Jumping Jack Flash was stopped mid-set in favor of a county fair pig race.
Playing Keith Richards for a living isn’t always a rock star trip, as Young Hutchinson, from Stones tribute band Jumping Jack Flash, can attest. A county fair stopped the Flash mid-set — for the sake of the pig race. And in a definitive Spinal Tap moment, they showed up in Texas, to find themselves second on the bill. Under a patio furniture sale.
Pre-covidsteria, the band were scheduled to play Belly Up again as part of the Beatles vs. Stones tribute band extravaganza on July 31. That won’t be happening now. Still, a Belly Up show brought Hutchinson one of his favorite memories of being Keith.
“As usual, the show was sold-out, but when we arrived for soundcheck we saw that there was already a large crowd in front of the venue — hours before doors would open.... One of the BU staffers approached me on stage and said ‘There’s a phone call for Mick or Keith. Can you take it?’”
“Whoever it was had hung up, but we found out the reason for all the buzz, when the actual Rolling Stones played a private function there several days later (for $2.2 million, a somewhat larger fee than ours, lol). Not the first time that we’ve played on a stage that either the Beatles or Stones played on at one time, and it just blows our minds every time.”
Drummer Axel Clarke, “Ringo” for the other half of the bill, Beatles tribute Abbey Road, affirms his own love for this town. “Belly Up is honestly one of my favorite venues to play,” avows Clarke, praising it as “the one venue that always sings at the top of their lungs to ‘Hello Goodbye.’ We always ask the crowd to sing along on that tune, but the Belly Up belts it like a gospel choir!”
“Back in 2011 there was a massive blackout across most of SoCal. We were set up at the Music Box and the power went down during soundcheck. The consensus was to just hang out until it came back on but it never did. Walking and driving around downtown in a compete blackout was a weird, apocalyptic experience.”
Looking the Stones look while playing the notes, poses certain stretches. As Hutchinson relates, “Pat Hennessy (who plays Brian Jones and Ron Wood) and I formed the group in 2005, and it’s harder than you think to put a show like this together. Not only do the players have to be able to play at the level and also want the gig, but they have to physically resemble a skinny little British rock & roll star.
“Not an easy find in the U.S. in the 21st century I can tell you. Imagine how lucky we were to find Joey Jagger, lips and all.”
Clarke, asked about Beatle costume changes during the show: “We usually do the Ed Sullivan black suits, the Sgt.Pepper uniforms, and the Abbey Road cover looks but we have others like Shea Stadium, that we mix in sometimes. I like them all equally but, if it’s a hot outdoor show, I dislike them all equally! They’re not the most breathable fabrics.”
The show contains several surprises, and a big finish I’m not supposed to spoil. I did ask Clarke if the Beatles actually wrestle the Stones onstage.
Quoth Ringo: “Only if an Octagon is available.”