Beatles fans rejoice! Andy Babiuk, the pre-eminient expert on equipment used by The Beatles, is releasing a new book about the Fab Four.
Beatles Gear: All the Fab Four’s Instruments from Stage to StudioÂ is the most detailed account of the band and the equipment they used, on-stage and in the studio. The landmark book documents how the Beatles achieved their sound inÂ an easy-to-read narrative, fully illustrated with many previously unseen photographs, a cache of rare memorabilia, and a unique collection of specially photographed instruments used by the Beatles.
Gbase sat down with the author, musician, producer, founding member of the Chesterfield Kings and boutique guitar shop owner to talk about the book, the Beatles and his own band.
The Ultimate Edition of Beatles Gear will be released at the beginning of December. What’s different about this edition?
The book will be released on December 1st 2015. It is a totally new book with over 650 additional photos (many never before published) and over 50,000 additional words with tons of new untold stories.
What first got you interested in putting together a guide like this?
Iâ€™ve always loved the sounds on the Beatles and Stones records. I tried to emulate it on my own records I did with my band The Chesterfield Kings. I studied the guitar and amps that the Beatles used and went out and bought them to use in my band. This was in the late 70â€™s early 80â€™s. Iâ€™ve worked selling guitars since the early 80â€™s and a friend of mine that I worked with said one day, â€˜Man with all that stuff you know about the Beatles equipment you should buy a case of beer and lock yourself in your house and write down everything you know about it and I bet youâ€™d have a book.â€ So I thought, â€˜Thatâ€™s not a bad idea!â€™. Six years of researching and writing later, I still owe that guy a punch in the arm!
What’s your favorite piece of gear in the book?
Well I really love them all for different reasons, but if Iâ€™d have to pick it would be McCartneyâ€™s Hofner bass, Lennonâ€™s Rickenbacker 325 and Harrisonâ€™s Rickenbacker first 360/12.
Why is there still so much interest in what the Fab Four played? Do you think it’s as popular as ever?
The Beatles changed popular music as we know it, but really that changed popular culture, which affected so many people worldwide. Their music will live on and be studied years from now like they do with Classical music.
An acoustic guitar owned by John Lennon just sold for over 2 million dollars. Do you think any other piece of gear will sell for more?
Ringo will be selling his first Beatle Ludwig Downbeat kit in the beginning of December for a charity. It will be interesting to see what it sells for. It was used on lots of recordings, live shows and TV appearances. Should be interesting!
Thatâ€™s had to say as I only stock things that I personally like. I have lots of old vintage stuff as well as new gear like Rickenbacker, Gretsch, Fender, Martin, Marshall, Vox, and tons more. I wonâ€™t sell anything that I wouldn’t personally own, so I guess I like it all!
Writing historically correct books takes a lot out of you. At the moment Iâ€™m a little â€˜booked â€“ outâ€™ if you know what I mean, so I think Iâ€™ll take a break and play with my band The Empty Hearts and run my shop Fab Gear and hang out with my wife and kids.
What’s on the horizon for The Empty Hearts?
The Empty Hearts is a band that Iâ€™m very proud of which features Elliot Easton from The Cars on lead guitar, Clem Burke from Blondie on drums and Wally Palmar from The Romantics on lead vocal, rhythm guitar and harmonica, I play bass. We will be playing in Europe at the end of November with our first show in London on November 25th. Weâ€™ll probably be recording another new album in 2016.