Imagine your favourite band is coming to a town near you. Imagine it’s been a year or two since you last saw them. You book your tickets, perhaps a day or two off work, a hotel, the train. Sorted. You are on your way. Exciting, right? Now imagine that life is not quite so straightforward. That your disability, lifelong health condition or personal circumstances prevent you from accessing a computer, public transport or crowds. Perhaps you need a support worker or a companion to go with you. Perhaps you are a carer who struggles to leave a dependent. Perhaps you live in a refuge. In which case, you are one of thousands of music lovers across the UK who, every year, due to no fault of their own, miss out on the chance to see their favourite bands live.
In an effort to remedy this situation, Foo Fighters tribute band, UK Foo Fighters, fronted by Dave Grohl lookalike, Jay Apperley, recently headed to The Blues Bar in Harrogate, North Yorkshire to record their version of Foo track ‘In the Clear’, taken from the Foos’ 2014 ‘Sonic Highways’ album. In an unusual move for a tribute band, the UK Foos will be releasing the song on iTunes, with all proceeds going to Bristol-based charity Given To Live and Leeds Music Trust; a music charity based in the Old Chapel Music Studios in Holbeck, Leeds and supported by Ricky Wilson and The Kaiser Chiefs. The aim of both of these projects is to break down social barriers and offer disadvantaged youngsters access to live music and musical skills.
Jay, who recently had a dream come true when he was given the chance to sing with the real Foos at Brighton Concorde, said, “When Dave Grohl invited me to front his band last September, in front of the world’s press, he changed everything. He didn’t have to do what he did, it wasn’t about him (it never is with Dave), he knew he was making my dream come true. Foo Fighters recorded ‘In the Clear’ at Preservation Hall, New Orleans in 2014. Dave’s inspiration for the song was the music history of the region and the people of New Orleans, their community spirit and their recovery since the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina in 2005. This project is my way of celebrating our local music scene but more importantly, of helping others to access live music and, perhaps, if they get the chance to meet their idols, make their dreams come true. Just like Dave did for me.” Also involved in the project are On’t Sofa’s Ben Davis and Jason Odle, composers David Whitaker and Adrian Burch and renowned saxophonist Snake Davis.
Tom Pugh, founder of Given to Live, said, “For the charity to be recognised in this way shows me how important what we do is. I have so much respect for Jay and this project means that we can really move the charity up a level, going from helping one or two vulnerable people a year to enjoy live music to, perhaps, helping two or three a month.”
UK Foo Fighter’s version of ‘In the Clear’ will be available from iTunes on 18th April and more information about the project can be found at www.foofighters.org.uk. You can follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Jacqueline Grima is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing. Her unpublished novel ‘Coming Second’ was shortlisted for last year’s Luke Bitmead Bursary. You can find her blog here and follow her on Twitter @GrimaJgrima.