Fab Faux bring Beatles tunes to New Brunswick

East Brunswick native Jack Petruzzelli plays keyboards & guitar

BY AMY ROSEN Staff Writer

East Brunswick native Jack Petruzzelli plays keyboards & guitar
Areunion of the original members of The Beatles would really be something, but fate would not let it be. However, with a little help from the members of the Fab Faux, audiences can hear the music of the Fab Four performed live in concert, sounding as if John, Paul, George and Ringo have come together once again.

Jack Petruzzelli, Jimmy Vivino, Will Lee, Frank Agnello and Rich Pagano (l-r), who are The Fab Faux, will bring the music of the Beatles to audiences at the State Theatre, New Brunswick, on Oct. 10.

Audiences can be immersed in the Fab Faux experience when the band takes the stage for two shows at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Oct. 10 at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. The Fab Faux will be accompanied by the Hogshead Horns and Creme Tangerine Strings.

With a commitment to the accurate reproduction of The Beatles’ repertoire, the Fab Faux are known for their meticulous recreations of the songs many people have come to know and love, with an emphasis on the later works that were never performed live by the Beatles.

The Fab Faux brings together the talents of New York musicians Will Lee, Jimmy Vivino, Rich Pagano, Jack Petruzzelli and Frank Agnello.

The idea for The Fab Faux was conceived in 1998 when neighbors Vivino and Lee kicked around the idea during an elevator ride in their New York City building.

Vivino is the guitarist/arranger for the Max Weinberg 7 on "Late Night With Conan O’Brien," which is currently called Max Weinberg and the Tonight Show Band on "The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien," and Lee is the bassist for Paul Shaffer’s CBS Orchestra on the "Late Show With David Letterman."

Vivino and Lee recruited singer-drummer producer Pagano, guitarist Agnello and kyeboardist-guitarist Petruzzelli.

All five principals contribute lead and harmonizing vocals in the Fab Faux.

According to Petruzzelli, 45, who grew up in East Brunswick, attended Rutgers University, and performed at venues in New Brunswick such as the Court Tavern, everyone in The Fab Faux has equal parts in singing all parts.

"There’s no John, Paul, George and Ringo, it’s about playing the music, not dressing up, although there’s nothing wrong with that," said Petruzzelli. "It’s a constant study focusing on the music."

Petruzzelli likened his Fab Faux experience to being in a chamber ensemble or orchestra in which musical masterpieces are replicated with precision.

He explained that some of the songs take a long time to come to fruition once the musicians decide to add them to the band’s repertoire.

For instance, he said, "When we first started working on ‘the white album,’ ‘Revolution No. 9’ took about 70 to 80 hours (from beginning to end with) Will Lee and Frank (Agnello) collecting and replicating the songs on weekends and then hours in the rehearsal studio playing it. Jimmy writes out the songs and we practice at SIR (Sound in Records) in New York."

Petruzzelli said the Fab Faux musicians currently know approximately 80 percent of The Beatles’ catalogue of music, which represents about 170 songs. Some performances consist of songs from throughout The Beatles’ career and other shows replicate the songs from an entire Beatles album.

At the State Theatre, the Fab Faux will perform a mixed bag show featuring fan favorites at 4 p.m. and the British version of "Rubber Soul" in its entirety at 8 p.m., plus the Best of Strings and Horns.

Petruzzelli said one of his earliest memories of Beatles music was when he was 4 years old, riding in the back of his mom’s car, and he heard "Hello, Goodbye." From that moment on he loved The Beatles and his mom took him to see the movies that The Beatles made.

He said, "To this day I still love listening (to The Beatles’ music) and feel blessed that I get to play it. Playing the State Theatre has a special significance for me. Having lived in New Brunswick for 10 years, getting my start at the Court Tavern, getting to hear so much great music in that town and still being part of it makes me smile. I love being part of the musical history of New Brunswick, however small a part I play in it."

While Petruzzelli said none of the surviving Beatles have seen their show, "It would be a dream come true if we happened to be in the same town and Paul or Ringo came to see us."

The Fab Faux have played at major venues throughout the United States and Canada.

They have headlined four of the last five years at Liverpool’s annual Beatles Week, playing before crowds of 34,000 Beatles fans. They have also done many benefits and corporate shows.

"I don’t think any of us anticipated that it would get as big as it did," said Petruzzelli. "The first year we played six or seven shows, then it went up to 20 or more. We’ve gained momentum over the years."

He said even though the Fab Faux keeps them busy, all of the band members still have time for their own projects.

The State Theatre is at 15 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick. Tickets for the Oct. 10 shows at either 4 p.m. or 8 p.m. range from $40 to $110. Visit www.statetheatrenj. org/fab_faux or call 732-246- SHOW(7469) for details and tickets.