Gary James' Interview With Aaron Glaser Of
Yellow Dubmarine

They're not just a Beatles tribute band, they're a Beatles tribute band that performs Beatles songs in the Reggae format. That's right, Reggae. We spoke with bassist Aaron Glaser about his band.

Q - Did you realize that the last TV interview John Lennon gave to Tom Snyder, he remarked that he was listening to Reggae. Did you know that?

A - That's cool. I'll have to look that up on YouTube.

Q - What's the significance of the group's name, Dubmarine?

A - Well, Dubmarine is obviously a play on Submarine and Dub is a kind of Reggae music. It's like a sub-genre of Reggae.

Q - I guess I'm not up on my Reggae.

A - It's like a slow, heavy Reggae. Reggae would be considered kind of mid-tempo and then you have Ska, which is a beat.

Q - Do you perform all over the U.S.?

A - We have plans to go out west. We're D.C. based, but we're staying. So far we've been on the East Coast all the way north to Syracuse and Saratoga Springs. We've been as far south as Miami. Heading out west, we've been to Cleveland. We have shows booked in Texas already, but we're really just getting started in terms of serious touring. We're very excited about it.

Q - How many gigs would you say you perform in a year?

A - That's hard to answer. We started working with New Frontier Booking Agency this summer (2011). Since that happened, the amount of gigs has definitely increased. I'd say maybe like 100.

Q - That's pretty cool.

A - Yeah, well eventually, over next year. We didn't have that many this past year.

Q - You have eight members in this group?

A - Yes.

Q - How do you guys make any money with that many members?

A - Yeah, well, that is a tough thing. We all have other forms of income. I'm a substitute teacher, a guitar teachers. Those are flexible jobs. Most of the other guys have jobs like what I do. So right now all of our income is put right back into the band. We're dying to grow and hopefully recoup financial rewards someday. Right now we're just really trying to expand the band.

Q - What do you teach as a substitute teacher?

A - I teach everything from Kindergarten to chemistry. (laughs) I actually have a background in special education. I have a masters degree in special education. Obviously since I'm working on Yellow Dubmarine, I don't want a full-time teaching job right now. So, substitute teaching has been a really fun job to do instead.

Q - Were you in another band before Yellow Dubmarine?

A - I've been in plenty of bands. Yellow Dubmarine is definitely my most professional effort. I've been in other bands with guys from Yellow Dubmarine. We've been in other Reggae bands and Rock bands, Folk, Americana, all sorts of music. We've actually been in bands with each other where we were playing instruments other that the ones we play in Yellow Dubmarine.

Q - Were you playing Beatles music in those other bands?

A - Sometimes. Definitely. We've always loved The Beatles, but never in a Beatles tribute band playing Beatles music as much as this.

Q - Where did you get this idea to put Yellow Dubmarine together? And what year would that have been?

A - That was the Fall of 2007. The idea came naturally. We just tried it one day on a whim. So, it was a lot of fun. This was after another album, "Dubside Of The Moon". It's a Dub version of the Pink Floyd album. It's a really popular Reggae album and it came out like 2004 or something. But they did a similar thing with Pink Floyd. We loved it. It's an awesome album. I would recommend people to check it out. But they didn't do anything with The Beatles. We tried it, loved it. We weren't a true band doing this seriously until we had a mutual friend pass away. We decided to put on a musical concert for her with some other bands, since all of the guys that I was doing The Beatles Reggae songs with were friends with this girl. We really put our act together to put on a show for that night. People loved it. It really spoke to the mood of the night. I think it was really cool. The Beatles songs really hit on serious themes. With the Reggae twist it was great because we knew we wanted the night to be a celebration of her life rather than something sad. So, the Reggae twist really helped to evoke that spirit. We just grew from there. We got another show and another show and horn players, which we didn't even have at first. That was the very formative show for us, obviously because it was our first show, but also the feeling from that night was really special. We found something that really connects with people in a serious way even though it sounds like a funny thing we're doing. It's actually beautiful.

Q - I'm assuming that when you go into a city to play, people don't know what to expect. So, what do people say to you after the show?

A - You're right. A lot of people don't know what to expect. But they're intrigued often times. Honestly, most times we get really positive reaction. People love it because they just realize that they've danced to Beatles songs like they've never danced to them before. They sing along all night. So, people have told us they love what we're doing. That's not terribly surprising, but there have been some other responses that have been unexpected. Sometimes we get people who come to the show who ain't even Beatles fans. They still enjoy the show. Sometimes we have people say "I'm not even a Beatles fan." I'm just mystified by that, but when they tell us they love the show. I'm still really happy and it brings up a good point. We get to re-excite people about Beatles' music and I think that's a feeling people get after our shows.

Q - You chose to do Beatles music in the Reggae style. Could you have chosen The Rolling Stones?

A - Yes and no. I think you could try. Some of it could work with almost any Pop band, but The Beatles work exceptionally well because all of their songs have such strong melodies and beautiful chord changes. Between the melody and the chord changes the songs translate really well to a Reggae groove or a Reggae vibe because all you have to do is change the groove. So that's why The Beatles' songs work really well. Also, people love The Beatles' songs. When you dance to "Let It Be", it's a really exceptional thing. (laughs)

Q - Gold Lion Records, is that your label or someone else's?

A - Someone else's.

Q - Did you approach them or did they approach you?

A - Well, I guess it was kind of mutual. There were familiar people in both groups that kind of caught wind of each other at the same time.

Q - Do Paul or Ringo know about you?

A - I don't think so. I would love for them to hear us, hear about us. I would just really hope they would like it. (laughs) I would be mortified if they didn't.

Q - You've got quite a unique band here. You're in a standalone group. There's nothing else like it.

A - Yeah. Thank you. I like that about us a lot. There are so many impersonation bands, but there are no Beatles Reggae bands. You can't get that anyplace else.

Q - You've got the field all to yourself.

A - That's right. We've got The Beatles Reggae field all to ourselves. So obviously we branch into all Beatles fans but also all Reggae fans, which increases our market.

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