An Interview with 1964 The Tribute's "John Lennon"

We were lucky enough to talk with Mark Benson, 1964 The Tribute’s “John Lennon,” about their upcoming performance!

1964 The Tribute performs at the Duke Energy Center for the Arts – Mahaffey Theater on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 8pm.


1964 The Tribute focuses primarily on the live performances the Beatles made between 1963-1966. Is your dialogue in the show directly quoted from one performance, or are these quotes and interactions between John, Paul, George and Ringo from different appearances?

We occasionally use phrases that The Beatles used in their live shows, but most of our between song dialogue is created by us making sure it reflects the colloquialisms, style and humor they used in the early 60s.


How did you source all your authentic instruments? Was it an adventure to find these models? Are there any modifications/customizations to the instruments you’ve had to make?

When we started this band in 1984, there was no Ebay or internet for that matter. In order to acquire vintage instruments you had local want ads in newspapers, music stores and word of mouth. The Ludwig drums, Vox amplifiers, Gretsch, Hofner, Gibson and Rickenbacker guitars were all sold in large enough numbers that you could find the vintage models from local owners or music shops. The only exception was the Rickenbacker 325 model that John Lennon played.

These were not sold in great numbers and were a bit like hens teeth to try and find. If you were lucky enough to find one, it likely wasn’t for sale. So, being that I had been in the guitar repair and restoration business for several years, I gathered as much info from pictures and owners as I could and made the two guitars I needed for the show from scratch. All our instruments play and sound like the one The Beatles used without modifications.


I have to ask… Are the mop tops real?

The hair is real human hair and we own it. So, technically, it’s our real hair…😉 Three wear wigs and one does not. You decide.


1964 The Tribute has been touring for more than 35 years. Do you have favorite venues or cities you’ve visited?

I think it would be unanimous that our favorite indoor venue would have to be NYC’s Carnegie Hall (14 times) and the most amazing outdoor venue would be Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado (15 Times).


If you could perform any Beatles song outside of the 1964 era, which would you choose?

Wow! That would be very difficult to limit it to just one album never mind just one song. There is so much great music from all eras of the Beatles career. ‘Revolution’ is one I enjoy performing.


Do you remember the first time you listened to the Beatles?

Yes! On the local AM radio station I heard ‘She Loves You” and ‘Love Me Do’ in early 1964. ‘Meet The Beatles’ was the first LP I ever bought. I only had 45’s before that.


Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Just vocal warm-ups before showtime. Singing for about 1/2 hour prior to going on stage.


What’s the best advice you ever received about performing?

Study, practice and improve always, but when you get on stage allow yourself to really enjoy the chemistry you have with your bandmates. The audience will remember this most of all.


If you could tell aspiring musicians one thing, what would it be?

If music and performing is what you love, then be the best musician and performer you can be. The rest will follow.


Have you ever played Beatles Rockband? If so, who in the band is the best?

Hahaha! Yes, we’ve all played it and I’m quite sure we all think we are the best at it!!!!