Share a cuppa with… Pete Best & Roag Aspinall Best
By Jane Quinn
Share a Cuppa Tea with Pete Best and Roag Aspinall Best.
The Best Brothers discuss things like Lester Pigott, Museums, and Smiles.
NOT MANY people can say they used to be a Beatle. Pete Best is one who actually was an original Beatle during the formative years, the Hamburg years, the black leather years, the up, up and away years of 1960 -1962.
Yes, Pete Best has been in music since he was 15 years old, working as a drummer, songwriter, promoter, manager, and author. He tells me he has not, however, ever been a nudist or a Beano reader.
Pete was 19 when younger brother Roag Aspinall Best was born into this extraordinary family history.
It includes not only brother Pete and father Neil Aspinall (Beatle roadie, pal, and Apple CEO) but also Roag’s celebrity daughter Leanne Best who has many TV and movie credits to her name, including a role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Today the brothers have joined The Force to develop the most comprehensive Beatles museum ever. The Magical History Museum takes up five floors of a disused Victorian warehouse at 23 Mathew Street, Liverpool. It tells the history of The Beatles’ through 300 items from their personal collections.
Let us adjourn to the tea party, where I am ready to chat with the Best Brothers ever. Sugar anyone?
1. Pete, rugby or football?
Rugby. Played it at school. Captained the school team. Played for England at school level. I love the game.
2. What connection do you have with Lester Piggott, circa 1957?
The connection to Lester Piggott is through my mother Mona or Mo as she was called. Mo was so desperate to buy 8 Haymans Green, our family home, that she pawned all her jewellery raising money to place a bet on a horse called ‘Never Say Die’ ridden by a young jockey named Lester Piggott in the 1954 English Derby. The horse won. She got her jewellery back and bought the house.
3. Tell me about your grandfather’s war medals and Sgt Pepper.
ROAG: John Lennon would often ask mother Mo if he could see the family medals. We had been a military family for years, not anymore I might add. Mo would sit explaining who won what and why it had been awarded. John obviously remembered the collection, and when it came to Sgt Pepper, he sent word through Neil for the box of medals to be taken to London on loan. They were, and subsequently John wore grandfather’s medals on the Sgt Pepper album. He did return them all by the way.
4. How did the Pete/Roag gig at the Adelphi Hotel come about in 1988?
PETE: I was constantly being asked to perform again, and I always had no interest. So the promoters went through the back door per se and approached my mother Mo asking her if she could persuade me. She did by saying she would love to see her eldest and youngest performing on stage together. She got her wish.
5. Pete, acting or music?
Music is my first love. Though having only recently performed as an actor in a play called ‘Lennon’s Banjo’, I must admit I enjoyed it.
6. If you could have invited anyone, living or not, to our wee tea party who would it have been?
ROAG: That’s easy. My mother Mo.
7. Casbah or Cavern?
PETE: Casbah, because everything originated from there. The Cavern followed on.
8. What makes you happy?
ROAG: Seeing smiles on my families’ faces.
9. What’s new?
PETE: Well, we have just opened a Beatles Museum on Mathew Street. My brother Roag was the driving force here. He’s the collector and has built up a very impressive Beatles memorabilia collection and wanted to show it. So a building was bought, and we opened the Magical History Museum. What he has done is very impressive. Proud of him.
10. Roag, Vincent or Roag?
Roag. However, I will, and do sometimes, answer to Vincent. Then again, I have been called many things that I do sometimes answer too.
11. Pete and Roag, a huge portrait of your Mum Mona quite rightly kicks off your Magical History Museum. Do you think she would have had a favourite exhibit?
PETE: We think the Casbah sign or maybe the drum kits or possibly the medals. One of those?
12. Can you sum up Mona in a single word?
13. Roag, your Dad Neil carried the Beatles guitars through the whole of their touring years. Did they ever teach him to play?
My dad attempted to play guitar on numerous occasions. It wasn’t good.
14. Neil worked for years on ‘The Long and Winding Road’ project that eventually became the Beatles Anthology. What would he have made of your museum?
ROAG: I think my dad would have loved it, and if he was still with us, I would love to have heard his input because I know it would blow my mind. His ideas were always off the chart.
Jane Quinn – www.mightyquinnmanagement.com