LONDON CALLING This show at Dodger Stadium was one of 19 that the Remains opened for the Beatles.
Nearly 50 years ago, Barry Tashian found his beat in the center of London. The 19-year-old Boston University student spent the summer of 1964 abroad, in the haze of England's cultural revolution. The pieces of his fresh musical mind crystallized on the basement floor of Café des Artistes on Earl's Court Road. Watching a band play live, Tashian smoked a bit of hash, sat down next to the drummer, and concentrated on a spotlight shining down on the floor in the middle of the performers.
"In my elevated state, looking at this blue spot in the middle of the floor, I saw the band was having a conversation," Tashian said last week from his home in Nashville. "I realized, you don't just stand up there and wail away — you each make a contribution to the group. When I got back to Boston, I got the guys together. They said, 'You're nuts, but it makes sense.' From there we got real tight, real fast."
Tashian's time in London — watching the Kinks on television, hearing endless bands "playing Keith Richards's riffs," and experiencing the thousands of clubs around the city — helped shape the sound of the Remains. In three short years the Remains would reel off a string of hit singles (including "Why Do I Cry" and "Don't Look Back"), appear on the Ed Sullivan Show, and perhaps most famously, open 19 stateside dates for the Beatles, from Shea to Dodger stadiums.
But the 1966 Beatles tour would be the band's last, and over the following decades the Remains developed a cult following. The band reformed in the late '90s, became mainstays of Nuggets compilations, inspired a 2004 musical (All Good Things, at the New York International Fringe Festival) and a 2008 documentary (America's Lost Band), and were inducted into the Boston Music Awards Hall of Fame in 2010. Now performing "no more than several times a year," they're back in town this weekend for two hometown shows: Friday at the Brighton Music Hall and Saturday at the Hot Stove Cool Music gig at the Paradise.
"These songs are almost 50 years old, so that's what makes it so special," Tashian says. A "lost band" no more.
THE REMAINS | Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave, Allston | January 13 @ 7 pm | 18+ | $20 | 617.779.0140 || Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | January 14 @ 6 pm | 18+ | $40 | 617.562.8800