ROCK n roll dreams coming true may be an old cliché but even old cliches occasionally have their day.
When he took up singing for fun in a covers band five years ago, Harrogate man Jay Apperley, a suited and booted divisional manager for Stratstone BMW in Pannal, couldn’t have expected one day to be acting out the role of one of rock’s biggest names in a conference centre Denmark.
Jay, who is married with one little girl, said: “I got a message before Christmas from an events company saying they needed a Foo Fighters tribute band to play one song. In Denmark! I like to take every enquiry seriously but the thought did cross my mind that perhaps it wasn’t for real.”
It seems Danish brewers Royal Unibrew had been trying to woo the real Dave Grohl and his famous group to help launch a new campaign based round the theme of their hit song Best of You.
Looking for the next best thing, they came across Jay’s band, the UK Foo Fighters who also include lead guitarist Jamie Valentine from Harrogate, bassist Aaron Warner from Knaresborough and drummer Alex Bailey from Ilkley.
Uncertainty lingered until the week of the show when their flight tickets finally arrived to take them to the brewer’s annual convention.
At 5am Jay was in his house in Pateley Bridge. At 5.30pm the band had arrived at their hotel outside Copenhagen. By 6.15pm they were sound checking.
Jay said: “It was bizarre. When we arrived we were a bit knackered. I was standing there in my skinny jeans with my plexiglass guitar trying to look cool. Everyone else was in suits, shirts and ties ready for the convention. “
The band’s four minutes of fame were due to take place at precisely 9.30am the next day, the launch moment for hundreds of delegates.
Just two things were worrying Jay:
Firstly, could the band ‘rock out’ at breakfast time. Secondly, with only one song to perform, how would his untrained vocals respond?
“I didn’t sleep well. I woke up at 3am with the words of Best of You in my head. I couldn’t go back to sleep until I’d ran through the whole thing in my head. The same thing happened at 5am.”
But the moment his band stepped on stage in the convention auditorium, everything kicked into place.
Jay said: “When we walked on I thought ‘oh my god, this is the real deal’. But it went well straightaway.
“We were treated like we really were the Foo Fighters. We’d asked for the exact stage equipment Grohl uses, which they got us, the 500 watt amps, the lot, which must have cost a Krono or two.
“They wanted the authentic sound of the band and they got it.”
By 9.34pm Jay’s band’s time as the Foos was over. Having landed at Manchester airport at 8.30pm and dropping off various band members, Jay was back in his Dales home by 9.50pm.
“Five years ago I was just a fan and I still am. A lot of the other Foo Fighters acts like to describe themselves as the best Foos tribute band in the world.
“Whenever I put anything on our website I always add the same line at the end - ‘if you’re watching Dave, I hope you approve.”
Oh, and one final thing, Jay was born in West Virginia 82 miles from where famous rock band the Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl grew up as a boy.
l You can catch the UK Foo Fighters live closer to home playing with Limehouse Lizzy at the Irish Centre in Leeds on March 24.