Communism couldn’t stop power of the Fab Four | VailDaily.com
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Communism couldn’t stop power of the Fab Four

Shauna Farnell
Special to the Daily Very close to the Beatles, The Backwards from Slovakia bring the Beatles' early favorites to the Sand Bar tonight.
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VAIL – Anyone who doubts the ongoing global influence of The Beatles should check out a Slovakian tribute band that has won awards in both the United States and the United Kingdom for its impeccable covers of the Fab Four.With limited access to The Beatles and the world’s other most influential artists during the Communist regime that fell in 1989, a couple of young guitarists in the Eastern Slovakian city of Kosice took up the guitar and began focusing on Beatles’ favorites. Now Dalibor Stroncer plays the part of John Lennon, Miroslav Dzunko Paul McCartney, Daniel Skorvaga the part of Ringo Starr and Frantisek Suchansky George Harrison in The Backwards, an all Czechoslovakian ensemble that has each Beatles’ era down to the finest octave.”We lived on the same street and met when I was 3 and he was 4,” said Stroncer of Dzunko. “We started playing guitar at the age of 14, but there was no intention of doing The Beatles revival. But once we started a band and got a drummer, we were singing Beatles’ songs and our friends said we sounded pretty close.”After a decade of perfecting Beatles’ tunes, Stroncer not only speaks English like a native, but even has the hint of a Liverpool accent. “In the UK, it was pretty wild,” said Stroncer of his bands’ performance in London’s Camden Town Hall. “It’s quite strange to play their music to people who knew it so well. We met the former manager of the Fab Four, and he couldn’t understand how we weren’t Scousers (people from the Liverpool area).”

While most of the western world was inundated with the Beatles in the 1960s and 70s, members of The Backwards were only exposed to songs in contraband style.”When we were younger, we lived under the Communist regime,” Stroncer said. “We had family gatherings where someone would have a Beatles’ album, but their wasn’t much on the telly or radio. Mostly it was smuggled over.”

From what they could get tuned into, The Beatles’ sound, Stroncer said, enraptured he and his band members from the beginning.”It was something different compared to what was played on state radio,” Stroncer said. “First of all, it was in English. It was that poppy thing. It sounded different. We tried to copy that. At first we were like, speaking Indian. Then we started to learn English.”If one listens to The Backwards’ version of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Twist and Shout,” “Can’t By Me Love,” or a number of other tunes the world knows from start to finish, one is hard-pressed to distinguish them from The Beatles’ originals.”They are really good,” said George Vlcek, who books Czech and Slovak bands to play all around Colorado. “They just got back from a Beatles festival in Kentucky and they’ve won the (New York Beatlefest) contest a couple of times. They got an offer to do the Fab Four Beatles’ show in Vegas. They really have it down to the T.”Vlcek himself grew up in the Czech Republic, and also remembers the hushed but unmistakable Beatles’ fever slipping into the country through the shell of former Communist rule.”Somehow it seeped through,” Vlcek said. “You picked up on it. I remember having a Beatles haircut. All that stuff got smuggled in and passed around.”Today, some of the biggest Backwards’ fans in the band’s homecountry are teenagers.”Sometimes it’s very surprising when you see those young kids at shows,” Stroncer said. “Back home we have a young crowd. It’s really kind of cool. They didn’t know that music at all. It was us who presented them with The Beatles for the first time. All of a sudden, you see them collecting all of the old stuff.”

The BackwardsWhat: Beatles’ tribute bandWhere: The Sandbar in West VailWhen: 9 p.m. ThursdayInfo: Cover is $5 at the door

Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 748-2936 or sfarnell@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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