SUN KINGS

 

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Drew Harrison- Lennon Vocal, Guitars, Percussion

My first vivid memory was rocking back and forth on my hands and knees, in front of our large Motorola stereo/TV console to the song “A Hard Days Night”. I was three years old. We lived in Forest Hills, New York, near Shea Stadium in 1965 and I can still recall the traffic in our neighborhood as people went off to see the Beatles perform there. The Beatles were certainly the ambient soundtrack thru my early years.  I heard them everywhere – at home, riding in the family car, on the bus, while visiting relatives’ homes, – everywhere. With nostalgic hindsight, it was beautiful, sublime musical propaganda.

But I truly became aware of the lads at around eight years of age.  I was shuffled off to recreation school in New Jersey in summer.  We would play sports outside and then work arts and crafts afterwards in a room called the Quiet Room – which was anything but as I recall. We were put to making lanyards for whistles one day, when our long- haired teaching assistant, named Neil, put a new LP on the little phonograph in the back of the room.  It was the White Album. Don’t recall hearing the first cut “Back in the USSR”, but the second “Dear Prudence” floored me! I kept asking for it to be played over and over and soon, having dropped all interest in lanyards (wasn’t much there to begin with anyway), I took up a position in front of the phonograph and appointed myself DJ. Mesmerized and captivated, I adopted “Prudence’”as my official song. For the rest of summer school I couldn’t wait to get back into the Quiet Room and listen to it.

We probably all have a mentor or two.  I found books and John Lennon’s solo albums in my adolescence. It is not a stretch to say his early solo material provided a guidance and philosophy with which I live my life today.  I identified with his struggles and the efforts he made at seeking truth for himself and the world around him.  At 15 years of age “Imagine” became my favorite song. I have played Lennon’s ode to a better tomorrow every New Year’s Eve since then.  I ended up studying the works of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and other proponents of non-violence, eventually receiving a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at UC Berkeley. I certainly became a musician because of the lads and Lennon’s influence can be found throughout my career as an original singer/songwriter.

Those of us that love the lads and their music probably all have such stories and it feels great, doesn’t it? The Beatles’ music remains positive and hopeful in a world that appears to have gone mad sometimes. I still have the joy of singing “Prudence” so many years later with The Sun Kings.  It hasn’t lost an ounce of charm or it’s brilliance since the very first day I’d heard it. I remain constantly inspired by the continued vibrancy of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and miss George Harrison and John Lennon everyday.

It is an honor and joy to perform The Beatles’ songs. The Sun Kings’ desire to stay true to the Beatles’ recordings when performing, along with striving to capture the fun, infectious and joyful vitality had in The Beatles’ live performances, is as strong as ever. We’re not out to be imitators of the lads, nor does anyone in the band take themselves so seriously in the process either, other than really working hard at it.  We are simply the fans we have to impress and bringing the music to stage as the authors intended in their recordings and performances is our intent.

I’m very excited to have Jim Funk join the band in 2013 as the voice of Paul McCartney!  Jim and I have been performing together now for a couple of years in an acoustic group called “Three Of Us” and prior to that had clocked some studio time recording Beatles tunes for a musical project.  From our first couple of notes crooning together we knew this was a wonderful John/Paul vocal match. Very happy he decided to join up, and together with the talented Bruce as the guitar and voice of “George”,  Steve as the drum and voice  of  “Ringo”, and Ruben on keys, percussion, harmonica, and background vocals (our Billy Preston), we are ever nearer our pursuit of “Hamburg Energy – Musical Authenticity”.

Aside from being a singer/songwriter and Lennonguy in The Sun Kings, I also perform an acoustic tribute to Lennon called “In The Spirit of Lennon” and have worked up a new band with some of the finest Bay Area musician veterans around called The Plastic Fauxno Band.  Both projects focus on Lennon during his solo years.

I also perform my original music live (schedule here) and my latest solo CD, ‘Go It Alone’ is available at shows and online.

“And in the end…”

Can’t say enough how much I appreciate all the folks who come out, listen and support.  I do this as my day job and I love every minute of it.  Thank you!  We have a great time, don’t we?

We’re here as long as you’ll have us (and the larynxes hold out)!

And maybe that’s it…really!   Live life fully, do what you love, remember love, get with people you can hang around with, have a whisky, laugh, get serious when you need to, and give back when you can.  Peace.

James Funk
McCartney Vocal, Bass, Guitar

Born in Livingston, New Jersey, and raised outside of Chicago, I have four much older siblings, a couple of whom, when I was about 7 or 8 years old, right about the time The Beatles were bringing down the curtain on their time together, thought that I might get a kick out of seeing this movie they’d done, and with the complicity of our mother, who thought that I should see it so that I would know what all the fuss was about, what were these “Beatles” that were always being referred to around the house, I was awakened late one night to watch it on the 10:30 PM after- the-news late movie (getting to be up late was great enough, so I was already endeared to the undertaking).

They guessed correctly, I was both transfixed and informed by A Hard Day’s Night; the look of it and THEM, the suits and hair, the beautiful black and white film, the sound of their speaking voices and accents and the movie’s audio, in general, their high wit & humor, the clear joy of it all and, most of all, their music & singing (to this day, that remains my favorite movie, in general, and my favorite Beatles’ album – the United Artists movie soundtrack, that is, rather than the longer EMI album containing the other songs that did not appear in the movie – and I think it’s the most joyful, concise, catchy and lovely collection of tunes yet assembled under one roof in the now vast rock and roll catalog).

The next day I was raptly listening to the soundtrack LP that my olders had, and pestering my brother to remind me of the verse melody to one of the songs in the movie, but which seemed not to be on the UA soundtrack album (it turned out to be She Loves You), so I could hum it, and try to memorize it lest I forget it before someone get a copy of it for me. Then, shortly after the next time the film was on (I would always watch it after that, no matter how late it was on, to my mom’s chagrin), and after seeing Help!, too, I was trying out a Liverpudlian accent on my family, and I was pretty good at it, and so discovered I had a decent ear, that I was inclined towards music and things auditory, in general.

The die cast, I started listening to all the other British Invasion & Motown stuff my siblings had, and liked a lot of it, but I liked The Beatles best, and by a mile, and I listened to their albums relentlessly, memorizing everything, bass lines, all of it. I took to near-constant humming and under-my-breath murmur singing. So much so that a couple of girls in school, pretty ones, in the 5th grade, would sometimes ask me to sing little bits of their tunes, quietly, while we were supposed to be studying in small groups and out of teacher’s earshot, saying I sounded quite like them, and getting somewhat closer to me than usual when I murmured, and which I thought promising.

But, at that point my plan was to play professional ice hockey, be the next Bobby Hull or Bobby Orr, and it did not occur to me that I might ever really sing or play music until one beautiful clear Chicago winter night when I was 15. That frigid Friday night in January (it was about 10 degrees out), after our high school’s basketball game, I and a big group of other sophomores were, as was customary, outside the school in an adjacent field, comfortably, in spite of the temperature, drinking a lot of bad beer bought for us by some likewise underage and equally illegal juniors, when some nearby jock guys I didn’t yet know very well, seemingly completely impromptu, launched into a Beatles’ song, all singing together, a cappella, at the top of their lungs.

A stunning thing to witness, my buddies and I quickly approached them, it certainly sounding festive enough, at the least, and I somewhat amazed both to learn I was not the only Beatle fan left around in 1977 and, also, to see boys singing at all. Singing just wasn’t really done by boys, there or then, ever, unless maybe in church choirs, but I didn’t know anyone who did it, and it just wasn’t considered a very manly thing to do, but here they were, a bunch of jocks, bellowing away, huge plumes of condensate breath following their notes into the winter air. And singing BEATLES’ songs. Wow. Really neat. Singing was instantly legitimized for me as a male activity.

Needless to say, then, moth to flame, knowing all the songs, I joined in, and incredible fun it was. This group of guys just kept getting larger and began marching around this frozen field, huddling up at different spots, singing one Beatle tune after another. This went on for quite awhile, and then, before breaking up, it culminated in a fairly storybook ending for the night and an official beginning to my vocation as a singer and musician.

What happened was that as the group had gotten larger and the fun and enthusiasm of it all increased, a bunch of girls, pretty ones, had attached themselves to the group and, suddenly, we found we had an audience. Fairly quickly then the roles of the particular Beatles devolved on certain of the guys (and their air instruments). All the boys present were still singing along, but it was now understood that certain of us were now the official proxies for the particular Beatles in question, and Beatle Paul had somehow devolved on me.

In this field there is small hill, and it was to the top of that that this throng gradually migrated to close out the night. By that time, however, though the group remained large, only the four proxies were anymore doing the singing, the rest now just watching and listening (and drinking and making out…) and quite attentively, too. And, I realized, there was now a girl, a pretty one, attached to my left arm, looking at me in a way I’d never seen before. This also seemed promising. It was really fun, then.

So, the time came for the last song, and that’s when the unexpected thing happened: We’d already sung Yesterday earlier as a group, but everybody wanted one last tune to shut the night down, and agreed this was the one. But not as a group again. The other proxies, and endorsed by the group at-large, decided that, this time, JIM SHOULD SING IT ALONE for the group assembled. Taken way aback, both at the unexpected affirmation, and that it was for a heretofore unknown talent, but also bolstered by same, the heady camaraderie of it all, the beer, and the look in that girl’s eyes, with a voice slightly shaky both from a few butterflies that had just alighted in my gut and from the cold, I sang the only solo of the night (and the first of my life) through slightly chattering teeth to the 30+ kids there arranged in concentric circles ringing the top of that hill, in near-perfect quiet other than the sound of my own voice (and with a few guys humming the string part during the bridge), and it wasn’t bad, I thought. I made it through.

But when I finished there was great whooping applause (albeit glove muted), an unfamiliar look (outside of sports) of admiration on the faces of several of the boys, and then, after some raucous back-slapping and low-fives from the other proxies – as the crowd began to disperse, before that girl gave me my arm back, I got kissed. Really kissed; it was no peck. Things started to feel very promising, indeed, then.

Thus ended – except for being unable to sleep for the adrenaline – that charmed night & my first role in a Beatles tribute group (and my hockey career), and began my life in music.

I am grateful to The Beatles for all of the above, for their music, and for the atmosphere of Them (and to my mom for waking me up and to those jocks for breaking form). I am heartily glad they existed, and that their existence led me to the discovery of my own best talent and one of my greatest blessings, and to all the other great music since descended from and inspired by them, in the genre that they unwittingly founded (and to which I hope to have added a few pieces, myself, or will yet).  I would be delighted if you visited my website and sampled my own works at jamesfunk.net

I look forward now to singing with Drew (my fellow New Jersian and the best Lennon I’ve ever heard shy of the original) and to pulling the McCartney duties for The Sun Kings in this my second role in a Beatles tribute group, and one I’ve apprenticed for ever since that night on the hill. If the position should at some point come with the perk of some woman, a pretty one, asking me to sing to her a bit or attaching herself to my arm, I shall, as ever, view it as a promising development.

Bruce Coe
Harrison Vocals, Guitars

Born outside Paris, I shipped to the states with me family through the same English ports at the same time the fab ones were traveling to and from Hamburg. Was the closest I ever got to seeing the group live, although have been to numerous post-Fab solo concerts, yay.

Earliest memory is holding hands with me mum at the A&P singing “I wanna hold your hand, I wanna hold your hand…”. Later, after my cool, aware sister began the family 45 collection with “Yesterday”/”Act Naturally”, my first album ever was “The Beatles” (the white album). We played all our records on groovy Sears portable record player with psychedelic, blinking speakers. Far out, man!

Moved with me mum and brother from Maryland to Californ-eye-ay and learned to play guitar from my bro, Yay! High school graduation present from my father was my first ever electric guitar. Played in bands during and after college with styles ranging from new wave to soul, rockabilly to blues, Motown to swing, even my own original tunes and always especially loved multi-part vocal harmony.

But I always avoided playing Beatles despite being my lifetime fav’  because it just can’t be done right… or so I thought.

When I first went to a Sun Kings show at a local park concert, I initially thought we were just hearing a recording till I saw them on stage. Wow! Never knew Beatles could be done right.

Pressed the availability of my services if the need should ever arise. Then learned that they needed a George. I had never been a George before. Pahhssed the audition and sub’d in for a couple years and now I’m proud to be privileged to be doing the role of George full time in the Sun Kings. YAY!!

Playing the music of my beloved Beatles in The Sun Kings is the coolest gig I’ve ever had the pleasure to play. The Sun Kings don’t just cover the Beatles, they search for nuances and subtlety, absolutely nail the sound, and totally ROCK!

George was right, all things must pass. But that was for the Beatles as a group. Their music lives on. Along with our loyal audiences The Sun Kings have a great time bringing to life that amazing, utterly unique, and completely fab universe of music which we all love so dearly. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Steve Scarpelli
Drums, Percussion, Vocals

I started the drums at age eight during the heyday of Beatlemania, and was drawn to Ringo’s ability to inject excitement, energy and emotion into Beatles’ music.  As we all know by now, their music has stood the test of time, and Ringo’s contributions are no small part of that legendary sound.  Just about all the bands in which I’ve played included Beatles songs in the repertoire.  Cut my eyeteeth in many a cover band and managed to continue drumming through good days and bad.  I still love it and recommend it to everyone-so therapeutic!

I listened to Top 40 AM radio in the 1960s, a creative and disparate period in popular music.  The cool thing about radio in those days was its diversity: As a budding musician, I absorbed the artistically produced tunes and discerned the differences between the Motown Sound and the British Invasion, the relentless funk of James Brown from the easy sway of Frank Sinatra.  Sadly, those days are long gone.

I enjoy playing drums in The Sun Kings because, in one sense, I get to relive my childhood.  Many hours were consumed playing drums along with Beatles’ records (a special nod to my parents for encouraging me and never complaining about the volume level).  It’s kind of the same feeling with The Sun Kings, except now there are lots of people watching.  My thanks to all the fans who make our shows enjoyable. The Sun Kings know that you appreciate Beatles music in its original form, and that’s why we do what we do.

Ruben Salis
Keyboards, Orchestration, Guitar, Vocals

I got hooked on The Beatles in 1965, which is interesting because I wasn’t born until 1967.

I started my career in music at the age of 9, playing piano, guitar and singing in theater productions of Oliver Twist, The Sound of Music, and Handel’s Messiah. I started playing trumpet at age 11, and low brass instruments at 15, which allowed me to tour the U.S. with DCI Drum and Bugle Corps, Florida Wave and The Suncoast Sound.

I received an A.A in piano performance in 1987, and graduated from The Grove School of Music, where I studied music composition and sound design.

As a sound designer, I designed sound effects for Universal Studios, Island of Adventures, and for Soundeluxe Productions. As a keyboard player, vocalist and band leader, I toured the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and the U.K., with rock bands, Bang La Terra from 1992-1998, and again in 2000-2005 with Frankie and the West End Boys, who were also the house band on the West End Stage at Pleasure Island, Downtown Disney.

While on breaks I would work as a producer for T. Skorman Productions, developing artists, producing bands, and working with artist such as Mighty Joe Plum, 7Mary3, and Tabitha’s Secret, known today as Matchbox 20.

In 2005, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and took a position working as an audio engineer but continued on my musical journey playing with bands; Vintage Bob, The Gabe Duffin Band, and Pandora’s Box.

Finally, in 2011, I landed my dream gig with The Sun Kings, where I began carefully analyzing and learning to authentically recreate the genius production techniques and orchestration of George Martin, and the beautiful, substantive, and innovative playing styles of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Billy Preston.

I believe this experience has brought me just a little closer to being at one with the universe. So I got that going for me. Which is nice.

PLEASE PLEASE ME
I Saw Her Standing There
Misery
Anna (Go To Him)
Chains
Boys
Ask Me Why
Please Please Me
Love Me Do
P.S. I Love You
Baby It’s You
Do You Want to Know A Secret
A Taste Of Honey
There’s A Place
Twist And Shout

With the beatles

It Won’t Be Long

All I’ve Got To Do

All My Loving

Don’t Bother Me

Little Child

‘Til There Was You

Please Mr. Postman

Roll Over Beethoven

Hold Me Tight

You Really Got A Hold On Me

I Wanna Be Your Man

Devil In Her Heart

Not A Second Time

Money (That’s What I Want)

A HARD DAYS NIGHt

A Hard Days Night

I Should Have Known Better

If I Fell

I’m Happy Just To Dance With You

And I Love Her

Tell Me Why

Can’t Buy Me Love

Anytime At All

I’ll Cry Instead

Things We Said Today

When I Get Home

You Can’t Do That

I’ll Be Back

beatles FOR SALE

No Reply

I’m A Loser

Baby’s In Black

Rock N’ Roll Music

I’ll Follow The Sun

Mr. Moonlight

Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey

Eight Days A Week

Words Of Love

Honey Don’t

Every Little Thing

I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party

What You’re Doing

Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby

HELP!

Help!

The Night Before

You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away

I Need You

Another Girl

You’re Going To Lose That Girl

Ticket To Ride

Act Naturally

It’s Only Love

You Like Me Too Much

Tell Me What You See

I’ve Just Seen A Face

Yesterday

Dizzy Miss Lizzy

RUBBER SOUL

I’ve Just Seen A Face

Norwegian Wood

You Won’t See Me

Think For Yourself

The Word

Michelle

Girl

I’m Looking Through You

In My Life

Wait

Run For Your Life

REVOLVER

Taxman

Eleanor Rigby

I’m Only Sleeping

Love You Too

Here There and Everywhere

Yellow Submarine

She Said She Said

Good Day Sunshine

And Your Bird Can Sing

For No One

Dr. Robert

I Want To Tell You

Got to Get You Into My Life

Tomorrow Never Knows

SGt. PEPPErs LONELY HEARtS CLUB Band

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

With A Little Help From My Friends

Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds

Getting Better

Fixing A Hole

When I’m Sixty Four

Lovely Rita

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

A Day In The Life

MAGICAL MYStery tour

Magical Mystery Tour

The Fool On The Hill

Your Mother Should Know

I Am The Walrus

Hello Goodbye

Strawberry Fields Forever

All You Need Is Love

tHE WHItE ALBUM – disc 1

Back in the USSR

Dear Prudence

Glass Onion

Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da

Wild Honey Pie

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

I’m So Tired

Blackbird

Rocky Raccoon

Why Don’t We Do It In the Road

I Will

Julia

tHE WHItE ALBUM – disc 2

Birthday

Yer Blues

Sexy Sadie

Helter Skelter

Savoy Truffle

Cry Baby Cry

YELLOW SUBMARINE

All Together Now

Hey Bulldog

ABBEY ROAD

Come Together

Something

Oh! Darling

Octopus’s Garden

I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

Here Comes The Sun

You Never Give Me Your Money

Sun King

Mean Mr. Mustard

Polythene Pam

She Came In Through The Bathroom Window

Golden Slumbers

Carry That Weight

The End

LEt it BE

Two of Us

Dig A Pony

Across The Universe

Let It Be

I’ve Got A Feeling

One After 909

The Long and Winding Road

Get Back

PASt MAStERs – volume 1

From Me To You – 1963

Thank You Girl – 1963

She Loves You – 1963

I’ll Get You – 1963

I Want to Hold Your Hand – 1963

This Boy – 1963

Long Tall Sally – 1964

I Call Your Name – 1964

Slow Down – 1964

Matchbox – 1964

I Feel Fine – 1964

She’s A Woman – 1964

Bad Boy – 1965

Yes It Is – 1965

I’m Down – 1965

PASt MAStERs – volume 2

Daytripper – 1965

We Can Work It Out – 1965

Paperback Writer – 1966

Rain – 1966

Hey Jude -1968

Revolution – 1968

Don’t Let Me Down – 1969

Ballad of John and Yoko – 1969

Old Brown Shoe

AntHOLOGY
In Spite of All The Danger
Bad to Me
Leave Me Kitten Alone
If You Got Trouble
That Means A Lot
Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues

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