Scott Freimen says what he developed into the “Deconstructing the Beatles” talks he now gives all over the country started as informal chats in his home six years ago. “I started doing the lectures in 2009,” he says. “It began as a one-off talk to musician friends in my living room. I was trying to get people to visit my studio outside of New York City, and I thought a talk on the Beatles (and free beer) would get them to come.”
His next lecture will be “Say the Word: Deconstructing ‘Rubber Soul’” and will take place at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 1, 350 King St. West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He says putting a new show together takes weeks of work which starts with deciding how he will talk about the subject. “I start by listening to every track on an album or in a particular time period, as well as every outtake I can find,” he said. “I isolate tracks and analyze the songs, the arrangements, and the production. I read through scores of books, Web sites, articles and more. My goal is to figure out ‘the story’ — what made this recording or this time period special.”
He gave an example of how he develops his new lectures with the next one coming up. First is the approach to take. “With ‘Rubber Soul,’ the story is the Beatles being forced to come up with an album in 30 days starting with virtually no material and coming out with one of the greatest albums of all time,” he said.
Doing the actual multimedia lecture is next. “Once I’ve completed a pass at my research, I put together a keynote presentation finding audio examples, as well as images and videos, that help to tell the story.” Then, he says, he does a test of the new presentation. “I give a ‘living room lecture’ to some of those same friends that came to my first lecture six years ago. Initially, the talk can be three or four hours. Based on feedback from the ‘test group,’ I continue to refine it until it’s ready for the big time.”
His other lectures discuss the earliest Beatles songs, “The Beatles (White Album),” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Revolver” and the single “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Does he have a favorite Beatles album or song? “I always say that picking a favorite Beatles album or song (or Beatle) is like picking my favorite son. It can’t be done!,” he said.
He credits his friends with helping make them happen. “Little did I know that (they) would encourage me to do something more with the lectures,” he said. “One person helped get me a lecture at a local college. Another helped me get a lecture at a local theater. The rest, as they say, is history.”