Sixties sounds inspired by family
A young band used family inspiration to revive the sounds of the 60s.
The Tyneside band celebrates 60s music but the members were born in the 80s. Now a professional 60s tribute band, The Moonbeats, are four Tyneside based musicians in their late 20s and early 30s.
Inspiration from their parents and a love of the music of the time is the band’s driving force and the band celebrates the swinging sixties with performances across Tyneside, Yorkshire and Cumbria later this year.
The Moonbeats were first formed in the late 90s by Paul McGuire, Chris Quinn and John Hopkinson while they were at Seaton Burn High School in North Tyneside. Originally called The Moonstones, the lads drew on their shared love of 60s music as the inspiration for their sets. The band played gigs at their local clubs, which have all now disappeared, unlike the music which lives on through their sell out gigs.
The band has expanded to include South Shields musician Daniel Rutter, making a “fab four” piece with each member a self-taught musician, and having their own story of how and why the music of the 60s became so special to them.
Paul McGuire, who plays bass guitar in the band, said: “Being a late life surprise to my parents, with about 15 years difference between me and my middle sibling, my parents were of the 60s generation. My Mam was a mod and my Dad was a rocker.”
“I was brought up listening to 60s music and hearing stories about the decade which was supposed to be about peace and love, but was actually more about coal mines, struggling to bring up children and hardship.
“But there were some musical gems hidden in there too and I loved to hear stories about my Dad going to see bands like The Alan Price Combo and The Bonzo Doo Dah Band. My parents’ stories always struck a chord with me and I’ve loved the music ever since.
“When my Dad was in hospital a few years ago, he was in the next bed to a man from Whitley Bay, called James “Tappy” Wright who told me tales about when he used to be a roadie for Jimmy Hendrix, The Animals and Slade – he’d toured with them all over the world and I became hooked on his stories. Sadly, Tappy has passed on but he will always be an inspiration to me.”
When Kris Quinn met up with the other band members, it soon became apparent that he was a kindred spirit.
Kris said: “My Dad was an old-school rocker at heart who got signed in a band and almost hit the big time back in the day. I always wanted to follow in his footsteps and live the dream.”
“He supported bands like Credence Clearwater Revival and played with Nazareth and Thin Lizzie. He later became their manager and drove them all over the country.
“We lost Dad a few years ago, but he was the reason I fell in love with music, and he remains the reason I am so determined to make something of myself in the business.”
John Hopkinson, fellow founder of the band, piano player and lead vocalist, said: “I came along when my parents were in their 40s, but they’d been married since the late 1960s. I grew up listening to the music from their youth.”
“I remember the fascination with digging out their old records and listening to their Beatles albums. That kind of introduction to music from a young age makes a lasting impression.
“By the time I was a young teenager, John Lennon was very much my muse and I used to buy his solo albums on CD to the bewilderment of my mates. My aunt was a big influence too.”
“She was much more into music than my parents and she used to play 60s music all the time, and talk about going to see Gene Pitney, Bobby Vee, Neil Sedaka, Billy Fury and so on. There is something for everyone in music from the 60s, and that is why, as a younger person, I believe it stands the test of time.
“The music of the decade was the soundtrack to a cultural revolution for the youth and I think that will continue to resonate with each new generation as it transcends into myth and legend.”
Unlike the other three in the band, from Whiteleas, South Shields, Daniel Rutter’s dad had a totally different taste in music.
“My dad is a punk and hated 60s music simply because his dad liked it, so it’s skipped a generation and landed with me. The songs are catchy and timeless, which is why they are still enjoyed to this day all over the world.
“It’s an amazing feeling playing these songs live and seeing so many people reminiscing and enjoying themselves,” he said.
The Moonbeats 60s revival shows can be seen later this Autumn and feature songs by The Beatles, Gerry and The Pacemakers, The Kinks, The Who, The Hollies, The Searchers, Herman’s Hermits, and many more bands from the era:
OCT 6 YMCA Theatre
Scarborough 01723 506750
OCT 20 Harraby Community Theatre Carlisle 01228 537831.