|The Be Bops, 20 Years of Rockabilly Music
It was in 1978 that Mario Matucci (Guitars) and Walter Tollis (Double Bass) had the idea of forming a band. Having rock 'n' roll as a common musical interest, they tried out several different formulas before forming The Be Bops at the end of 1981. Dario Matucci, Mario's younger brother, who was also bitten by the rock 'n' roll bug, took up drumming. They were joined by their neighbour and friend David Vandenbussche, aka David Green, on vocals. In this period they rehearsed weekly. A friend came by and asked them if they would play at an Italian party where he would be the DJ. It was at this party, at Manceau Sur Sambre, that the Be Bops gave their first concert in January 1982. The 250 people who attended the gig were very enthusiastic and it has to be mentioned that David, who had just turned 13, already had a certian capacity for singing. But more important is the fact that the audience was pleasantly suprised by the style of music played by the band: fifties rock 'n' roll.
The songs they played in those days was stuff like "Move It" (Cliff Richard), "Red Blue Jeans And A Ponitail" (Gene Vincent) and "Sweet Love On My Mind" (Johnny Burnette). Despite the initial success, the year 1982 turned out to be a year of hard work. They had to wait until 1983 to start gigging in the vicinity of Charleroi, La Louviere, Namur. It has to be said though that there wasn't much of a public for this kind of music in the south of Belgium, but the Be Bops worked hard and wrote songs to establish their repertoire. At the beginning of 1984 they made their first studio recordings. Two songs were recorded in a small studio Marchienne Au Pont - "Give Me Your Love" and "When The Jukebox Burns", both tracks written by Mario. Concerts were coming in more regularly and the rockabilly scene was taking an interest in the band. French rock 'n' roll magazine "Crazy News" featured an article on the band and they signed a deal for a 7" with Black Jack Records' from Liege. The 7" came out in December 1984. It was in this period that founding member Walter Tollis left the band and was replaced by Salvatore Dorange on double bass. Thanks to the 7", their field of action got bigger. They started to perfrom throughout the whole of Belgium: Liege, Ghent, Brussels, Tournai, Namur... all fell for the Be Bops.
More important was that the first gigs in France were coming in and the fact that they played at the Wildboys Festival in Wieze in 1985 (with Rollercoasters, Sugar Ray Ford & The Hot Shots, Riot Rockers, Sid King etc). Their repertoire in those days consisted mainly of stuff from Vincent, Burnette, some vocal jivers and their own compositions. The Be Bops gave a couple of interviews on the local radio stations in order to promote their 7". But just when the band was making real progress, Dario decided to leave the band in December '85. This was a very strong blow to the others, espesially since they weren't able to find a replacement drummer. The Be Bops spent the year 1986 without playing any gigs. From this period they only left four self penned tracks: two on the forementioned '45 and two unreleased: "Too Long For You" and "Get Out". These four tracks did appear on video though in '85.
In May '87, Mario and David met a guy called Didier Stein at a concert. Didier has been playing drums and luckily likes rock 'n' roll. By September '87 they had a new repertoire and could start gigging again. By the end of April '88 they had given about a dozen gigs. But in this period the Belgain rock 'n' roll scene started to weaken and the Be Bops lost touch with the scene. Didier lost interest and when he left, the Be Bops were again searching for a drummer. During this period the Be Bops did not write any songs, but did record a couple of demos with the covers of their repertoire in those days like "99 Wags", "Rock Therapy, "You Sould Have Told Me" and "Anyway". It is back in '91 that David asked Mario, Salvatore and Dario whether they wanted to do a one-time reunion concert to brighten his marriage. So the Be Bops rehearsed again, now in a small American bar in Charleoi - The Bubble Gum. At the same time, Mario and Salvatore helped out at a Domino's gig at a rock 'n' roll club. Talking to Patrick Oucherne, the latter convinced them that there still is a rock 'n' roll scene and that the Be Bops deserve to be a part of it.
Patrick brought the Be Bops into contact with Ben Aisa (current bass-player for the Domingos & Running Wild). After having done a couple of concerts in the Charleroi region, Ben put on the Be Bops as support for the Rimshots (Brussels, January '92) and Big Sandy (Merchtem, May '92). So slowly but surely the band got back in touch with the rock 'n' roll scene. They even had a couple of gigs in France and signed a CD deal with Rockhouse. They record 15 Songs in June '92 and the CD "Hot Weather" was released in November '92. Thanks to the CD, their concert agenda for '93 was fully booked. They also managed to get a couple of radio interviews in this period. So everything was going great for the Be Bops. Since their CD sold very well they decided to record a new 7". They finally made it to the studio in April '93 where they recorded tracks which only appeared later on their second CD - no 7" was released. After their gig at the Cruise-Inn, Amsterdam, in September '93, Dario announced that he is going to leave the band again and that they have to look for a new drummer. They found Pascal Lunari, an old friend of the Matucci brothers, and when he was finally ready in Januar '94, he took the place of Dario.
The replacement didn't cause any difficulty and luckily no break in the career of the Be Bops this time. From April '94 they started working on their record another nine tracks for the CD "Celebratin", which came out in December '94 on the Rockhouse label. The CD contained six originals (all written by Mario) and nine covers and received good criticisms in all the specialized music magazines. The effect of the new CD was sensed immediately 'cause from January '95 on, the Be Bops have played in Metz, Strasbourg, Charleville, Jouez Les Tours, Lyon, Paris and Monpellier (France), Rockhouse Festival in Oss and Breda (Holland), Bielefeld, Hamburg, Berlin, & the Life Club Munderkingen (Germany), Flamin' Rock Festival Arendonk and loads of local gigs.
In July they recorded "White Xmas" for the "You Can't Stop The Christmas Hop" compliation LP for Be Be's Records. In Januar '96, Pascal decided to leave the band for private reasons. Once again an old Be Bops friend came to rescue the band. The new drummer is Roland Vandy. He is nothing but Salvatore's brother in law. After three months of hard rehearsing the band was able to perform again. Just in time for the outcome of their new single issued on the German label Part Records. Both songs "Gonna Find Me A Baby" and "All I Need" were recorded at Matt Barney's Studio. This single got rave revues in every specialised magazine and took the band all over Europe again from April to November '96.
At the same time, they wrote new songs and Part Records signed the Be Bops for a 10" LP. The band recorded five originals and five covers in a high energic rockabilly style in early January '97. The interest in their new 10" brought them to the 18th Hemsby Weekenders in England, were they did a dynamic stage show which drove the audience wild. During the summer 1997, the band was back in studio where they covered three old hillbilly songs in their own particular way and recorded one new original. These four tracks are inclosed in their CD entiteled "Let's Keep Things Movin'" which came out in October '97 on Part Records (Germany). Since then the band just keeps on playing in the European circuit, as much as possible.
Courtesy of Part Records, used with permission
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