On September 27th 2008 I met a Beatle!
Pete Best was the drummer for the Beatles from 1960-1962 before they achieved superstardom.
He played a concert date in Des Moines a few days prior to me meeting him in a cow pasture in What Cheer, Iowa. I received a call at the radio station from a man named Ralph Gatton. Gatton said, "I hear you're the one I need to talk to about Beatles music". Not really sure where he got my name. Gatton was dying of cancer and was putting on a funding concert on his farm in What Cheer. The bill was all local bands agreeing to play for the benefit for free and the Pete Best Band.
Gatton asked me if I'd be willing to interview the former Beatle on the radio to try and get a few people to the show. I instantly jumped at the chance. The phone interview never happened. I was, however, invited, to come to the show as a special guest. Maybe I could record an interview at the show.
My friend Mark Shaeffer and I drove to What Cheer and walked around the farm looking for Ralph Gatton. Gatton was a well respected keyboardist who somehow became good friends with Best somewhere in his many travels. Once we located Ralph, I was briefly introduced to Pete best. Best was posing for pictures and signing autographs. It was decided I would interview him after he was done closing the show.
The stage was basically a cement slab facing a cow pasture. There were probably only 20-30 people there enjoying this up close opportunity to hear music and stories from a former Beatle. It was truly a sad turnout! Every once and a while the Pete Best Band would hear a cow mooing in the distance and stop playing to laugh and make a funny comment.
After the concert, Best grabbed a beer and sat down at a picnic table to cool down. I came over with my tape recorder and interviewed him for ten minutes or so. We talked about the early days in Hamburg Germany and his closest relationship in the Beatles..It was John Lennon by the way.
That was the day I met a Beatle..And The Beat Goes On..