"A bunch of (ideas for) names came up and somehow that one was it," band member Gerry Boulton explains. He's "George" on stage and plays a vintage Gretsch guitar like the one Harrison used in the days of Beatlemania. Jim Smart ("Paul") and English-born David Hayter ("John") are the primary lead vocalists. They too play vintage instruments; Smart doubles on keyboards. T.J. Theisen anchors the quartet on a Ludwig drum kit.
Boulton formed the DayTrippers about three years ago after he saw a similar act in Japan. He posted a few ads and responses "overflowed." Hayter, Smart and Theisen proved the best combination of talent and attitude.
The DayTrippers made a name for themselves with periodic performances at the Gordon Biersch Brewery in the Aloha Tower Marketplace. They play at the Waikiki Beachcomber this Saturday and return to Gordon Biersch a week later.
Boulton notes that all-Beatles bands are not an isolated phenomenon. Several all-Beatles bands are based in California and Nevada. Still others maintain the format on the East Coast.
A previous all-Beatles group here concentrated on the songs from one time in Beatles history -- 1964-66 -- when guitars, bass and drums were the core of the Beatles' sound. The DayTrippers started out playing the "guitar band" songs too, but today include many of the Beatles' later hits, such as "The Battle of John and Yoko" and "Come Together."
A typical set includes songs from "A Hard Day's Night" or "Help!" as well. Instantly familiar songs like "I Saw Her Standing There," "I Feel Fine" and "All My Loving" create a comfortable glow of nostalgia. They're the fuel for instant sing-alongs.
"We'll do 'Day In A Life' too. Some of their music is hard to recreate on stage but a lot of it can be done. There are books that have the score for every album; every instrument (and) every vocal. We don't change any of the keys. Sometimes the three-part harmonies are tricky, but we've pretty much got 'em down."
It's been more than a quarter- century since the Beatles broke up, and barely a year since a "new" Beatles song hit the charts. Three albums of unreleased Beatles recordings have been released as well. (The oldest known recording dates from 1958 when John Lennon, Paul McCartney and 15-year-old George Harrison were performing as the Quarry Men.) The DayTrippers are picking up songs from them as well.
"We're working on 'Real Love' and 'Free As A Bird,' " Boulton says. They may eventually add some more obscure songs from the new albums, but first they'll concentrate on the songs most people instantly recognize. Too few would recognize "Cry For A Shadow," "Soldier of Love" or "That Means A Lot" as Beatles songs.
"There are a lot of songs we like that are just so obscure that nobody's heard of them, even though they're great songs. We do get requests for 'Side B' songs like 'I'll Get You,' but the younger crowd tends to not know them. Sometimes they'll request something by Oasis (a contemporary English band with a somewhat similar sound) and we'll have to explain that we're an all-Beatles band."
All four DayTrippers have non-musical "day jobs" so they're free to enjoy playing the music they love for its own sake.
"We're all getting into new songs, and getting into the studio songs that are harder to reproduce. Jim has picked up the keyboard and he can reproduce a lot of the sounds that we've never been able to do with three guitars and drums. That's keeping us busy, and we've been doing a little recording too. We're all busy with other jobs, but eventually we'd like to be able to take requests for anything by the Beatles."
To date they also claim a single original written by Smart. It is titled "Being Paul."
"I don't know if we're going to write something that really sounds like the Beatles," Boulton says, "but I think we're going to be together for years."