Stalking Pete Best

"There was a man in his underwear with peppered hair, like a silly movie."

Pete Best and Christopher Leyva
  • Pete Best and Christopher Leyva

“We were shooting a documentary about the Beatles and [original drummer] Pete Best’s first journey to Hamburg about a year and a half ago,” says Christopher Leyva of how he came to be outside Best’s house one day, thanks to a lead obtained while conducting interviews in a London senior rest home. “When we were looking in the house, there was a man in his underwear with peppered hair, like a silly movie. I could see everything but his face. I could see him making coffee and waited in the yard for 30 minutes. I knocked on the door but nobody came.”

Leyva tried contacting Best via Facebook and received a reply six months later.

“I finally had a conversation with him, and I told him that we went to look for him. He laughed and he said next time we were in Liverpool we should hit him up. I also asked him if he wanted to come out and play in San Diego, and he said, ‘We can talk about it, but my brother deals with all that stuff, so I’m going to connect you guys.’”

The connection was made, and the result will be a Pete Best gig at Queen Bee’s on March 30, with the drummer backed by members of Leyva’s band Falling Doves.

Leyva has already had a face-to-face with Best when the drummer was in L.A. for a meeting with Warner Brothers.

“We agreed to meet at the airport. Took a tiny bit, but after a brief conversation about a lot of common friends in Liverpool and Queen Bee’s, especially as his mother ran an operation of the sort at the Casbah Coffee Club, he agreed [to the gig] and loved the spirit of the evening. So now we’re homeboys.”

The bill includes True Stories, the Baja Bugs, and an acoustic set by Heather Nation.

“The show is about his contributions to the Beatles, but also his influence on the Liverpool and Merseyside scene, and his mother Mona Best’s contributions to the scene, as before the Casbah in Liverpool, there was nothing. He honestly does not like small talk or sightseeing; he likes to just play his show and go home. He’s not a recluse or anything of the sort, he’s here to just get the job done.”

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