Sylvain Taillon: Your mother founded the Casbah Coffee Club in Liverpool, an early venue for The Beatles. How does she fit into Beatles lore?
Pete Best:“My mom wanted to buy a house, so she sold all her jewellery and put the money on a horse named ‘Never Say Die.’ She won, bought the house and set up the club in our basement for her kids to have something to do. People would say, ‘Mrs. Best, she was the unsung hero, she kept us on the straight and narrow.’ Her foresight and her love of music made the Casbah a success, and it became the catalyst for the Mersey Beat.”
ST: Why did you decide to do the Best of the Beatles documentary?
PB: “I’ve had a great life, a different life story from most people, and I wanted to tell my story, warts and all. A lot of people who were with us in Germany and Liverpool in the early days of The Beatles told me, ‘Pete, we’ve been waiting to tell this story for years.’ That’s why there are a lot of people in the film who have never been interviewed before.”
ST: The Beatles fired you and replaced you with Ringo Starr just before they hit it big, yet you don’t seem embittered.
PB: “I could have been part of the biggest thing in show business, but it wasn’t meant to be. Yes, there was a lot of hurt, but there comes a time when you have to cast that aside and worry about today and tomorrow. At the end of the day, you still have happiness. Yeah, there was life to Pete Best after The Beatles.”
Photo courtesy of wireimage.com.ST: What are your favourite Beatles tracks?
PB: “Oh, there are so many! [Laughter] My deep-down favourite is I Saw Her Standing There because it’s a bit of a crossover to the great rock ‘n’ roll band that we used to be, so it brings back great memories.”
ST: If you were able to sit in a room today with John, George and Paul, what would that conversation be like?
PB:“I bet you it wouldn’t be about the dismissal. I’d like to think that it would be about what has happened in our own lives. We’ve all married, had children. We all went through different highs and lows. We would just chat and update each other like you do with old friends.”
Exhibit If you’ve ever dreamed of spending a few hours in John Lennon’s company, head for Paris. To mark his 65th birthday and the 25th anniversary of his death, the Cité de la musique is hosting an exhibition of everything Lennon. John Lennon, Unfinished Music will take you through the icon’s life and includes an interactive area where you can play Imagine on a white piano. There’s also a studio with pristine surround sound where you can hang out and listen to his classic songs. Cité de la musique, Paris, to June 25, 2006.
Books You may think you’ve seen every Beatles photo out there, but The Beatles 365 Days (Harry N. Abram) by Simon Wells will surprise you. There are 430 images that cover the band’s rise from England’s clubs to their breakup. The Beatles: The Biography (Little, Brown) by Robert Spitz transcends the usual mythmaking to uncover the good, the bad and the ugly behind the most successful band in history. For a little nasty — and juicy — gossip from an ex’s perspective, there’s John (Hodder) by Cynthia Lennon. Three marriages later, the former Mrs. Lennon is still fuming.
Photo courtesy of wireimage.com.