Paul Hopkins has been performing for over 20 years with his tribute to The “Big O”. Appearing at some of the greatest theatres in the country including The London Palladium, Paul has also toured worldwide in the USA, the Middle East and Scandinavia to name but a few. He has appeared in several of his own touring productions as well as working for major producing companies and corporate giants.
He began his career in 1982 when he replied to an Ad in the local paper and became bass player in The Ricky Preston Showband. From there he went on to work in some fabulous bands as bass player and lead vocalist including “Brandysnap” and “Kool Decision”. It was during this time he began to tour abroad, with his first show being at a military base in Germany. More extensive touring followed including summer seasons on The Isle of Wight and Scandinavia, three years in the Middle East and three years working for Brittany Ferries. On Paul's return to the UK he left the band and began to put together a dedicated tribute to “The Big O,” following increasing comments from fans about his likeness to the singer.
We are very proud to keep the music raw and real, without the help of click tracks or pre recorded backing vocals. It can be difficult without having a full orchestra up there with us, but everyone plays their heart out, to make sure that we can bring you a completely live show.
Where possible, everything is done in the original key and is true to the way the original band wrote it and played it. We try not to put our own interpretation into the music, as our aim is to get it sounding just like the records that we all know and love.
Paul is our front man and mostly hosts the whole show. He is the Director of Return Of The Kings Ltd and has hosted and ran many of his own productions. This includes ‘Todays Teardrops’ where he starred as both Roy Orbison and Gene Pitney. He has alsoappeared as a guest artiste on many other touring theatre shows. Although Paul worked for years as a solo performer, he seldom works without his band now as this keeps him so busy. I’m sure you will agree that by hosting his own events for so many years, Paul is now an excellent front man, with charm, charisma and a great sense of humour.
As well as having the starring role in the show, Paul is also our Stage Manager. He makes sure that everything is running smoothly throughout the set up in the afternoon and liases with the theatre staff in advance. This may mean that he is still franctically dealing with any stage issues a few minutes before you all arrive!
During the past 35 years, Aubrey has worked and shared the stage with artists including Jimmy Osmond, Russell Watson, Jane McDonald, Ray Lewis and Paper Lace. For the past 12 years he has worked extensively in theatre productions, touring around the UK and Europe as well as in the West End. He is also an in-demand theatre and dance organist; he has been the resident organist at Sheffield City Hall for the past 15 years as well as performing at venues around the country, including the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
When not touring, he owns Harmony Music School in Sheffield. With two branches and over 450 students, this is now one of the largest private music schools in South Yorkshire.
This highly accomplished organist and pianist has worked on all shows toured and promoted by Return Of The Kings Ltd and is one of the secrets to the company's success. As well as excellent musicality however, Aubrey also possess that husky, gravel voice that is so distinctively Dylan. His timing and portrayal of the greats such as "Tweeter and The Monkey Man" are always a firm favourite with our audiences.
As well as playing the part of Bob Dylan, Aubrey is also the Musical Director for the show. With his impeccable attention to detail and incredible ‘ear’, this perfectionist doesn’t do anything by halves. The end result is therefore as close to the Originals as we can possibly get.
Throughout the evening Aubrey will be playing keyboards, acoustic guitar and harmonica.
If you would like to learn to play to his high standard, why not visit his incredibly successful music school? www.harmonymusicschool.co.uk
Mark has been in show business for over 30 years and has played at some of the biggest venues in the country including Wembly Arena, NEC Birmingham, Sheffield Arena, Hammersmoth Apollo and Glasgow SECC. He joined the band in June 2018 and has quickly become a Wilbury favourite among our fans, due to his easy charm and natural charisma on stage. Add to this his electrifying guitar playing and this is one man who is sure to impress.
In the West End, Mark has worked in ‘Elvis - The Musical’ with PJ Proby and more recently he helped set up and played guitar in ‘Some Guys Have All The Luck’ - A tribute to Rod Stewart. He has worked all over the world, including Rome, Portugal, France, Kuala Lumpar and The U.S.
Mark is a huge George Harrison fan and you can definately see that in his performance. He put in months of work, prior to joining us in August 2018, to get everything sounding just right. Mark’s cheeky personality adds a new dimension to the show and you will find it diffucult ot keep your eyes off him!
Although he no longer has his own studio, Mark used to write jingles for computers and also some TV themes like The Midweek Lottery Show. He has been a practising Buddhist for over 30 years and is involved in a socially active Buddhist movement and peace organisation.
“The best part of my illustrious career is ‘now’ and always has been - i’e don’t look back, look forward!” Mark Pearson
Red only joined the band in January 2019, and has been a fantastic asset to the show. Having played the piano since the age of five, music has always played an important part in Red’s life. Growing up listening to bands such as AC/DC and Fleetwood Mac made for a natural progression to the guitar at the age of nine.
In 2007 he moved to Guildford to study at the Academy of Contemporary Music. The intensity of his one-year HND made for a steep learning curve, but he took it in his stride and fully immersed himself in studying the guitar. Whilst in Guildford he played with and learnt from artists ranging from Chad Smith (Red Hot Chilli Peppers), Whitesnake and Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy) to Daniel Beddingfield and Pete Waterman.
After being a semi pro guitarist for six years he joined his first international function band. Having completed four contracts on cruise ships, ferries and five star hotels where playing up to five sets per night is normality, he quickly rose to the mental and physical challenge required of performing in an energetic party band. It also forced him to hone his basic backing vocal ability which evolved into becoming the male lead vocalist in a band with two female singers. Red has taught both privately and for local schools for over fifteen years and continues to convey what he has learnt throughout his career to his pupils.
In addition to performing a great tribute to ELO Frontman Jeff Lynne, Red is also our AV Specialist. He is the one who will have set up the screen that you see behind the show and he looks after the presentation. We run all the projection ourselves from the stage, using a short throw projector - you may be able to see it between the drum and keyboard risers. In fact our very talented Red operates the whole thing from a foot switch!
Buddy joined the show at the start of 2018, taking on the full-time role of American pop/rock legend Tom Petty, who we sadly lost in 2017. Buddy has a very exciting career history and has spent a fair bit of time living and working in The U.S.A. He was been teaching music since 1991, both privately and in universities accross the UK and America. He even taught at Berkeley in 1998.
Buddy’s talents have taken him all over the world including Spain, France, Portugal and Austria. He has toured quite extensively in The States with Brian White, Martina McBride, Lisa Stansfield, Antonio Fargas and Chesney Hawkes.
He made several appearances at The Grand Ole Opry with Brian White in 1997/98 and has worked on Broadway in hit production ‘Moving Out’. Buddy is also a trained sound engineer and has worked on many successful touring shows. He has been a great addition to our Production as he is very passionate about the Wilburys and what we are trying to achieve as a show. He still manages to fit in teaching around touring, and also has a PHD in Composition under his belt, from the Juliard Music School in New York.
As well as performing as Tom Petty, Buddy is our Technical Manager and Sound Specialist. He will arrive at the theatre before anyone else and work to make sure that everything is ready for the rest of us arriving a couple of hours later! All things relating to the instruments and backline on stage is monitored by his superb expertise and he looks after all our technical issues. Most of the setting up is done by Buddy and chances are that he is the one who hasn’t had a break at all before walking on to stage!
Jake first picked up a pair of drumsticks when he was 10 and immediately started lessons and performing in school bands, local music groups, and with friends in a cover band. This brought him some amazing opportunities, including performing at the Eden Project, Weymouth Olympics Opening Ceremony, and the Royal Albert Hall.
He went on to study at The Academy of Contemporary Music, Guildford where he was taught by the likes of Toby Drummond (Wicked, Billy Elliot, Lion King), Frank Tontoh (Amy Winehouse, Craig David), and Pete Riley (Guthrie Govan, Republica). He has continued to study with Pete Riley as well as other leading drummers including, Dave Weckl, Peter Erskine, Todd Sucherman, Neal Wilkinson and Bruce Becker.
As well as his current band which is of course, ‘Roy Orbison and the Traveling Wilburys Experience’, Jake is really excited to perform in his own originals band, ‘Khaki Scouts’, with a debut album coming soon.
Previously Jake has performed in many musical theatre productions including 'Top Hat' & ‘Anything Goes’ at ‘Upstairs At The Gatehouse’, London (Off West End), depping on the Blues Brothers Xmas Special at the Arts Theatre, West End and ‘Throughly Modern Millie’ at the Landor Theatre, London. He has also performed on productions of Hairspray, ’Loserville’, ‘Oliver!’, and Bugsy Malone and is a regular dep drummer for the 50's/60's touring theatre show, ‘Lipstick on Your Collar’.When at home he can be found in his studio recording and practicing drums. The upcoming ‘Khaki Scouts’ debut album was recorded here as well drum tracks that have been sent to clients all over the world. He has spent a great deal of time teaching and has many private students, he has even gone back to the Academy of Contemporary Music to lecture on all things drums and production. He has also worked closely with drumstick brand Vic Firth on their ‘VF Jams Live’ video series, providing transcriptions for both seasons, and even being invited to watch the 2nd season being filmed in the world famous LA studios, EastWest."
Jim Keltner - Drummer