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Fab Faux

by Kathryn Boughton

In their youth, The Beatles famously asked, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?” The two remaining band members are well past 64 now, but their music is still feeding younger musicians everywhere.

Jimmy Vivino, currently a member of the Beatle cover group, the Fab Faux, and music director on the late night show Conan, finds new depths to the music constantly. “I’ve been listening to their music since 1964 when I was 9 years old,” he said. A Hard Day’s Night has been around for 52 years. The music’s lasting power is constantly opening doors.”

Vivino, a musician all his life who has worked with Conan O’Brien since the first episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 1993, found a door opened for him when he got to perform The Beatles’ music as a member of the Fab Faux, slated to appear at the Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington on July 30 at 8PM.

“It’s such a great project,” he said. “I’ve been playing Beatles music 18 years and I’m still at the point of discovery. We find new things in it constantly.”

Vivino said the Fab Faux grew out of banter he and founder Will Lee had while riding an elevator in their apartment building. “Will and I had separate shows in New York City but we lived in the same building,” Vivino recalled. “As we got off the elevator we would ask, ‘So, when are we starting that Beatles band?’ It was like, ‘Oh get out of here!’

But eventually, Lee, a Grammy-winning bassist best known for more than two decades on The Late Show with David Letterman, took the initiative, bringing together Vivino, himself and three others—drummer and vocalist Rich Pagano, multi-instrumentalist Jack Petruzzelli and music industry pro and performer, Frank Angelo.

“We got into it and worked on ‘Because’ for an hour and it sounded pretty good. We realized if we could start with ‘Because,’ we could do anything. We walked out of there, going ‘Hmmm … ,’’ Vivino said.

Some basic decisions were made: they would not assign specific Beatles to a given player and they would not wear wigs and Beatles’ clothing. “We are not so much into wigs and suits and fake noses,” Vivino said. “If you go to the Philharmonic to hear Mozart, the players are not all sitting there in powdered wigs. We’re all of them at all times—that’s what makes us different. The X factor is the audience. They know the music so well, they fill in information.”

So perfect is their interpretation of the Beatles’ repertoire, Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke called them "the greatest Beatles cover band."

While the remaining Beatles have never commented directly on the Fab Faux, Vivino said there has been support from that world for their efforts. “Will has worked with George and Paul and I’ve met Ringo numerous times,” he said. “We’ve had support from George’s family as well as from Yoko Ono on John’s music. They know us to be serious musicians. We are not making a joke or doing Beatlemania.”

Tickets for the Mahaiwe Theater show range in price from $30 to $90. Please click on the link below or call the box office at 413-528-0100.