GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Carbondale native Ben Wright never knew he would someday channel the music of the most successful act in the history of music for a living.
Now he lives and breathes the songs of the Beatles.
Wright plays the drums and strings for Beatles tribute band Doctor Robert. As a kid growing up in the Roaring Fork Valley, he didn’t have a lot of exposure to the Fab Four’s music.
But he quickly learned.
“I was raised on country music, and my mom sang at church,” he said. “I didn’t really know any Beatles songs, so I picked up a copy of ‘The Beatles: Complete Scores,’ which is about 1,000 pages long, and the band and I learned them.”
Wright joined Doctor Robert, which opens the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park’s Music on the Mountain series at 6 p.m. today, after the band saw his flyer posted for piano lessons. The Crested Butte-based quartet, named after the John Lennon and Paul McCartney song released Aug. 5, 1966, is celebrating its third anniversary in September and features Wright, Casey Falter, Karen Janssen and Kevin Reinert. The foursome is committed to learning the more than 200 rock ’n’ roll songs the Beatles wrote and recorded in the 1960s.
“We know 105 songs more than two years later, and we’re loving it,” Wright said. “We’re learning five songs a month. We just learned ‘You Never Give Me Your Money.’ Every Beatles song is different, and they are all very intricately written.”
A 2003 graduate of Roaring Fork High School, Wright didn’t start playing music until he attended Western State Colorado in Gunnison to obtain degrees in percussion and business.
“I started taking a music class at Western. I played my first instrument, and I was hooked,” he said. “The faculty at Western showed me how I could make a living playing music, and it went from there. I play drums primarily, and the piano. I also play all the percussion instruments in the symphony.”
Wright said in younger years he was more interested in playing soccer and baseball than music.
“My sister would come home from piano lessons crying, and I didn’t want any part of that,” he said.
As the drummer for Doctor Robert and a professional piano teacher and tuner, Wright said he can’t imagine life without music.
“There’s just nothing like it,” he said. “The band has played over 100 gigs now. We play in Aspen a lot, and Denver. We’ve played all the ski towns in Colorado, and we just played in Taos. After every show we always have people come up to us and say great things.”
Wright said one memorable offering of feedback sticks in his mind.
“We were playing in Del Norte one time, and a lady came up to us after the show. She said, ‘Have you ever heard of a place called Red Rocks? You should play there,’” he recalled. “That would be a dream come true.”
Playing Beatles music live for a range of audiences is what Wright enjoys the most about his role in Doctor Robert.
“A lot of their music they didn’t get to play live because they literally couldn’t play anymore because of the screaming fans. It was that loud at their concerts,” he said. “At the end of their career they just went into the studio. We really like that we can play the songs for people that they never performed live.”
Wright said today’s show at the Caverns will be a treat for all ages, especially for a group of youngsters celebrating a birthday.
“We can play anywhere, to anyone … kids, grandparents,” he said. “There’s a little boy who really loves the Beatles who’s having a 7-year-old birthday party. So they’re bringing the whole party up there. We always get a wide range of fans.”
After today’s show, Doctor Robert will return to the valley to play the Black Nugget in Carbondale on Saturday, June 15, and the Ajax Tavern in Aspen on Friday, June 28.