An interview with…Pete Best

As the original drummer for The Beatles, Pete Best was adored by hundreds of fans around the Liverpool and Hamburg music scene of the early 60’s.

Pete Best originally joined the band, consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe, in late 1960.

The young fledgling band played hundreds of gigs around their hometown of Liverpool, but their first break came when the secured a residency in a club in Hamburg, Germany.  However the hours were gruelling, and while the band were dabbling with uppers to keep them going, Pete refused to partake. This is where the cracks first appeared.

After returning from months of playing gigs in Germany, (and minus Stuart Sutcliffe) the band secured a residence at Liverpool’s Cavern Club. It was here that the Beatles soon-to-be manager, Brian Epstein, first saw them.

The group were quickly signed to Brains record label, but unfortunately for Pete, the other three wanted him out of the band.

There are many theories as to Pete’s dismissal from the band, ranging from him not adopting the same hairstyle as the rest of the group, to his drumming not being up to the bands high standards, to him receiving too much attention from the female members of the audience.

But the general consensus is that he didn’t gel with the band as well as another drummer going by the name of Ringo Starr. Ringo joined the band days after Pete was kicked out, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Although Pete had suffered a huge blow, he was soon back on his feet and he released a single with his new band Pete Best & the All Stars. He then relocated to America and recorded with a small record label, ultimately having little success.

Pete shied away from music for many years, but in 1988 he accepted a request to play at a concert. From that concert The Pete Best Band was formed. He has been playing with the band ever since, embracing the music and enjoying playing in front of live audiences once again.

Pete was happy to answer some questions over email:

What are your best memories of being in the Beatles?

Happy, Exciting, adventurous times!

Was the story about you and Paul setting fire to the condom true…and if so were you involved?

We had to move our belongings from the Bambi Kino Cinema to the Top Ten Club. Neither Paul nor I could see in our dungeon like rooms because they had no lights. We stuck condoms to the wall and lit them so we could pack our belongings.

What was working in Germany like back in the early 60’s and how did you cope?

Working in Germany was very tough to begin with. We weren’t prepared for the long hours, playing 8 to 10 hours a night, but we were young and soon learned how to cope.

How did you feel and cope when you were fired from the Beatles?

It was an unexpected Bombshell. I was very upset, but life goes on and so did I.

What did you think of The Beatles new drummer, Ringo Starr?

I knew Ringo from Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. He was a competent drummer.

Did you ever hear from John, Paul or George once they made it big?

No.

What inspired you to form ‘the Pete Best Band’?

I did a one off gig for posterity and was offered a tour and a one off group became a permanent fixture.

Do you still enjoy performing live today?

I love it.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to make it in the music business?

Be prepared to take the knocks. It’s never plain sailing, but perseverance can and sometimes does pay.

Do you have any final comments?

Yes, everyday is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.

 Thanks, Pete.

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