By John Philip Wyllie
Following a pair of well-received performances south of the border in Tecate, The Baja Buggs, San Diego’s Hispanic Beatles tribute band, is set to perform July 20 at San Diego’s eighth annual Beatle Fair. The all-day event will take place at Mission Valley’s Scottish Rite Temple from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and include a wide variety of Beatles related, performances, exhibits, memorabilia and films.
Having impressed at last year’s Beatlefair and at a similar event last December in Pasadena, Hector Penalosa (bass), Javier Anaya (lead guitar), Ricky Serrano (drums) and Josh Namm (rhythm guitar) are ready to rock playing their repertoire of early Beatles music.
“We like to focus on the rock ‘n’ roll side of the Beatles,” explained Penalosa. “They played a wide variety of different styles, but we have always liked the energy of their rock ‘n’ roll stuff and their songs that have that edge.”
Unlike most Beatles tribute bands, the Baja Buggs shy away from performing many of the band’s biggest hits. Instead, they seek out the more obscure early Beatles compositions and songs that the band covered during their Liverpool and Hamburg period, prior to becoming international superstars. For a true Beatles connoisseur, the Baja Buggs provide an opportunity to gain an insight into what started the band down its remarkable road to success.
“At a Beatle fair, you might end up hearing the same song played six or seven times by a variety of different groups. We fill in the void or gap (in the Beatles catalogue),” said Penalosa.
Recently, the band added its first non-Hispanic member, rhythm guitarist, Josh Namm. And since that time, the band’s set list has grown to include album cuts such as, “Little Child,” “Bad Boy,” “Dizzy Miss Lizzy and “All I’ve Got to Do.”
“You can compare the Beatles’ sound to a piece of great classical music,” Penalosa said. “The music speaks for itself. It crosses cultures and borders much like the air and the clouds. There are millions of Beatles fans in Mexico and everywhere else because the music has such a good, positive vibe to it.”
This year’s Beatle Fair includes Gordon Waller (formerly of Peter and Gordon), Tony Sheridan, Ringo Starr collaborator, Mark Hudson, San Diego’s award winning classic rock ensemble, Rockola, the OffBeats and BackBeat. The Baja Buggs will make an additional appearance the evening of August 2 at Linda Vista’s Tio Leo’s. For further information and tickets call (619) 687-3687 or go to www.beatlefair.com