Paul Curatolo has been a fan of The Beatles for as long as he can remember — which is not hard when your father is a member of a Beatles tribute band.
A few years ago, his father, Joey Curatolo, asked if he wanted to join RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles acting as Sir Paul McCartney. The songs the band performs include “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Hard Day’s Night,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Let It Be,” “Come Together” and “Hey Jude.”
“(My father) just kind of gave me a look one day and said ‘Would you be interested maybe trying to tackle this?’” the 24-year-old said. “So he put the bass in my hand and taught me a couple bass lines and I just kind of took to it. So he said ‘If you really feel that you want to do this, let’s do this.’ So over the course of those next two years, we trained one-on-one and he kind of molded me and stuff like that.”
In RAIN, each member of The Beatles is portrayed by two separate musicians, so the Curatolos trade off playing McCartney as they tour across the country.
Joey Curatolo played McCartney in the band for 35 years and was a part of Beetlemania before joining RAIN. With his vast experience, he taught his son the ropes of turning himself into the famous bass player. Paul Curatolo joined the show in August 2013.
Paul Curatolo said he had to learn everything about McCartney, from his eyebrows to his personality.
“(McCartney’s) eyebrows are iconic, everyone who knows him knows he’s got those dreamy, droopy eyes and those sharp, perfect eyebrows, so that’s important,” he said. “When the curtain comes up, that’s the first thing I feel the audience looks for, they try to pick out which Beatle everyone is playing and how close the likeness is.”
Because Paul Curatolo grew up with his father performing in RAIN, music has always been a big part of his life. He taught himself to play the drums at 10 years old and was later part of a pop band called Wayward in his hometown of Reno, Nevada.
On the day of a show, Paul Curatolo spends the time between sound check and the start of the show listening to Beatles records while he gets himself into the right frame of mind to play McCartney.
What’s it like to perform as an iconic musician? Paul Curatolo said it’s an incredible experience to get up on stage and see the audience’s reaction while they try to figure out what they’re seeing.
“It is really surreal,” he said. “The first couple of songs, they’re just kind of looking at us and they’re really taking in the LEDs and just the enormity of the show. But by the time we get to the Shea Stadium era and play ‘Twist and Shout’ and stuff like that, we’ve got everybody dancing and then we can all just have a good time. ... It’s kind of a hybrid between a Broadway show and a rock concert.”
Paul Curatolo said each year the tour is different, so there’s a lot of learning and changing that he has to go through. Learning The Beatles more than 200-song anthology has been a challenge and while Paul said he doesn’t know every single song, he’s getting there.
While following in his father’s footsteps playing McCartney in a tribute band wasn’t on his radar when Paul Curatolo was younger, now he said it’s like he’s doing what he’s supposed to do.
“I guess I was bred for it,” he said. “All my life, it’s always been the classics, everyone from The Beatles, the Stones all the way through to Bacharach. Growing up listening to the solid, classic, timeless music and then once I hit adolescence I grew an identity of my own and started listening to pop rock music — everything from Fall Out Boy to Green Day — then I guess I came full circle. ... I love all that ’60s music and ’60s style, so this gig is perfect for me.”
If you go:
What: RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles
Where: Hershey Theatre, 15 E. Caracas Ave., Hershey
When: 8 p.m. June 21
Information: Tickets can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 534-3405 or online at www.ticketmaster.com/rain-hershey-pennsylvania-06-21-2014/event/02004C28815E410B?artistid=748767&majorcatid=10001&minorcatid=1