Definitions

tribute band

Blue Meanies (tribute band)

The Blue Meanies is a Mexican tribute band which primarily plays the music of The Beatles. The band rose to fame in the Mexican Beatles scene during 2004 because of their setlists, which include mainly obscure songs by The Beatles, both as a band and as solo artists. They do not dress like The Beatles nor try to replicate the original sound from the records, instead relying on their musicianship and energy during their concerts.

Currently, the band is enjoying enormous success among the Mexican Beatles scene, where they are widely considered as one of the best bands, if not the best Beatles tribute band by die-hard fans and collectors, as well as radio hosts and industry managers. They are also the "house" band hired by record label EMI to perform at Mexican release parties for Beatle records.

The band represented Mexico at Beatles Week 2005 in Liverpool, England, and as a result of their success there, were contacted by managers all over the world to take part in Beatles festivals in the USA, France, Canada and Argentina.

Their immediate plans include performing at the 2006 Latin American Beatle Week, which will be held in Buenos Aires during the first week of December, as well as playing alongside a symphonic orchestra in Mexico in late November. For 2007, the band is slated to appear at Louisville's Abbey Road on the River festival, as well as the release of their first studio CD, which will feature original tunes written by the band.

Band members

Current

  • Miguel Angel "Rody" Rodarte – lead vocals, drums
  • Ignacio Rodarte Mora - vocals, electric guitar
  • Jesús Mora - keyboards, backing vocals, electric guitar
  • Eduardo "Carnal" Pérez-Amescua - bass

Former

  • José Luis "Hard" Rivadeneyra – bass (December 2003–December 2004)

History

1996-1999: Los Espermatozoides Furiosos

The Blue Meanies' origins can be traced back to 1996, when brothers Miguel Angel and Ignacio Rodarte reunited with cousins Jesús Mora and Rafael Carrillo after five years of not talking to each other. During this year, they jammed many times at Carrillo's home, developing a special chemistry and bonding which can be traced back to their family linkage.

During 1997, the four-piece band began to rehearse at Jesus' home studio (which later would be named "Churi SPA & Resort"). Here they adopted the name "Los Espermatozoides Furiosos" (The Angry Sperms), which was suggested by Jesus' dad, Churi Mora. The band proceeded to record four home demos and rehearsed almost fifty songs, most of which would be featured at their gigs.

In mid-1998, the band began to play at parties, and finally got a chance to showcase their talents during a Wednesday at a local pizza bar, called "Pettroceli's Pizza". Frequent customers were pleasantly surprised when they enjoyed such a good sound from a band comprised mostly of 16 year olds. The band started to develop loyal followers, and soon were slotted for Friday and Saturday shows.

In July 1999, the band embarked on a month-long schedule which featured close to 70 songs: half of them were selections from classic rock, such as Hotel California, Samba Pa Ti, Last Train to London and such. However, the core of their setlist was formed by Beatles' covers - including some very rare and obscure songs which rarely are performed live, such as "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite".

2000-2002: Espiral - Ham & Eggs

Los Espermatozoides Furiosos were one of the Mexican Beatle scene's best kept secrets and just when pieces seemed to fall into place for them, the band split up in late December 1999. Brothers Miguel Angel and Ignacio Rodarte proceeded to form a new tribute band called "Ham & Eggs", featuring close friend José Luis Rivadeneyra at bass. Jesús and Rafael decided to go in a new direction and formed "Espiral" with the firm intention of recording their own songs - filling the empty slots with Jesus' high school friends.

Rafael left Espiral in late 2000, and Jesus proceeded to record three underground CDs as a member of Espiral. Meanwhile, Miguel Angel and Ignacio were the house band for a rock bar called "Los Mandiles" for most of 2000 and 2001.

Even though their breakup was a tough pill to swallow for all of them, time had begun its natural healing process and by mid-2002, all four Espermatozoides Furiosos' members were already in contact and talking about a possible reunion. Paul McCartney played three concerts in Mexico City in November 2002 which ultimately led to their reunion coming just one month later, when they decided to stage eight concert at Pettroceli's Pizza, just for the sake of old times.

2003: Pinkbird

After these successful concerts, Miguel, Ignacio and Jesús decided to give it one more go and reunite their old band. However, Rafael was not as interested this time around and elected to form his own band (as well as pursuing a career in the cistern cleaning industry), prompting the band to invite José Luis to take Rafael's place. However, "Los Espermatozoides Furiosos" was a family band, and even though José Luis was a very close friend, they decided not to mess with the legacy, dubbing their new band "Pinkbird" (a kind of tribute/parody related to Blackbird and Bluebird, two songs written by Paul McCartney, which also happened to be names already taken by Mexican tribute bands).

The band faced an interesting dilemma: they could keep playing as a house band for most rock pubs in Mexico City, but after two years of doing so, Miguel, Ignacio and José Luis were getting tired already. It was then that the "Blue Meanie concept" (which is now very popular among lesser copycat tribute bands in Mexico), was born: the band decided to play their favorite pieces by The Beatles, even if they were lesser-known hits or "album-filler" songs.

By that time, there was no other tribute band in Mexico City which dared to think outside the box, so when someone decided to attend a concert by a Beatles-tribute band, the same old setlist was expected to be played by the featured band: all of the #1 hits of the early Beatles period, and a few occasional hits from their post-Magical Mystery period, even one or two solo songs. With this in mind, the band decided not to play it safe and try to innovate with a high show packed with obscure songs.

Also, Mexican tribute bands in the pre-Blue Meanie era were used to be comprised of look-alikes trying to reproduce every single sound in the original Beatle records. This of course was a very difficult task to accomplish for them, since the average Mexican does not look like the average British, and even though chords were faithful to the recordings, the original sound would never be achieved.

Because of this, the band decided not only to play songs which no other Mexican Beatle tribute band had ever played, but also they chose not to imitate the fab four. They would play the songs without altering their harmonies or structure, but would not become obsessed with trying to reproduce the original recordings, instead trying to add their own feel and trademark sound to songs. At first, crowds did not know how to react to this new proposal, and with this in mind, the band elected to name themselves "The Blue Meanies" as a reference to the Yellow Submarine characters which shook up Pepperland trying, in the same way that the band shook up the Mexican Beatle scene.

2003-2004: Bursting onto the Mexican Beatle scene

One day in October 2003, Jesús was shopping for instruments at a local street bazaar for musicians when he ran into a Beatle bootleg store. He asked for any recordings from Paul McCartney's 2002 Mexico City concerts, and just as he was leaving, the store owner, Juan Carlos Pérez handed him a flyer for an upcoming Beatle tribute concert at Tepeyac Theatre; this prompted Jesús to ask for more information in an attempt to land an audition for The Blue Meanies.

Pérez happened to be a close friend of Ricardo Calderón and Abel Alvarez, both prominent figures of the Mexican Beatle scene; he decided to contact Calderón and both agreed to schedule a gig for the band during the upcoming ninth edition of Mexico's Beatle Festival. Since the Blue Meanies were totally unknown, they were scheduled to play in the first slot of such festival (Thursday at 11 am), which was usually assigned to the worst band in the lineup.

Signature Songs

  • Coming Up, by Paul McCartney
  • Live And Let Die, by Paul McCartney
  • Got My Mind Set On You, by George Harrison
  • Helter Skelter, by Lennon/McCartney
  • Jet, by Paul McCartney
  • Strawberry Fields Forever, by Lennon/McCartney
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