Beatles tribute band Come Together to play The Harp
by BART MENDOZA
Published - 04/16/18 - 12:01 PM | 2255 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hector Penalosa
Hector Penalosa
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The most popular band in the world? Fifty years on from their demise, it’s still the Beatles. The No. 1 selling vinyl album in 2017? “Sgt. Pepper’s.” With such strong fan support it’s only natural that a number of tribute bands to the Fab Four are big draws in San Diego, with one of the best, Come Together, performing at The Harp on April 21.

The quartet draws from two different Beatles cover bands, David Lee Reynolds (keyboards, rhythm guitar, vocals) and Dave Keefer (lead guitar, vocals) from now defunct combo, Help, joining Hector Penalosa (bass, vocals) and Nico Peters (drums, vocals) of the Bajabugs.

“Come Together was started six months ago,” said Penalosa. “The Bajabugs and Help merged when David and Dave got offers for gigs but they had no bassist and drummer,” he explained. “Help had broken up at the time. So David asked Nico and I if we would help them out. He had sat in with The Bajabugs in the past when we needed a 'John Lennon' and he’s an awesome ‘John’ as well as an accomplished musician.”

Penalosa notes a big difference between the Bajabugs and Come Together. “With the former, we play the earlier material, with this new band we specialize in the later songs,” he said. “I like the fact that we are playing Beatles songs that are more challenging to play live. The audience is always pleasantly surprised to hear ' I Am The Walrus ', ‘Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds,’ ‘Helter Skelter’ and other tunes performed at our shows.”

Penalosa has been a mainstay of the local music scene since the late 1970s, playing original music with such legendary bands as The Zeros. His entry into the world of Beatles covers came about by accident.

“Bajabugs started 19 years ago, May 1999,” he mused. “We started out in order to help a friend at his wedding. The groom was a Beatles fan, and wanted a Beatles tribute band to play at the wedding reception, but the tribute band was asking for a lot of money, so I offered to help by getting some musician friends together and make his wish come true,” Penalosa said.

He points out that Bajabugs are very much still an ongoing concern. “We’re still going strong. Nico and I have the flexibility and luxury to play early Beatles with The Bajabugs and later Beatles with Come Together. In fact, it’s possible that Bajabugs will open the show occasionally, so it’s win-win for Beatles fans.”

While Penalosa is happy to team up with new players for Come Together, he is effusive about long time musical partner Nico Peters. “He is the consummate Beatle fan,” Penalosa said. “He knows everything Beatles. As well as playing all the drum parts correctly and also sing all the Ringo songs perfectly, which is what you want in a Beatles band. Nico is music focused, punctual, no B.S., positive, energetic, loving, friendly and an awesome band mate. One of, if not the best band mate I have ever been involved with. I love that guy.”

Penalosa continues to make music with his original band, My Revenge, which also includes Peters.

“I keep writing songs and recording. I 'm working on setting up a website to access the songs,” he said. But in the meantime, he’s more than happy to keep playing Beatles songs. “I've been playing them for 19 years now,” Penalosa said. “I too am a Beatles freak. I never get tired of playing their tunes. They are too much fun to not like them,” he said.

Come Together: Saturday, April 21. The Harp, 4935 Newport Ave. 9 p.m. 21 and up.

www.harpob.com

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