09/12/04 — Robert Daniel manages international group

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Robert Daniel manages international group

By Winkie Lee
Published in News on September 12, 2004 2:03 AM

Robert Daniel has been keeping some pretty famous company recently.

Actually, he's been managing them.

The son of Vann Daniel of Goldsboro and the late Clifton "Clum" Daniel Jr. is the American manager for the Backwards, a Beatles revival band from the Czech and Slovak Republics.

Currently the group, which has a strong following at home, is touring through North Carolina, after performances in Ohio, Illinois and New Jersey.

Following the American tour is a performance in Holland and then a line-up of concerts in their home countries.

Daniel had heard of the group while teaching English in the Czech Republic.

He finally got a chance to see them in 2003 when they performed in a city a 25-minute train ride from where he was living.

Though he had heard good things, he was amazed at what he saw.

"They sounded exactly like the Beatles," he says. "When you see them perform with their Beatle guitars, the illusion is complete. They look like the Beatles."

Watching the concert took Daniel back to 1964 when, as an 11-year-old, he sat in his grandmother's living room and saw the original band perform on the "Ed Sullivan Show."

Daniel met the band and asked if it would play for his 50th birthday party on March 7, 2003. Though the members' schedule made them unable to do so, they and Daniel formed a friendship.

The group applied and was given a tourist visa that allowed it to come to the United States to participate in an international Beatles festival. About three days before the performers were supposed to leave, Dalibor, who portrays John Lennon, called Daniel.

The person who was supposed to accompany them on the trip couldn't go, he said. He asked Daniel to join them.

"Of course, I said yes," Daniel says, laughing.

He talked to personnel at the school where he was teaching. They knew of the band and agreed he should take the opportunity to travel with it.

In addition to the festival, the band played a couple of other concerts.

"I just saw in our country how incredible people thought they were," Daniel says.

Daniel returned to work and remained in touch with the musicians.

"They asked me if I'd like to manage them," he says.

The answer was yes.

Daniel spent some time traveling with the band, to see what it was like and, in November, moved back to the United States and applied for a performer's visa for the band. The process took seven months.

The group has been in the United States since July 29. Among its performances has been serving as the opening band for Little Richard in Cleveland, Ohio.

On Friday night, the group gave a concert at the Walnut Creek Country Club.

The Backwards will return to the U.S. in December.

The performance visa is good for the calendar year, and Daniel plans to apply for another one for 2005.