By Amanda C. Thompson
Gordon College News Service
Gordon College News Service
April 11, 2010
(This story appeared April 13 in the Boston Globe, Melrose edition.)
Even when he’s getting a root canal and a Beatles song like “Good Day Sunshine” comes on the radio, John Muzzy is happy. In fact, that song in particular takes him to the Batman comic books he used to read while listening to the record. No wonder Muzzy, 54, of Woburn and drummer for the local band Beatlejuice, is thrilled about playing the Melrose Knights of Columbus food drive benefit concert for the fifth running year. 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 sold 800 tickets, more than ever before. “This has snowballed into something really special,” said DiPirro.
The “K of C” collaborate with Rob Dolan, Mayor of Melrose, 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 Stop and Shop, a Shaw’s gift card, and a gift card to the Melrose Army and 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.
Fortunately, Beatlejuice has been a big part of that growth. The benefit shows are open to all ages and attract fans as young as eight 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 band mates 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 best friends are still going strong.
They play a lot of clubs – Johnny D’s in Davis Square is something of a home base for the band – 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. The band members hail from big rock bands like Boston and Farrenheit, yet they care immensely for the little guy.
Beatlejuice has supported causes for sexually abused children, those who suffer from depression, and people caught in life crises. They still participate in fundraisers 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 out 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.