"1964"...The Tribute is...
Mark Benson was introduced to music playing drums and piano at age eight. At age 17 he started playing guitar. Interested in becoming a luthier, Mark began his internship at Lay’s Guitar Repair in Akron, Ohio where he learned to build, repair, and restore guitars as well as other stringed instruments. He went on to make guitars for Eddie Van Halen and Jackson Browne and continues to rebuild, repair, and restore all of the instruments for “1964”. Mark has sold vintage instruments to The Rolling Stones, The Who, Bad Company, Hall and Oates, Ted Nugent, ZZ Top, The Eagles, The Allman Brothers, The Cars, David Lindley, Cheap Trick, and the Doobie Brothers.
Mark played guitar in the local Ohio bands Ashes, Raintree, Coconut, Mr. French and Bock (with Gary Grimes). In 1984 Mark, with Gary, started “1964”. He currently produces all aspects of the show and produced the “1964” CDs, “All You Need Is Live”,“Nine Hours In November”, and “Bootleg Vol. 1”.
Mark says, “'1964' shows the audience what it was like to attend a Beatles concert in the early sixties and generates the same feeling of happiness that is still generated by the music of The Beatles. We get so much of this positive energy back from our audiences, it reassures us that for now, we are where we are supposed to be”.
Mac Ruffing was born and raised near Cleveland, Ohio, and is a lifelong Beatles fan.
Mac started playing the drums as a teen, but when he saw a copy of a Hofner bass at a local music store he had to have it, and taught himself how to play to Beatles’ records - thus starting his career as “Paul”.
He soon moved to Southern California where he played in several local Beatle groups, including Help! and Imagine. He also ventured into original music, playing for several years in two Southern California groups, The Yanks and ATP. He then joined Beatlemania Live, touring worldwide, doing private, corporate and public shows, and also headlining on Royal Caribbean for many years.
Mac also has performed with the Beatles tribute show Rain, again playing worldwide including a stint on Broadway. Mac is naturally a right-handed player, but taught himself to play the bass left-handed. He also plays the piano and guitar. Mac has immersed himself in the role of Paul McCartney and looks forward to recreating the magic of the Beatles at every 1964 The Tribute show.
Tom Work (George) is a co-founder of “1964” The Tribute, and is the act’s first George. Tom began playing guitar at the age of 7, and following high school he studied music at the University of Akron. Since the late 1960s Tom has played and sung in a variety of ensembles. During high school and college he played flute, sousaphone and bassoon in the marching and symphony bands; professionally, Tom has worked in well over a dozen “cover bands,” most notably Dogs ‘n Kids, The Lou Ciriano Combo, My Old School and The Jerry Bruno Orchestra. Tom even sang Lead for 8 years in a barbershop quartet (believe it or not, it’s true!).
Tom also worked in over 20 musical theatre productions, both onstage in leading roles, and behind the scenes as Producer and Music Director. “Performing onstage in a band is really where I belong,” Tom says, “although conducting the pit orchestra, for me, is every bit as exciting—and even more challenging! It’s a very rewarding experience to help extract top-notch performances from people, to guide performers to their pinnacle. There’s nothing quite like sitting in the orchestra pit on opening night and hearing an actor deliver his or her best-ever performance!”
In 2006 Tom returned to “1964” The Tribute, ending a 12-year sabbatical. “During my time away from 1964 I worked with a few of the other Beatles shows,” he notes. “I learned a great deal and forged close friendships with some great people, but there’s nowhere I’d rather be, no group of performers I’d rather work with than “1964”. It’s great to be back!”
Tom lives in Ohio with his two youngest children, and in his free time, he enjoys cooking, boating and listening to his muses. “A 28-year songwriting-block ended in 2008,” he says, “and I’ve been trying my best to let out whatever the muses pour in.” Tom is fond of the water and told us, “Whether an ocean, river or pond, water doesn’t ask anything of you, it listens to you without judging, and it never lets you down.” As for his cooking, we’ll sit at his table again, but we think he’s a better musician than cook!
Bobby was born in Indiana. He started taking snare drum lessons in the 5th grade and got his first set of drums in the 7th. Later, when The Beatles arrived on the music scene, he made it a personal goal to be like Ringo. He played in 3 bands through high school – a Tijuana Brass band, high school pep band and a top 40 band. He helped form a popular local band that performed in his home town and surrounding area teen clubs. He later moved to Champaign, Illinois and joined a band that performed in and around the tri-state area.
Wanting to spread his wings he then set his sights on the west coast and moved to Los Angeles where he helped form The Finders, then Shake, Rattle N’ Roll and played the nightclubs there for 10 years. He then moved to Las Vegas and played the Nevada casino circuit. Capitalizing on his experience he backed such greats as Chris Montez, Billy Swan, Jewel Akens, Al Wilson, J.J. Jackson, The Coasters, The Drifters, The Dell Vikings, 7 show/lounge acts and too many Elvis impersonators to mention.
Still wanting to achieve his personal “Ringo” goal he joined two Beatle tributes, spending 8 years in this endeavor. His personality shines onstage as he authentically reproduces every beat and moves his head to the music portraying Ringo with precision and style. This accomplished artist transports the audience to the carefree magical era with his voice when he performs “Yellow Submarine” and “Act Naturally”. Bobby is thrilled to be a member of “1964”...The Tribute! He states in his own words, “In the tribute world, you can’t get any closer or higher up than this for authenticity, style and sound in the same way The Beatles performed live”.
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