joined the live show in 1978. The show ran until approx. 1983.  After that it was finished. a total of about 5 years.

The show seemed very "PAUL SONG" heavy with no George songs at all.  What was the reason for this?  Was this hard on you as a performer?  It seemed as if the PAUL's had to carry pretty much the entire second act of the show. 

When I learned that it was mostly Paul songs I was OK with it. I liked singing and performing. I had nothing to do with the song selection. So i pretty much said OK. I found it fun.

Were there ever any accidents on stage say during costume changes? eg: trips and falls, etc. 
I never had an accident on stage. However when we were in Toronto playing the O'Keef Theater. We were there for about a month. I remember getting sick with the German measles. I passed out during the end of a show. Joey Curatolo had to finished my show.
It was the only time that ever happened. We were doing 14 shows a week in Toronto. 
Sold out every show.

If you had any, what was the most embarrassing moment on stage?  Power outage?  Flubbed lyrics?  Sneezes? etc. 

I have to say my most embarrassing moments. I remember in South Africa we had a very primitive crew. During one of the songs we would have the small Orchestra pull off the stage and then we would go into the song Michelle. Well. the crew pulled off the Orchestra so fast that it sounded like a train coming at you. It was so loud and silly looking we all started laughing. I had to sing Michelle at that moment. Wow was that hard.
Also during my first few shows I made a mistake of singing Penny Lane for a long time. I missed the Trumpet solo and kept singing the chorus for about 10 minutes. 
Over all not much after that.

What was your favorite part of the show?
My favorite part of any Beatles show including Beatlemania was the solo stuff. When I am put on the spot to have to do something on my own, like "Yesterday" or Currently the McCartney Medley. Its fun and challenging.

What was your least favorite? And WHY? 
I have to say there are some songs that are hard for me to listen to and at the same time they are fun to play. I have a hard time playing "All you Need Is Love". I find it a very boring song to play but I love to listen to it. On the other hand a song like "The Long and Winding Road" is fun to play and to listen to. 
Who did you enjoy working with the most? 
My favorite group of guys were my first band in Beatlemania, I will always have a special place in my heart for them. Sy, Jimmy, Bob. they will always be my friends forever, No matter what may happen in life. It was them that did it for me a got me to where I am now.

Where did you enjoy performing the most? (What city, country, theatre, etc.) 

My most memorable place was Chicago, the Blackstone Theater. We did 6 months there and had a great time. Another great run was London, at the Astoria Theater we did 6 months in London England.

Did you play vintage instruments and use vintage equipment for the show? 
All the guitars were provided to us by the Producers of Beatlemania. Leber and Krebs. All the guitars were the exact kind that the Beatles used.

If you were trapped on a desert island with only one instrument, which would it be?  Rumor has it you still perform with your
Beatlemania "Bunk 7" Hofner bass. 
I still use my Beatlemania Hofner. Yes, thats true. Its a great bass and I have never done anything to it but put strings on it. Behind the head of the bass it says Bunk 7.

We know that supposedly none of the original Beatles ever saw the show live, but some people from the Beatles camp (other than
attourneys)  did see it.  Do you recall who?    Any other famous folks catch the show while you were involved? 

When we were in England. London in fact. George Martin came to see us perform. He was a really nice man. He said to me that we were very good and very believable. If fact he's quote. "at times I drifted." He told me when he heard a song it would remind him of the time they recorded it and who did what on the song.
I asked him several questions regarding songs and he gave wonderful answers regarding who did what instruments and what not. Since the Beatlemania days there have been many celebrity that I have performed in front of. Neil Diamond, Mickey Dolenz. to many to mention.
Did you ever meet any of the Beatles? 
I came very close to meeting McCartney several times but never did.

Do you still perform with other alumni? 
I am currently working in two Beatles tribute bands. One "Twist and Shout" consists of Jim Owen, Tom Teeley and Carmine Grippo. Tom the only Beatlemania member. Wonderful musician.  and great to work with. And "Classical Mystery Tour" featuring a 48 piece orchestra. Also a great line up, Jim Owen, Tom Teeley, and Chris Camalarie. 

Having caught your CMT a couple of times, you really turn up the stakes on the show with the 70's WINGS tunes that you do. 
Beatle tributes are always a great time, but man, you really blow the roof off the house with the solo Macca songs!  And you really
get into it!  Is that your favorite part of your current show formats?? 

I have to say that yes I love doing the McCartney solo songs. Its a gas when they are done well. Doing the Classical Mystery Tour show is a fun show anyway. But when we hit that part of the show something happens and yes it's a time to hit the gas.
I have gotten wonderful complements on that part of the show and I am greatful.

All in all, looking back, how was the Beatlemania experience for you? 
My Beatlemania days were special cause I learned so much about theater and about performing. I learned all about the Beatles and what they did for the wourld of music.
I found out about myself and how to sing night after night. I also made lots of great life time friends.

You've had quite a busy POST Beatlemania music career as well.  Care to fill us in on the old resume a bit? 
After Beatlemania I join a show called "Stars on 45," the show was filmed for video in 1983,  It played in the Huntington Hartford Theater in Los Angeles for a few months and then, the show went to Las Vegas and the Dunes Hotel.  We ran there under the name "Dream Street. 
I  left Dream Street for a last Tour of Beatlemania in Canada and then joined the Show 'Legends in Concert."  I performed in that show for many years about 5 or so.  After Legends I did a solo McCartney show in Legends as well.  I really enjoyed it.   What a challenge that was. 
That lasted a few years.  I also joined a Classic recording group called 
Wishbone Ash.  I toured with them for about three years and recorded two albums with them.  I also recorded my own solo album for Mercury records. "Catch 22,"  the most current show I am doing now is in Germany, the show is called "All You Need Is Love".  There is some acting in this show.  It's very good and fun to do.  I have been doing the Germany show for the last three years.  Along with the show "Classical Mystery Tour."