The Pete Best Band 

Wednesday, October 3, at the Winchester, Lakewood.

Forget the JFK assassination; the firing of Pete Best is the conspiracy of the decade. Who within the Beatles' camp shit-canned the drummer, and for what reason? Sure, in the summer of 1962, manager Brian Epstein was the one who informed the poor bastard, but he was just the messenger.

Was it producer George Martin, because he thought Best's drumming weak? Was it John, Paul, and George, because Best refused to put down the Brylcreem and replace his pompadour with a mop-top? Or did the Fab Three ax Best because girls preferred his rocker looks?

That last theory has some legs: Best's mother, Mona, provided an incubator for the Beatles when she opened the Casbah Club in the family's Liverpool basement. Her son became the band's drummer in 1960, and according to Spencer Leigh's 1998 book Drummed Out!: The Sacking of Pete Best, the handsome Brit got more girls screaming and leaping at him than the others ever did.

Now think about this: Was it mere coincidence that the Beatles' next drummer, Ringo, was one of the homeliest on the Merseybeat scene?

To this day, Best claims he has no idea why he got canned. But one of rock's bad-luck stories turned golden in 1995, when Best received an undisclosed sum of money for the Beatles' Anthology 1, which included tracks featuring his drumming.

After the Beatles, Best kept on Merseybeatin' with the Pete Best Combo, but quit music in 1968. Exactly 20 years later, he broke his long-held silence with a memoir and put a band together that claims to capture the sound of the Casbah. Best has been touring ever since.

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