Will Lee certainly doesn't have to run around the country playing Beatles music. His "day job" in the "Late Show with David Letterman Band" keeps him plenty busy, as does session demand that's put him on an estimated 1,700 albums.
But the Fab Faux, which he formed in 1998 with "Conan" bandleader Jimmy Vivino lets the bassist play songs that are part of his musical DNA.
"When the Beatles hit the Ed Sullivan show back in February 1964, I was a kid growing up in a small town in Texas," Lee, 59, relates. "Their album had already had a major impact on me, 'cause I knew this was something so out of the ordinary, musically, that I couldn't get enough of it.
"And when I finally got a chance to see it in front of screaming girls, it impacted that 11-year-old in a way nothing else had ever quite felt like before. As soon as the credits started to roll at the end of the show, I went back and started to play the drum kit that I'd had for a few years and had never played before. I never knew what to do, but Ringo (Starr) had just shown me what to do."
The Fab Faux is hardly the only group on the road playing Beatles' music, of course. But Lee thinks his band's ability to play entire albums -- including "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" this weekend in Ann Arbor -- and dive deep into the Beatles' catalog distinguishes it from the others.
"I think, for my money, a lot of the (tribute) bands focus on trying to recreate the moment that (the Beatles) were on the Ed Sullivan show," Lee explains. "But I think because of that, people don't get a chance to appreciate the depth of what the Beatles did.
"A lot of people come up to me at shows and will say, 'I never really liked the Beatles' music, but I love what you guys do. That lets me know that they really haven't heard a lot of the deeper cuts and a lot of the cool stuff, so we really try to make that a big part of what we do."
The Fab Faux performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $29.50-$86. Call 734-668-8463 or visit www.michtheater.org.
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