Frequently Asked Questions
- You claim to be a “professional Beatles scholar”. What exactly does that mean?
- I'm skeptical. You look too young to be a Beatles expert. How old are you?
- So if you're too young to have personally experienced the Beatle phenomenon, how did you get so involved with the band and their music?
- There are so many other Beatles scholars, authors, and fans out there already. What makes you different from other experts?
Second, over the years I've developed and honed presentation skills that allow me to explain this extremely sophisticated musical analysis in ways that an audience doesn't need a bachelor's degree in music theory to understand.
Many people have one or the other of those abilities, but it's the combination of them that distinguishes my work and career from others. If I lacked either of those skills, my career as a Beatles scholar would never have gotten off the ground.
- Can you give me an example of how you explain detailed musical analysis?
- Who is your favorite Beatle?
- What's your favorite Beatles song and album?
If the medley counts as multiple songs, then my single favorite would have to be “I Am the Walrus” because it's pure Lennon fantasy – nobody else could have written that music, it's got his musical fingerprints all over it. I vividly remember the moment when I realized the profundity the Beatles' music is: It was early 2010, I was living in Revere, MA and commuting to Boston University on the blue line subway. On one such ride I was listening to “I Am The Walrus” when it dawned on me that the Beatles were much more than just a pop group, they are a major landmark in music history. I immediately texted my girlfriend at the time (now wife) about the revelation, and I haven't looked back since.
- Tell me about your books.
The first, The Beatles & The Avant-Garde, was released in 2014. It looks in detail at the romantic and artistic relationship between John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Yoko isn't exactly easy to like, but John was smitten. Why? What did he see in her? What attracted him to her, and vice versa? I can't guarantee that reading this book will make you like Yoko or her work, but I hope it can provide the context to where a reader can at least appreciate, if not genuinely enjoy, what she set out to accomplish.
The second, The Beatles: Band of the Sixties, was published as an Amazon Kindle ebook in April 2015. This is essentially a transcript of my presentation of the same title, which I've delivered many times in both the United States and England. It's rather short – about 9,000 words – and provides an overview of the band, their history, and their music.
The third, From the Shadow of JFK: The Rise of Beatlemania in America, was released in June 2015. It's common for authors to suggest a relationship between the president and the band since they were so close together in chronology (the Beatles' debut on Ed Sullivan came less than three months after Kennedy's assassination). But it's just as common for authors to dismiss any connection. Personally, I never believed in the connection until I started researching Kennedy – reading biographies, studying transcripts of his speeches, viewing photographs of the pop culture phenomenon he inspired both during and after his life. Then, and only then, did I realize how both the Fab Four and JFK were leaders of Youth Culture. How the band replaced the president as leaders of Youth Culture is what this book is all about.
And the fourth is Days in the Life: A Father and Son on a Beatles Tour. Most of my lecture tours are done solo, but in March 2016 my dad and I road tripped together to Phoenix. This book is essentially a co-written travelogue of where we went, who we met, and what we did. It's centered around The Beatles but supplemented with anecdotes about birding (Dad's favorite past time) and baseball (my favorite past time). It's certainly the most accessible (lease analytic) of all the books I've written.
- Do you have plans for any more books?
I also have plans for a book about the album Let it Be, and one about Ringo and his substantial contributions to the band. Plus, I'm constantly getting new ideas for presentations and books, so it's highly probable that book concepts will surface that I've not yet conceived.
- How can you write and publish so quickly?
Plus, I tend to write very short books. One of my biggest problems with books - and Beatles books in particular - is getting to the end and thinking, "This would have been a great 215-page book. Unfortunately it's 386 pages." I'm a firm believer in the "less is more" philosophy: Say what you need to say as tersely possible. Twitter has the right idea in limiting tweets to 140 characters.
- Who publishes your books?
- Self-publishing? Yuck!
- Where can I purchase your books?
- How many different presentations do you have?
- Which of your presentations are your favorites?
- Do you play any instruments or write any of your own music?
- How can I stay informed of all your latest news and upcoming events?
Just be sure to type the “prove you are human” part. I get a lot of spam, so any submissions that skip that step are deleted.
- How can I ask you a question, or book one of your talks?