Bringing Beatlemania Back to Life

Charters joined the Australian-based Beatlemania On Tour for its original show in 2008, and except for a brief hiatus, has been a mainstay for the production in the role of McCartney.

“I was playing bass at the time, so I became the bass player which was Paul McCartney,” he says. “It worked out well for what we look like, but I was campaigning to play John Lennon because it would have suited me being right-handed and the singing is a bit easier.

“I got given the Paul part and I have enjoyed it. It’s been a challenge and now I can brag I can play left and right-handed, which I couldn’t have done otherwise.”

The other members of Beatlemania On Tour Zac Coombs (John Lennon), Brent McMullen (George Harrison) and Ben Harper (Ringo Starr) live in Sydney, Melbourne and Bundaberg respectively.

Unfairly or not, McCartney is often maligned as the “soft” or “poppy” one, compared to the harder rock’n’roll image of Lennon. Almost a decade of donning the mop-top wig and the Hofner bass has forced Charters to research deeply both the music and personality of McCartney.

“There is an element of that [soft poppy side], but some of the songs he wrote do rock,” he says. “His vocal and the way he can hit the notes. Songs like Helter Skelter, that’s a rock vocal.

“He’s got very good variety in his tones and the way he can deliver a rock song and then go and do a ballad as well. He’s obviously a great songwriter. It’s not the same song every time. He has a few strings to his bow.”

The former Warners Bay High student began his music career in original acts Crossfire and Scapegoat, who enjoyed minor success in band competitions, before he began playing bass in tribute shows.

Charters racked up an impressive resume of Meatloaf, Fleetwood Mac, Robbie Williams and Queen tribute shows before joining Beatlemania On Tour. He’s since added the David Bowie Ashes To Ashes to his eclectic catalogue.

“Bowie involves a lot more groundwork and more study of what he did on stage,” he says. “It’s pretty much the same routine, learn his voice, all the mannerisms, learn all the songs and study as much video as you can. It’s a challenge, but it’s what I do and I love it.”

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