Gary James' Interview With Marty Scott Of
Marty Scott is considered to be the very best George Harrison tribute artist by someone who should know: Louise Harrison. That's right, the sister of George Harrison.
Liverpool Legends has taken their act all over the world. Marty Scott talked with us about the act, Louise Harrison and The Beatles.
Q - Marty, you've got a steady job in Branson, Missouri?
A - Yeah. Pretty much since we offered some shows in Branson and it turned into a full-time show here for several years. We got some investors. We've got a theatre. Then we decided we wanted to be a little bit on the road. Now in the last few years we've been here just part of the year and we're traveling more. We just got back from Israel. We're doing international stuff and national stuff. This year we're just in Branson for the summer at the Andy Williams Theater.
Andy Williams passed away this last year. It's literally like the nicest theater in town. So, his family made us an offer and we're there for the summer now. It's about a three month gig.
Q - You perform how many shows a day there?
A - Just one show a day. We do like five shows a week.
Q - Do you have the weekends off to travel?
A - No. I wish it was that easy. We play Tuesday through Saturday here, because the weekends are pretty big here. But we're here through halfway of August and then we start touring again.
Q - Did you know a lot about the Beatles before you started playing George Harrison?
A - I knew a bit, but I tell you what, I learned so much from fans. There's a lot of hard-core Beatle people that over the years I've learned a lot from. They know more than us. (Laughs). I've been around it now for quite some time, so I can't help but learn things. I've acquired quite a Beatles collection just from people giving me stuff all these years. (Laughs). I've been doing this since maybe 2000 or so.
Q - Do you understand how big the Beatles were in their time?
A - Yeah. I'm a student of it obviously. It's funny because when people ask me that and I try to explain that to people; we do a lot of workshops with kids where we are going into high schools and performing with the bands and choirs and orchestras from the schools and trying to raise some money and awareness for the music department. So we give them a little talk and I'm always trying to explain that to the kids. It was so major there's nothing even to compare that to. The only thing I can think of is maybe how the Internet changed the world. That major. That's what the Beatles were. So, yeah I get that 100%. The really good view of that is it's 50 years later and look what we are doing! We're a bunch of guys traveling the world, making a career of it.
Q - You have to wonder if 50 years from today there will still be Beatles tribute acts of there.
A - Oh, it has to be. There's little kid tribute groups all over the place that are popping up. I know I've sort of brought one up and since they were eight years old, these kids from Chicago called Stockwood. Now they're 17, in college and they're still doing it and they're really good. There's a lot of little groups like that. The Beatles are just as popular now as ever. They're really smart in what they did. The Beatles Rock Band resurrected it. Every year it just gets bigger and bigger really. It's not going down, it's just going up. No other act has transformed down like that. The Beatles are still cool. There's nothing to even compare that to the way... That's why our show is so successful in Branson. We are the only show an eight-year-old can agree with his great-grandparents (with). You are not supposed to like your grandparents music and it's the magic of the Beatles. We're just lucky enough to do them well. I call it the Eighth Wonder Of The World. It's like that.
Q - How did you guys all meet?
A - Well, me and the fellow who plays John grew up together. We've been playing in bands since we were kids and we always sort of did the Beatles, but not like as a tribute. We always loved the Beatles and played a lot of Beatles songs, but we played a lot of Stones songs too. Somehow, we fell into a little group in Chicago and it wasn't like a big show or anything, but it turned into one really quick. The next thing you know we're like flying to Japan. It just snowballed really fast and then we wanted to do something really good and step it up to another level and we hooked up with Louise (Harrison) and just started to try to put together a show that was something special and we did and formed Liverpool Legends and here we are! (Laughs). We're still working at it every day.
Q - You've always work as a musician then?
A - Yeah.
Q - You've never worked a straight job?
A - Well, I used to be a trader in the trading pit. It's kind of an opposite thing for me. I did that for a while, but I was still playing in bands at the time. For me, it was a funny thing because I was always a drummer. So I had to make a big choice when it came to trying to be George. (Laughs). And I've been working at it since 2000. We still work at. We still try to get it right, try to be as close as you can to what it might be like to see a Beatle concert and we have a good time. It's really a fun thing to do.
Q - Where did you work as a trader?
A - I worked at the Chicago Board Of Trade. I literally left there to do George. (Laughs). It's a good thing I did because right after that it kind of went all electronic and the trading floor is pretty much not what it used to be. My job doesn't really exist anymore, which is kind of funny.
Q - You have the backing of Louise Harrison.
A - Yeah. She helped me put the show together. I met her right after George died.
Q - How did you meet her?
A - I was performing at a Beatles convention in Chicago. It was a three day event. She was the guest speaker. For me it was pretty freaky because I'm playing George in this little show. I heard she was going to be there and I thought "I hope I don't suck." (Laughs). But I met her and we hit it off. Lou is pretty emotional and thought we met for a reason. We just sort of never stopped being close from that weekend. Literally a week later she brought me to meet Paul McCartney. It was the freakiest thing. Back then I was still pretty freaked out to be with her. How much cooler could it be? I'm doing George and then I'm drinking wine with his sister and hanging out. The next week I'm on a couch between her and Paul going "Man, this is crazy!" It was just kind of right place, right time. She moved to Branson. She's with us. She help me do this show here. She comes out during intermissions and takes questions from the audience. She's a big part of everything we do.
Q - I interviewed
Louise Harrison and I came away from the interview with the feeling that after The Beatles became so popular, she was cut off from George.
A - Well, she lived in America and was 11 years older. She was already gone by the time the guys went to Hamburg and started to get popular. She was around. She was at the Ed Sullivan show. She was on the set of Help! She was with George when he was doing the Bangladesh stuff and recording some of his albums in England. She was around, but it wasn't like the inner circle of his life, probably just like I would be with my sister. What she did do, and honestly it never gets talked about, before they were famous here in the U.S., Brian (Epstein) was sending her letters saying "Hey, I'm having a problem getting anything going in the U.S. Any help that you could bring would be great." She's got these wonderful letters and nobody ever talks about it. She was going around getting rejected by all these radio stations. She's got the coolest stuff. It's amazing. Literally these Program Directors are going, "Thank you very much. We're not really interested in your brother's band right now." It was right before The Beatles had a hit with "From Me To You". It was a minor hit here in the U.S. for Del Shannon. She was going around saying, "Hey, my brother's group wrote that song. Why don't you play that version?" They would be like, "No thanks ma'am. We prefer Del Shannon." She had her place and it really never gets talked about.
Q - Does Louise Harrison serve as your unofficial manager?
A - Not even. She's just one of us. She wants to be a part of something good and she knows we are doing some good for the world. We are promoting musical education in high schools, which she loves. She just wants to be a part of something. We're just doing what we do like everybody else and try to make a living and do some good for the world.
Q - When Louise introduced you to Paul McCartney, where did that take place and what did you say to Paul McCartney?
A - It was in Chicago. I would've been happy with a picture and an autograph for my buddy and that would have been fine, but instead he was like, "Why don't we sit down?" It was 45 minutes on the couch. It was right after George died. Out of respect to Paul, he was pretty darn cool. He probably wouldn't have given her that much time if it wouldn't have been that time, but they were both kind of shaking their heads. It was right after George died.
Q - Did he know you played George in a Beatles tribute act?
A - He didn't know I was going to be there. Lou just brought me in and said I got a real good introduction. He was totally cool. This was 2000 or 2001. He wasn't touring all that much at the time. He was great. He was asking questions, talking about he was nervous remembering words. We sang for five seconds together, kind of by accident. His manager kept coming back, "Hey Paul! We got a wrap it up." He S kept sending his manager away. He was being cool to Lou really. We saw him one more time after that. But that time was magical. It was just right place, right time. He was super cool and super cool to her. He was normal and down to earth. He was great. And you gotta remember, at the time I was still freaking out that I was with her!
Q - Where do you think this Beatles tribute experience will lead you to?
A - I don't know. We're just having fun. If we can make people happy and somehow survive ourselves, then that's all. We don't say we're the best. We just say we put on the best show we can. I think we do a pretty good job and everybody leaves our show having the greatest time. We're just trying to do a good show and have some fun. We'll probably do it as long as we can do it. As long as we are healthy, we'll do it. Knock on wood. (Laughs).