When the Remains—a young American band from Boston—were selected to open for the Beatles in 1966, lead singer Barry Tashian's father told him to keep a journal. Sensing some of the moment's importance, Tashian wrote in the journal daily, but there were things the 21-year-old couldn't have known—like the fact that the tour would not only be the Remains' last, but the Beatles' as well.
Tashian's journal became a book, Ticket to Ride: the Extraordinary Diary of the Beatles' Last Tour, which presented the Fab Four as more human than myth. The entries are somewhat puerile, as the Beatles had yet to really delve into drugs (except when John shows up in the hotel room with a joint). In 1966, it's clear that the Liverpudlians were somewhat insulated from politics and the burgeoning counterculture.
While being brought along by the Beatles was a significant advance for the group's career, the Remains made their earlier steps unassisted. By phone from his home in Nashville, Tashian discusses playing The Ed Sullivan Show. "We didn't really like it much at the time," he explains. "We didn't think they knew how to mix rock 'n' roll very well, and they made us turn down a lot... I was kind of pissed about that. We all were." Years later, after receiving a taped copy of the performance, Tashian's opinion lightened considerably.
But that youthful sense of omniscience led the Remains to disband their garage stomp shortly after the tour. "I was 21, and I figured all I had to do was start another band and I'd wind up on Ed Sullivan and touring with the Beatles again," says Tashian. "As it turns out, you know, that didn't happen."
In the decades since, however, Tashian stayed musically fulfilled as an active member in the Nashville country and bluegrass scene. The Remains reunions began in the late '90s, but they only do a few shows each year to keep things fresh and exciting. The Portland date will be the reunited band's first ever—their most recent visit to the Pacific Northwest was the August 25, 1966 performance alongside the Beatles at the Seattle Center Coliseum.
"The great thing about playing now is that the pressure is off and we can have a good time without the stress of saying, 'We're trying to make it,'" Tashian adds. "We were really trying to make it before."