The TVD Interview & Prize Pack Giveaway: The Yellow Dubmarine with See-I at the State Theatre, 12/17

Yellow Dubmarine is nowhere near a Beatles mashup. It’s an elegant tribute to Paul, John, George, and Ringo with a Caribbean undercurrent. Their album Abbey Dub takes you through the various subgenres of reggae (dub, dancehall, ragga, fusion) with lyrical guidance from McCartney and Lennon. Abbey Dub keeps the heart and soul of 17 Beatles songs, but simultaneously adds a roots reggae edge to it.

I had an opportunity to chat with Aaron Glaser, one of the vocalists and bassist for the band. He’s a charming young man and a seasoned performer not unlike Zeebo and Rootz of See-I, with whom the Beatles tribute band will be performing alongside at the State Theatre this Saturday.

Yellow Dubmarine – Something

How did you guys get started?

It’s actually kind of a cool story. We started a project in the summer of 2007. It was just for fun. What got us going is a tragic event. A friend of all of ours passed away, and we put on a memorial concert for her with a bunch of other bands. Originally, the Yellow Dubmarine was four members, a rhythm section. We decided to participate heavily in the event, and we played our first show that night. We thought the music was perfect that night because of how well all the Beatles songs speak to important themes of life. We played “Let it Be.” And obviously that one hits on all levels. And the reggae twist was nice because we wanted the night to be fun. We wanted it to be a celebration of her life, rather than a dark sad evening.

After that, the night went well. And we just kept playing shows. We grew. We got a horn section. Started playing bigger shows. Thing just grew naturally from there.

Have you encountered any purists who find your Beatles tributes sacrilegious?

Yes. But we tell them we do our interpretations out of the love of the original versions of the songs. We try to re-awaken the same emotions. We pay tribute to the same music arrangements. We try to keep the Beatles spirit with our unique twist. We haven’t gotten much negative response.

Do you have to get formal training or did you simply listen to the Beatles and learn?

There are a few of us who went to school for music. Three of the eight. The rest of us learned on our own. I went to elementary school with our drummer and keyboard player. We overall learned from each other.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

All of ‘em. Including Ringo.

The Beatles has some influence from American blues artists.  Any roots reggae influences you know of?

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’s gotta heavy reggae influence. I have seen footage of John Lennon saying reggae is the new thing, one of the best new forms of music.

Do you see any diversification in the reggae genre beyond what’s happening now?

Well the roots of reggae are in place. Nothing can be added to that. You can top the founders of reggae like Toots and the Maytals, The Skatalites, and Bob Marley, of course.  I think reggae is going into a dub direction, which is becoming the more mainstream. There is still people paying tribute to the root, but I don’t see any real change in the genre.

Are there any social messages that you put forth as the Yellow Dubmarine?

No. It’s a small part of what we do, but I don’t exclude it from what we do.  Beatles music and reggae music goes much deeper than that. Our music in a similar way reaches out to all ages and backgrounds. We get the older generation and the kids as well. It’s universal. That’s important.

Have you guys ever re-created the Abbey Road walk?

[Laughs] I have not. No one from the band has. Two years ago, for Halloween, we dressed up exactly like them. We took the picture crossing the street, but it wasn’t Abbey Road, it was in Maryland.

Aaron Glaser and the Yellow Dubmarine will perform with reggae band, See-I, who will be opening the show. See-I is a DC-bred “party band,” with members of Thievery Corporation, that got its inspiration from the likes of reggae, delta blues, Southern California funk, dub, and so on and so forth. Lead vocalist Archie “Zeebo” Steele  and his brother Arthur (“Rootz”) are celebrating their remix album See-I Remixed Compilation from Fort Knox Recordings.

See-I – The King (Magic Fly Mix)

We’re giving away a pair of tickets, plus a copy of Yellow Dubmarine’s CD Abbey Dub AND a rare See-I 10” vinyl single called “The King.”  The Beatles have collaborated with many artists (George Harrison and Monty Python, and Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, for example).

For a chance to win the tix and music, tell us your favorite musical collaboration between one or all Beatles and another artist. (I know Monty Python’s not a band, still they made magic with Mr. Harrysong!) The winner will be chosen on Friday (12/16) at noon.

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  • sheristuffs

    Traveling Wilburys is a good one, says Sheri in Syracuse.

  • legacymc

    It’s hard to choose 1 Beatles Collaboration from all the quality music that they were a part of. Harrison with Clapton and Cream on the track “Badge” is very good. “Say Say Say” by Paul Mccartney and Michael Jackson is one of my favorites for sure.But my favorite has to be The Traveling Wilbury’s and I can’t possibly pick just one song. “Handle with Care”, “End of the Line”,”Inside Out’. I love them all!!!

  • oliviaung

    The winner has been notified. Check your email!


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