Tales from Timnath: Just Like The Beatles

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Phil Goldstein | North Forty News

On January 30, 1969, the Beatles gave what was to be their final live performance as a full group, not on a concert stage, but on the rooftop of their record label’s headquarters in London. The group decided on the performance only days earlier, and there was no advance notice given to the lunchtime public. Thousands of people quickly gathered excitedly in the streets when they heard what was happening five stories above, problematically blocking traffic and access to businesses. When the Beatles finished playing—as is clearly heard on the recording of this unique event—John Lennon humorously said, “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we’ve passed the audition.”

I play in a band called GreyRoc. Like the Beatles, we have four musicians—three guitarists and yours truly on drums. I had wanted to learn and play the drums in a band since I was ten years old, finally fulfilling that ambition six years ago when I started lessons, and I recently exchanged my starter drum kit for a professional kit. I started out playing with some friends here in the neighborhood who had a basement band. Then, when they moved away I was recruited into my present group, all guys about my age. We play a mix of genres, but mostly classic rock and blues. I set up a studio in an unused room in our basement, where we practice regularly, and we sometimes perform out of my garage for whomever shows up to listen. 

Seeking to replicate that Beatles open-air event 53 years later, our band decided impromptu one day in early fall to perform our 20-song repertoire on my back patio. And just as the London Metropolitan Police arrived at some point seeking to shut down the Beatles’ event, so did our parade get rained on, but in the form of an admonishing email from the homeowners association. It arrived after we had finished our set to wild applause from the many gathered friends and neighbors and as we were breaking down our gear. The communication cited our violation of the development’s rules about ‘disturbing noises’. Apparently, we had offended someone by playing outdoors in the middle of that fine fall day. However, I cannot fault whomever complained as I freely acknowledge that the amateurish efforts on Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally” of four septuagenarians reliving their rock and roller-envy youths definitely qualified as ‘disturbing noises’.

Regardless of whether it was an aural or artistic offense which prompted the aforementioned missive—or perhaps it was because we had not invited all the neighbors to what turned out to be a raucous, hotel room-wrecking post-concert party—I and my bandmates acknowledge for North Forty News and the world (but not a certain neighborhood spoilsport) our insensitive self-aggrandizement. So just like the Beatles, this was a one-off, albeit a memorable one, and we subsequently returned our garage band to my garage, from where past performances occurred unchastised. We also sent the offended party a complimentary copy of our band’s new CD, “Rockin’ on Rogaine.” 

Meanwhile, besides having a swell old time playing for my friends and neighbors that day, further good came out of our callous flaunting of the rules with two subsequent gig bookings, no doubt a result of our now-outlaw musician status. And with our newfound notoriety, we are currently negotiating with professional management to handle what will surely be many such future engagements. We are also putting legal counsel on retainer, should that be needed because of future musical performance and/or hotel room-destroying malfeasance on our part.

So, although we ran afoul of the rules, we apparently passed the audition. And as the public relations folks in the entertainment business will tell you, any publicity is valuable publicity. Rock on, just not in my backyard ever again. Oh, and GreyRoc is available for your parties, bar mitzvahs or baby showers.

Phil Goldstein writes Tales from Timnath periodically for North Forty News. Phil is a 12-year Timnath resident who proudly serves the Town of Timnath as chair of the Timnath Planning Commission. Phil is finally using his journalism degree after getting sidetracked 49 years ago. The views expressed herein are Phil’s only. Contact him with comments on the column or suggestions for future columns at NFNTimnath@gmail.com.