Meatloaf, Fleetwood Mac, Robbie Williams, Queen and David Bowie are all stage personas Cameron Charters has adopted.
Imagine then, what the Eleebana musician went through to adopt the guise of Paul McCartney, in the tribute band Beatlemania, including one striking detail.
“When I first started I was playing right-handed and Paul McCartney is obviously a left-handed bass player so I had to swap around,” Charters said. “There’s a lot to get right – the voice and then there’s the appearance obviously – a lot of little details like the mannerisms, facial expressions and the way he moves around on stage.”
There are millions of Beatles fanatics around the world you can identify the most obscure Fab Four references and The Beatles tribute circuit is also a competitive business.
Bands like the Bootleg Beatles and The Beatnix have toured the world for more than three decades and have developed massive followings. 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.
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.”
Beatlemania On Tour comes to the Civic Theatre on October 18. To win a double pass send your daytime contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Beatlemania’ by 5pm, October 15.