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Interview:
"Conan" bandleader Jimmy Vivino comes to town to play the Beatles -- and the blues
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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After along week of doing "Conan" shows remotely from Dallas, in conjunction with the NCAA Final Four, you'd think Basic Cable Band leader Jimmy Vivino would want to head to one of his homes in Los Angeles or New York for a quiet weekend.

Instead he'll be making noise in Michigan.

Vivino, 59, stops first in Ferndale on Friday to guest with Ann Arbor guitarist and bandleader Laith Al-Saadi after playing on his "Real" album last year. The following night he'll join up with the Fab Faux, the Beatles tribute group he leads with "The Late Show with David Letterman" bassist Will Lee, in Ann Arbor to track the group's "Revolver" album in its entirety.

Vivino is particularly excited to work again with Al-Saadi, who he met at a Guitar Center King of the Blues competition a couple of years ago. "Laith was an interesting player, and I loved what he was doing," Vivino says. "I don't usually find that interesting a player anymore. I've seen all the old guys come and go, my favorites. Mike Bloomfield. I still love Johnny Winter, Jeff Beck...and it's refreshing to see what I call a young kid -- he's a young kid to me -- who can play like that.

"He's a fearless player, man, and a really good songwriter, which you don't find with guitar geniuses, in my experience. And he's a great singer, too, which is another thing. He's a very rare kind of talent, a great find."

Vivino predicts a "very jam band kind of experience" with Al-Saadi, while the Fab Faux show will be more tight and polished -- something that Vivino, Lee and their cohorts have become quite skilled during the 15 years they've been digging into the Beatles' catalog.

"We just keep going, man, and people still want to come and see the music," he says. "The band's not there, but the music seems to outlive it and just goes on. The music is out there, and if you play it with love and respect overall, people will come.

"So we keep trying to find interesting shows, whether it's doing a whole album or doing, like, all of the TV appearances. It's great music, and so timeless. None of it sounds dated, so I don't think we'll ever get tired of playing it, I really don't."

Laith Al-Saadi, with special guest Jimmy Vivino, performs Friday, April 4, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com. Vivino and the Fab Faux will perform "Revolver" and other Beatles classics at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at the Michigan Theater, 603. E. Liberty St, Ann Arbor. Tickets are $29.50-$65. Call (734) 668-8463 or visit www.michtheater.org

Web Site: www.michtheater.org

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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