The Living End's Chris Cheney, Grinspoon's Phil Jamieson, You Am I's Tim Rogers and singer songwriter Josh Pyke are together to perform The Beatles' greatest work.
Four of Australia's best ever male vocalists are hiting the road together, celebrating arguably the world's greatest album from the world's greatest band. This September, the quartet will be taking The Beatles White Album on the road, performing it from beginning to end to audiences across Australia.
The artists have a massive 22 ARIA Awards and a string of number one albums between them and the concert is a rare opportunity to celebrate four great Australian rock talents in one room.
Backed by a 17-piece rock orchestra including strings, horns, guitars and two drummers, the epic production is befitting the album which changed the path of rock music history on its release in 1968. The record spent sixteen weeks at #1 here in Australia and often tops greatest album lists the world over.
“I come from a three-piece band, that’s what I’ve done since high school, so it’s such a thrill to be on stage with so many people,” says Chris Cheney, The Living End’s singer and guitarist. “The great thing about The White Album Concert is it’s a big, powerful rock show. It’s incredible to be standing in front of that force.”
Chris, Phil, Josh and Tim stress that they’re not imitating John, Paul, George and Ringo. This is a celebration, not a tribute band.
“We’re bringing what we do in our own bands and our own careers to the show,” Cheney explains. “This is not us pretending to be The Beatles.” “We’re aware there are people who covet The Beatles’ records and their legacy so dearly."
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Tim Rogers, You Am I frontman and national treasure continues, “We want to pay respect to that, but almost tickle it a little bit, or prick it a little bit, because we’re not a tribute act and we have no desire to do that. So we want to reinterpret it but not be disrespectful. But then also thinking that rock ’n’ roll is about being disrespectful.”
“In a respectful way,” Josh Pyke adds. “None of us does the songs exactly the way The Beatles did them, because then it would be like a pastiche rather than a homage. It’s a completely different mindset to get into someone else’s songs and, like Tim said, show the songs the respect they deserve; not just cover a song but really put yourself into it.”
The tour will follow the album's classic flow, opening with Back In The USSR and making its way through timeless classics including Helter Skelter, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Blackbird, Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?, Glass Onion, Birthday and Revolution 1.
“It’s such a diverse record,” Josh says. “And it was kind of an experimental record for them at the time. It’s hard to sum it up and I think that’s the beauty of the record and why so many people love it. It is hard to put it in a box.”
“Musically and lyrically it’s iconoclastic,” Tim says, while Phil Jamieson dismisses any suggestions that it would have been better as a single record instead of a double album. “Far out, I love the body of work, it’s incredible! I don’t know how you could change it.”
The one thing the four singers will achieve that The Beatles never did was performing the seminal album live.
“That’s the other cool thing about this project,” Chris says. “You can’t go on YouTube and look up The Beatles playing anything off the White Album because they just didn’t.”
“When we first did it, we didn’t know what it would be, or how it would work,” Phil says. “It was an incredibly nerve-racking experience, because it’s a mammoth record and the material is so diverse. But we made it work. People really enjoyed it, and we got such a kick out of it."
The tour will kick off in Perth on September 7 before winding its way through Adelaide, Melbourne, Newcastle, Canberra, Brisbane and then two final shows at the Sydney Opera House. Tickets go on pre-sale from July 4 with general onsale from July 8 via www.whitealbumconcert.com.
The White Album Concert Live
Thursday 7 September Perth Convention Centre, Perth WA
Friday 8 September Festival Theatre, Adelaide SA
Saturday 9 September Hamer Hall, Melbourne VIC
Friday 15 September Civic Theatre, Newcastle NSW
Saturday 16 September Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra ACT
Thursday 21 September Brisbane Convention & Ent. Centre, Brisbane QLD
Friday 22nd September Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW
Saturday 23rd September Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW