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Beatlejuice rocks for Melrose families

Posted by Marcia Dick  April 13, 2010 10:04 AM

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Mike Angelo photos

They might be too young to remember the real Beatles, but kids rock out during the Beatlejuice performance.

John Muzzy, drummer for the local Beatles tribute band Beatlejuice, smiles inside when he hears songs like “Good Day Sunshine” on the radio, even while he’s getting a root canal.

Muzzy, 54, of Woburn couldn’t have been happier about playing the Melrose Knights of Columbus food drive benefit concert for the fifth year running. The event is all music, all Beatles, all night.

‘‘This was by far the most successful show yet,’’ said Mike DiPirro, chancellor of the Melrose Knights of Columbus, after Friday’s event. The Melrose Memorial Hall, where the event is held each spring, holds 800 people. This year’s event attracted 800 people, more than ever before.

‘‘This has snowballed into something really special,’’ said DiPirro.

The K of C collaborates with Melrose Mayor Robert Dolan to determine where proceeds will go. They select a handful of families who need help with mortgage, health, or other bills to receive cash donations.

The rest goes toward Christmas baskets for 100 families. Each basket includes a complete turkey dinner from Shaw's, a Shaw’s gift card, and a gift card to the Melrose Army & Navy Store, where families can purchase winter gear they would otherwise be unable to afford.

‘‘We always have to grow because the need is always growing,’’ said DiPirro.
 
Beatlejuice has been a big part of that growth. The benefit shows are open to all ages and attract fans as young as 8 to as old as 75. ‘‘It’s a great big party,’’ said DiPirro.

‘‘Beatlejuice is our bowling team,’’ said Muzzy with a laugh. He and his bandmates started the Beatles tribute band ‘‘on a lark,’’ expecting it to last half a year at most, and chose the Beatles because there was no other music they could agree to play. Eighteen years later, he and his friends are still going strong.

They play a lot of clubs — Johnny D’s in Davis Square is something of a home base — but Beatlejuice loves a family show. ‘‘We’ve seen people meet, get married, and bring their kids to our shows,’’ said Muzzy.

He believes this is only possible with Beatles music. Unlike music of the ’70s and ’80s, it’s timeless. ‘‘The Beatles did it all,’’ said Muzzy. ‘‘And we’re still riding on their coattails.’’ In addition, the Beatles edition of the popular video game ‘‘Rock Band’’ seems to have been a catalyst for more interest.

But even better than a family show is a family show for a good cause. Beatlejuice has supported causes for sexually abused children, those who suffer from depression, and people caught in life crises. They still participate in fund-raisers to help victims of 9/11, and they’re happy to play in support of school clubs and sports teams.

‘‘You get to be a hero, and you’re doing what you love,’’ said Muzzy. If a charitable heart is heritable, Muzzy got it from his grandmother, who helped the homeless in Somerville while Muzzy was growing up.

The causes may be serious, but the shows are anything but somber. DiPirro said people started calling the morning after to say how much fun they had. ‘‘Playing this show is a blast,’’ said Muzzy. ‘‘A no brainer.’’

‘‘People already want to know if they can reserve tables for next year,’’ said DiPirro. The answer is yes.

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Beatlejuice performs at Melrose's Memorial Hall.


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