Beatles cover band re-unites for charity.
When Larry Gates and Larry Hochman were growing up in Fair Lawn, they used to walk home from school singing Beatles songs together. When they were teenagers, they played in a Beatles cover band with a close friend, Jeff Kaye. Larry, Larry, and Jeff are adults now, and they are still mimicking the Fab Four. But now, they’re doing it for charity.
"When Hurricane Katrina hit, the first thought I had [about where to hold a charity concert] was that I should do it in town, like on Broadway or in a cabaret" said Hochman, a professional orchestrator and composer, who has been nominated for Tony Awards for his work on the Broadway shows "Spamalot," "Fiddler on the Roof," and "A Class Act."
"But I called up [Rabbi Jonathan Woll] at Temple Avodah in Fair Lawn, and he said we could have a concert at the Temple," Hochman said. "So I said that the best idea would be to get my old band back together."
So, "Ticket to Ride" got back together. Their Oct. 15 show at Temple Avodah raised over $1,500 for hurricane relief. The next day, they raised more as part of a town-wide benefit concert in Maywood. Their next performance is Saturday, Dec. 10, at 8p.m. at Reconstructionist Temple Beth Israel of Bergen County in Maywood. There is a $10 (or more) suggested donation at the door.
The band features Gates on bass guitar and vocals, Hochman on guitars and vocals, and Kaye on acoustic and electric guitars. Lennie Del Duca joins them on percussion and vocals, and drummer Russ T. Blades rounds out the outfit.
Ticket to Ride or "The Flab Five," as Gates refers to them will also perform Jan. ‘9 at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood to help pay the medical bills of Del Duca’s two-year-old son Sebastian, who was injured in a car accident in Hawthorne.
"Because we’re playing for charity, I’m very emotional about it," said Hochman, "but as soon as the music starts, it takes over, and the waves of fun go between us and the audience. If the whole audience would walk out after one song, I’d still play."
Singer-songwriter Michelle Citrin, the youth director at Temple Avoda, has opened for Ticket to Ride at all of their performances, and Gates said they are in contact with her regarding her availability to play on the tenth.
Ticket to Ride’s existence is a tribute to Gates’s and Hochman’s lifelong friendship. For twelve years, they won awards composing advertising jingles for television and radio. Initially, Gates had a recording studio in his basement in Fair Lawn. Then, he and Hochman moved their business to New York City and built a studio there.
After Hochman got married, he moved into the house Gates used to own, just to keep the studio. The studio is no longer functional, but Gates built another one in his Fair Lawn home. He is also a partner in the "Sonic Park Recording" studio in Paramus (www.sonicparkrecording.com), where Ticket to Ride rehearses most Tuesday nights.
"Individually, we all maintained our Beatle lust," said Hochman, "and more closely learned the original Beatles’ parts and harmonies, so when [Ticket to Ride] got together, it was more serious [than it was when we were teenagers]."
"Everybody has a fanatical attention to detail," added Gates. "Everybody wants to nail the parts as much as possible. We really get into the sweat and the details."
Hochman and Gates are both heavily involved with the Jewish music scene. Hochman composed "In Memoriam," a Holocaust commemorative piece performed by the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra and published by E.B. Marks.
Gates mixes and produces music for Jewish artists such as Avraham Fried, The Chevra and Mordechai ben David, and he also does work for children’s artist Uncle Moishy. He also wrote the theme song lyrics for the Hebrew Academy for Special Children (HASC).
But for them the new incarnation of Ticket to Ride is as much about an old friendship as it is about new charity.
"We’ve continued to be best friends throughout all these years," Hochman said of himself and Gates. "He’s the first person I ever met that loved music as much as I did."