By Arne Sjostedt
Fuelled by a rock and roll brand of mateship on steroids, made up of Australian hard rock musical royalty, ARC is all about the appreciation of spending time together.
Following the success of their Abbey Road tour last year, Kram from Spiderbait, Mark Wilson from Jet, Davey Lane from You Am I, and Darren Middleton from Powderfinger, are hitting the road to do it again. Mainly because they just can’t get enough of spending time together.
“It’s everything your main band isn’t,” says Wilson. “It’s fun, it’s not as much stress because you don’t have the old relationships. It’s pure friendship and music combined, where we just get to have fun with our friends. And now we are starting to make specific projects that seem to be resonating around the country, which is great.”
Wanting to bring a seasoned level of performance that would satisfy even the most committed Beatles head, Wilson says the four piece need quite a lot of help to deliver the mandate.
This means inviting along Ash Naylor (Paul Kelly, Even and Rockwiz), Linda Bull (The Black Sorrows, Vika and Linda Bull), Brett Wolfenden (The Pictures, Jim Keays) and James Fleming (Eagle and the Worm, Bob Evans) to lighten the load.
With Lane chiming in from the background during our talk, to learn the parts, he reminds Wilson that it was leaked material from the video game Rock Band that provided separated tracks for Abbey Road. With that in hand, Wilson says all the members of ARC “went forensic” to get right into the nuts and bolts of the recording.
“It maybe sounds a little arrogant, but I liken it to playing a piece of classical music, where you are trying to recreate this piece onstage. So playing Abbey Road, it requires a lot of concentration, and there is a lot of work to do, because this record was never designed to be played live. Hence why we need four other people to help us.”
And even though he learnt to play bass listening to Paul McCartney’s work, Wilson says that learning a whole lot of Beatles bass lines is really tough.
“He was such an amazing improviser that when you listen to the song, he never repeats himself. So that there is no pattern you can learn. It’s almost random. You have to do it right, because the things he throws in are what make his bass playing and the songs great.”
Though it isn’t just Wilson working hard.
“Everyone is super busy in Abbey Road, and the way it comes to the climax at the end, that medley that goes for side two, some of those edits are actual tape edits where they have cut a piece of tape and stuck another bit on it. So even recreating that kind of change is tricky. But we try and do it as the record, as it sounds. If it’s is a slight little hiccup or something, we make sure we hit that.”
After they deliver on the Abbey Road experience, the band go back stage for a glass of wine, then come back and play a reverse chronological Beatles set of tracks from 1969 to 1962.
ARC present The Beatles’ Abbey Road Live at the Canberra Theatre on Saturday February 22. For more details visit www.canberratheatrecentre.com.au