Jun 1 2011 By Siba Matti
Let's Hang On Frankie Valli tribute
Let's Hang On, a stellar tribute to 1960s singing sensations, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, are set to storm the Beck Theatre stage next Wednesday (8). Guitarist Dino Buttarazzi tells SIBA MATTI about the band's mission to 'keep the rock 'n' roll alive'.
WEST End musical Jersey Boys has sparked a fresh interest in the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, whose talent earned them a place in the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
But fans with neither the money or time to travel to central London can listen to the same sweet sounds right on their doorstep, courtesy of tribute act, Let's Hang On.
The foursome – collectively lead singer Robin Maughan, 31; guitarist Dino Buttarazzi, 37; bassist Martin Peat, 41; and drummer Scott Walker, 49 – have earned critical acclaim from The Times, BBC, The Paul O'Grady Show and The Stage.
They hope to have audiences singing at the top of their lungs during their visit to the Beck Theatre next Wednesday (8).
Let's Hang On officially formed a decade after Dino first stumbled across a Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons live concert on television in 1995.
"Out of curiosity I thought I'd see what it was like and it literally changed my life," Dino remembers.
"I instantly fell in love with the songs, that sound of the close-knit 'doo-wop' harmonies, Frankie's glass-breaking falsetto and the incredible musicianship all rolled into one.
"I watched it over and over, thinking about how great it would be to put a band together to play this wonderful music.
"I mentioned it to Martin and he agreed with what I was thinking, but for one reason or another, the timing wasn't right.
"But it never left my mind and a full 10 years down the line, we said, 'let's do it!'.
After spending literally hundreds of hours watching video footage and listening to and writing music, Dino and Martin began their search for fellow members, Scott and Robin.
Two years later, Let's Hang On, who all hail from Leicestershire, were ready to hit the road.
"We started in a local school hall and played everywhere we could, anywhere that would have us in fact," Dino explains.
"All we wanted to do was perfect the show and see what reaction we could get. As we had all hoped, the response was amazing.
"Numerous venues and management companies were concerned the music wouldn't sell, but the prestigious 500-seat Hamilton Town House Theatre in South Lanarkshire took a chance on us.
"It was a sell-out and several years later, we are happily touring and treading the very same boards of some of the world's greatest performers.
"We also enjoyed the great honour of performing for the Official Four Seasons Fan Club at the opening night of Jersey Boys in the West End."
So what can audiences expect to see at the Beck Theatre?
"It will be a great evening with everyone's favourite hits, from Big Girls Don't Cry and Walk Like A Man to Dec '63 (Oh What A Night) and Can't Take My Eyes Off You," Dino reveals.
"We have worked incredibly hard to make the whole show as authentic as possible, including the vocal harmonies which have been tricky to master.
"We have five costume changes throughout the show and play the same instruments as The Four Seasons – we just sound better," he jokes.
The show follows the story of Frankie and The Four Seasons from the start of their beautiful partnership in the 1960s.
"The show is a two-hour trip down memory lane and it's all about the music, almost like a tribute concert.
"People have said they prefer our show to the West End production, although it isn't a competition for us," Dino insists.
"We have played all over the UK as well as Australia, Dubai and America, and the response has been phenomenal, particularly in London.
"I think people are less reserved in this part of the world, they are only too happy to sing at the top of their voices and swing from the chandeliers!"
Let's Hang On have been surprised but delighted to see children as young as five or six enjoying their shows.
"It's amazing how many young people love the songs and know the words. We expected a middle-aged audience but it's far from it," says Dino.
"The 60's was an era full of fantastic bands, from the Beatles to the Beach Boys, and of course, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
"I suppose we are doing The Four Seasons a favour by keeping them in the limelight, but it is such an honour to play their music and people still want to hear it, 50 years after it began.
"Two cover versions of their song, Beggin, were released in 2008, including an electro mix and rap version.
"It just goes to show that good music, namely rock 'n' roll, never dies, and we are on a mission to keep it alive."
Let's Hang On – a tribute to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons comes to the Beck next Wednesday (8) at 7.30pm and tickets cost £16 - £17.50. For more information visit www.becktheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 020 8561 8371.