As Beatles tributes go, the Weeklings and their self-titled first album is one very nice listen. Glen Burtnik, Lefty Weekling in the band (yes, they use the Traveling Wilburys-type of nicknames) and the group uses a distinctive Beatles-type sound with six of the group’s own original songs and six songs that will be familiar because they were songs the Beatles gave away. Burtnik, who is also known to Fest goers as a member of the house band Liverpool, was our guest on the current “Things We Said Today” show that yours truly cohosts with Al Sussman, Allan Kozinn and Ken Michaels and talked about how the band developed.
“It was an evolution. It was never a plan and it just kind of fell together slowly,” he said. “I do a show, a big production in a theater each year called the Beatles Bash. And we cover a number of Beatle records each year. And a year ago was the 50th anniversary of the first two Beatles album. So half of that show was those two albums. So instead of me playing the usual orchestra, choir, harp and all the other instruments that you get into in later Beatles work, the first half of the concert we focused on these two early albums which, for all intents and purposes, is arranged for four people. There’s just two guitars, bass and drums and three vocalists most of the time.
“So during that process, the three guys that I played in this show, we looked at each other and said, ‘This is fun.’ It was so much more fun now doing those four instruments instead of the big production, the big arrangement. And then somebody in the group got a call for a band to do a show at a library, at all places. So we got to make noise in a library. And we didn’t even have a name, but the audience acted very favorably. We had a blast. And we kind of fell into, ‘Well, maybe we should be a group.”
All 12 songs on the album have a sound that recalls 1965. And the Beatles songs – “If You’ve Got Trouble,” “That Means a Lot,” “You Know What To Do,” “One and One Is Two,” “I’m In Love,” and “It’s For You,” have arrangements that, in a couple of cases, put a charge in the songs that the original versions didn’t have. If the band is having fun, that fun rubs off on those who listen to the album. The album has been endorsed by none other than Rod Davis of the Quarrymen, who said about the album, “”Fantastic, aggressive pickin’ and singing with that unmistakable 60s sound.”
Lefty, Zeek, Rocky, and Rambling Dave will perform at this weekend’s Fest for Beatles Fans, but only on Sunday. Other guests at the Fest, which is taking place at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, New York, include former Wings guitarist Laurence Juber, Beatles Los Angeles concert promoter and game show host Bob Eubanks, musician and collaborator with George Harrison Gary Wright (“Dream Weaver”), Jeff Slate’s Birds of Paradox (with Laurence Juber and Mark Rivera) and Ringo Starr All-Starr Band member Mark Rivera, animator Ron Campbell, former Apple Records president Jack Oliver, record producer Russ Titleman, artist Eric Cash and authors Bruce Spizer, Candy Leonard, Vivek Tiwary, Jude Southerland Kessler, David Bedford, Chuck Gunderson, Judith Kristen, (“Things We Said Today co-host) Al Sussman, Anthony Robustelli and Robert Rodriguez. Tickets for the Fest are available on their website.