Mash-up band Beatallica visits D.C.’s Black Cat

By: Robert Fulton
Special to the Washington Examiner
April 16, 2010

Somewhere in the ether of rock ‘n’ roll, “She Loves You” dances with “Enter Sandman,” the White Album and the Black Album stand side by side and John Lennon and Cliff Burton share a drink.

That somewhere is Beatallica.

The Milwaukee-based Beatallica, which performs at the Black Cat on Monday, is a mash-up act. The group combines the sounds of the Beatles and Metallica. That’s right, the Mop Tops and metal kings collide in real-life music fantasy.

“You need to find out where the riff makes sense,” Jaymz Lennfield, whose real name is Michael Tierney, said. “You can’t just slam them together. You know when something isn’t working.”

Beatallica — which includes Grg Hammetson, Kliff McBurtney and Ringo Larz — is not a cover band. Instead the group combines the vibe, sound or lyrics of the Beatles and Metallica for newish creations. Examples include “Hero of the Day Tripper” and “Fuel on the Hill,” both off the album “Masterful Mystery Tour.”

Like a lot of rock bands, Beatallica had humble beginnings. Jaymz and his bandmates did some music for the annual Spoof Fest, and that music ultimately went viral. Thus the band was born.

“It’s sort of a happy accident,” Jaymz, who works in occupational therapy but juggles four bands, said. In addition to Beatallica, he’s in two Irish acts, and has a solo band. “Sometimes you stumble upon things.”

One challenge the band faces is getting rights to the two bands’ music to use. Sometimes things work out for Beatallica, other times it doesn’t. Jaymz doesn’t view it as a problem, and understands when permission to use a song isn’t granted.

When it comes to mash-ups, Beatallica doesn’t just focus on classic Metallica (as for the Beatles, well, there’s nothing but classic Beatles). A recent Beatallica song is “Tomorrow Never Comes,” which plays off the 2008 Metallica song “The Day That Never Comes” and the Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

“We wanted to show we were using the whole library,” Jaymz said, before adding, “If we have something we’re feeling, we gravitate toward it.”

Jaymz said his favorite Beatles album was “Revolver,” but has leaned more to “Rubber Soul” recently. As for Metallica, he concedes to really liking the groups self-titled 1991 release, aka “The Black Album,” even though some of the band’s fans feel that’s when Metallica took a turn away from its metal roots.

Beatallica’s current tour spans two weeks in April, before the group heads home to tackle other interests.

“Beatallica is a well-rounded group,” Jaymz said. “When we’re not playing together, we’re doing other stuff.”