by Zacch Estrada-Peterseon



DAVIDSON – The BackBeat, a Chapel Hill-based rock band, takes the stage Sunday at Davidson’s Concert on the Green and if the story of how the band formed is any indication, it’s going to be a good show.

“I worked at the UNC Music Department, so in 2001, the Ackland (Art Museum) approached me to find a Beatles band for the Linda McCartney show,” says Paul Cole, bass guitarist and vocalist for the group. “Being a Beatles guy, I sort of looked opportunity in the face and resolved to put together a band just for the occasion.”

That ‘occasion’ turned into 11 years, 5 states, 100,000 audience members and more than 475 shows and still counting.

As for the name, that came simply, too.

“We wanted something with Beatles associations and which we could adapt the Beatles drumhead logo to,” says Cole. “Then there’s Chuck Berry’s lyric – ‘It’s got a back beat, you can’t lose it’ – from ‘Rock and Roll Music,’ which the Beatles did also.”

The ensemble has performed as far south as Savannah, Ga., as far north as Washington, D.C., as far west as Cherokee and as far east as the North Carolina coast. They’re not stopping there, though.

“We’d love to do a European tour,” adds Cole.

That overseas tour may one day come, but for now you can catch The BackBeat this Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Concert on the Green in Davidson, which is where Cole grew up. This will be their second trip to the area in as many years.

“I really enjoyed our show in Davidson last year,” he says. “It was a great big crowd and it was very meaningful to me since it was the first time I’d played in my hometown in 25 years.”

Davidson is excited about it as well.

“We’re pleased to welcome The BackBeat back to Davidson for our concert series,” said downtown Manager Kim Fleming in a press release regarding the event. “We’re having an amazing season so far, and we’d love all citizens to come out and enjoy the show.”

Although this particular band may have started just over a decade ago, none of its members are strangers to the music scene. Cole, an operations manager for the UNC Music Department for the last 18 years, played in almost half a dozen other bands before this one.

Then there’s Andrew Edwards, who goes by the nickname ‘Nihilo.’

“Nihilo played with Parthenon Huxley, and we did an album with a mutual musician friend called Comet, so that’s how we met,” says Cole. “He also has an original band in the Triangle called Midnight Sun.”

Cole and Edwards are original members of the group. Lead guitarist Jay Manley has been with the band for almost a year.

Zsolt David, whom Cole calls “a Hungarian fury of a drummer,” is the band’s drummer.

“The BackBeat is a different venture, based on cover songs,” says Cole. “We do have a rehearsal and recording studio where we record demos of our act, mostly for booking purposes. But this band is primarily about live performance.”

To learn more about The BackBeat, visit them online at www.reverbnation.com/thebackbeatcentral. For more information on the Concerts on the Green series, visit www.concertsonthegreen.com.