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The Pete Best Band appears at the Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry on June 10. Best, far left, is best known for his two-year stint as drummer of the original Beatles based in Liverpool.

LONDONDERRY | He was there in the beginning when history was being made, with a mother who loved and supported his talents and those of other youthful bands all over the region.

Pete Best, the Beatles' original drummer from 1960 to 1962, credits the love of his mom, Mona, as one of his great life achievements. He said her dedication to the young musicians in his native Liverpool, England, helped launch a lot of dreams and roads to success.

Mona Best opened the famous Casbah Coffee Club in the basement of her own home so her sons and other local bands could perform under its cavern-like ceilings and intimate decor | much of which was painted by the young Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

Best and his band arrive in Londonderry for a concert on Sunday, June 10, at the Tupelo Music Hall. Best, 65, will be the first to say it's a show worth seeing, with raucous, pounding early Liverpool sounds in the spotlight.

In a phone interview from his offices at the Casbah Coffee Club, Best said he and his band mates are really looking forward to the Tupelo show.

"There will be five of us," he said, adding that his brother Roag would be performing with him. "It will be a powerful show, right from start to finish | '50s, '60s, my era."

In the 40-plus years since the Beatles first arrived in America | with Ringo Starr in place as the drummer | the story of how Best was replaced remains the subject of musical conversations.

The former Fab Four drummer said the Tupelo concert will, indeed, have some of those early Beatles' moments and numbers, and is a nostalgic look back to those driving sounds coming out of the darkened, basement clubs in Liverpool.

When the Beatles, first known as the Quarrymen, took their spot on the Casbah stage in those early years, Best was eventually brought on to play drums. It's this early sound with the raw, thumping energy that made those years so integral to the way popular music has evolved, he said.

"We're enjoying putting all this into the act," Best said. "It takes us back to what the sound was in the '60s | raw, savage | and the crowds like it."

Groups like the Quarrymen were regular fixtures at the Casbah. Best said his mother was an "unsung hero" of those early days in Liverpool. She often brought in young talent to perform, but if they weren't quite ready when they arrived, she would send them off and encourage them to keep practicing.

"She would say, 'The door's not shut. Go away and practice, and the door will open again,'" he said.

The Casbah enjoyed a long history as one of the music world's most captivating sites, launching groups like the Beatles and more. Many say this is the place that started it all, and Best agreed. Stories of the famous "Cavern" club being the official Beatles launching site are often misguided, he added.

"Every young band that came through Liverpool came through the Casbah," Best said. "Everybody played here."

Best said his childhood home is now considered a historical building in Liverpool, and he and his two brothers still run the business and own the old Victorian building. The Casbah Coffee Club is a museum, business site and so much more.

"(My mother) left us the legacy of the old Casbah," Best said. "Her primary dream was to bring her vision to the kids of Liverpool."

Best said anyone coming to the Tupelo on June 10 should expect to have fun and hear some of the early sounds that made groups like the Beatles famous.

He and his band tour about seven months a year and during the down time, many other projects are in the works. Best also tours as a guest speaker, telling the stories of the formative years with John, Paul and George, when he was part of the Beatles' evolutionary musical journey.

"It was an incredible time," he said.



'If You Go"

What: The Pete Best Band

When: Sunday, June 10, 7 p.m.

Where: Tupelo Music Hall, 2 Young Road, Londonderry

How: $25 for reserved, theater-style seating. Call Tupelo at 437-5100 or visit online at www.tupelohall.com.

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