Interview with Ardy Sarraf performs as Paul McCartney in the Fab Four
Beatlemania is coming to Jacksonville! Presented in partnership with Emporium Presents, the Fab Four takes audiences on a magical mystery ride through the years Nov. 22 at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall (www.pvconcerthall.com).
Billed as the ultimate Beatles tribute band, the Fab Four performs uncanny, note-for-note renditions of Beatles classics such as “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in The Life,” “Twist and Shout” and “Here Comes the Sun.” The incredible stage performance includes three costume changes from the early, clean-cut years to the psychedelic period throughout The Beatles evolving career.
“We give them an hour and a half going from “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Love Me Do” all the way to “Revolution” and “Hey Jude” so we take audiences through the spectrum,” says Ardy Sarraf who performs as Paul McCartney. “We do three or four different costume changes during the show. It’s amazing how many younger kids are at shows. Sometimes there are three or four different generations at a show. It’s pretty amazing the reach that The Beatles have.”
To embody a living legend goes beyond just getting into character. Paying tribute to the most recognizable band in history requires precise attention to detail. It’s important to look the part but to be convincing the musicians must sound the part.
“Naturally, I think vocally I’ve always had his voice in terms of sounding like him but it took me about six months to train myself how to play like Paul. Growing up as a kid, I always listened to the Beatles and the way they sung and it was just a natural thing for me,” he recalls. “Even as a young teenager, playing with friends, they knew I was a Beatles fan and they said you kind of look like him and you sound like him. It naturally pushed me towards forming the Fab Four in the late 90’s. Everybody knows the music of the Beatles and if you don’t sound right then you’re not doing it right.”
For Sarraf, who is a founding member of the Fab Four, being Paul McCartney is serious business. He grew up a huge fan of the Beatles and performed in a number of cover bands before meeting founder and former Lennon Ron McNeil, who remains president of Fab Four Corp.
Stepping into McCartney’s shoes meant relearning to play the guitar left-handed. Each member is an acclaimed musician able to recreate the music note for note. There are no background tracks or vocal overdubs. The four-piece, including Saraff as McCartney, Joseph Bologna as Ringo, Gavin Pring as George Harrison and Adam Hastings who bears an uncanny likeness to John Lennon, is singing and playing everything live on stage. The show is emceed by Jeff DeHart as Ed Sullivan,
“We’re all musicians who love playing music. In some ways, it’s no different than a classically trained musician playing Beethoven every night. We’re playing classics, too. The only difference is we’re trying to embody the personas on stage,” Saraff says. “We try not to call ourselves John, Paul, George and Ringo. There’s a fine line but obviously people get the idea who we are supposed to be. I never thought I could go up on stage and pretend to be somebody else until I realized if it’s a good band, if we’re approaching it the right way, it could be something really great.”
Now 20 years later, the Fab Four has entertained audiences around the world, including Japan, Australia, France, Hong Kong, The United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico and Brazil. It won an Emmy Award for the PBS Special. The lineup has evolved throughout the years but the core is still the same; to share the nostalgia of The Beatles as close to the real thing as possible.
“I think our record and history speaks for itself. We’re definitely one of the top bands that have ever done it. We really have the greatest jobs ever to be able to sing and play the music that we love,” muses Saraff. “The records are always going to be timeless. In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. That kind of sums up what The Beatles were all about. There will never be a band like them.”