We spoke to the stars of Rock And Roll Revolution, The Bluejays. The award winning group formed in 2013, after years of performing together in West End rock ‘n’ roll theatre shows such as ‘Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story’, ‘Million Dollar Quartet' and ‘Dreamboats & Petticoats’
Tell us more about The Bluejays.
Ollie (Vocals/Guitar): The Bluejays are a 1950s Rock ‘n’ Roll band from London. Our show Rock and Roll Revolution features over 40 of the biggest hits of the era by some of the biggest names in popular music - Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Cliff Richard, Connie Francis, The Everly Brothers... the list goes on!
You’re all pretty young to be into fifties music. What got you started in Rock ‘n’ Roll?
Chris (Bass): Thank you! Yes, we’re all in our 20s and 30s. I think we all had parents who loved the music, so we’ve known it from a young age. The big turning point, however, came in 2008 when we were cast together in Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story on its UK tour. Ollie played Buddy whilst Dan and I were The Crickets.
Have you been in any other West End shows?
Dan (Drums): We have! Quite a few actually. After Buddy we all went on to appear in Dreamboats and Petticoats on a year long tour of the UK. Ollie then starred as Carl Perkins in the West End production of Million Dollar Quartet. Matt Wycliffe who plays keys for us has just finished playing the same role on the recent world tour and spent a couple of years in Jersey Boys in London.
What made you write Rock and Roll Revolution?
Ollie: There are a few Fifties shows out there but none of them do what we do. We wanted to make a show that not only featured all the songs that audiences know and love but also looked a little bit into the history of the time. How Rock ‘n’ Roll came into being and how it changed everything that followed. It really was a revolution.
What kind of people come to your shows?
Chris: What makes it really fun is that we have an incredible mix of people. All ages. From people just discovering the music for the first time to those that remember it the first time around. One of our favourite comments is always, “You took me back to my youth”. We hear that after almost every show and it really means a lot to us.
what are your favourite songs to play?
Ollie: Tough question. There are so many. We love all the Buddy Holly stuff, I get to do all the lead guitar parts on those and don the glasses! Sharing lead vocals with Matt on the Everly Brothers songs is fun and the crowd really enjoy singing along to those. Other big sing-alongs include The Young Ones, A Teenager in Love and Johnny B. Goode.
What’s been your most fun gig to date?
Dan: We post a lot of videos online. (Check us out). A couple of years ago we shared a video of us recording Buddy Holly’s That’ll Be The Day for a CD we were making. The video ended up being seen by Buddy’s family who then invited us out to play for them in Lubbock, Texas - Buddy’s hometown. It was completely surreal.
His brother Larry was there, as was his wife María Elena, not to mention Duane Eddy. It was a crazy few days. We even got to record in Buddy’s old studio in Clovis, New Mexico.
So you’re big fans of Buddy Holly then?
Chris: I think that’s fair to say! We love playing all the artists from the 1950s but I think our followers really enjoy the Buddy stuff we do. We recently made a video commemorating the 60th anniversary of ‘The Day The Music Died’. On February 3rd we re-recorded Buddy’s first posthumous hit It Doesn’t Matter Anymore complete with a string quartet led by my wife Sally.
It’s the best thing we’ve ever done and has already had thousands of views. You can find the video online.
Which other artists can we expect to hear?
Dan: It’s obviously not all about the male Rock ‘n’ Rollers. We have our wonderful female vocalist, Amelia Rendell covering all the Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, Wanda Jackson and Peggy Lee tunes. Amelia’s our secret weapon and often ends up stealing the show. Her version of ‘Fever’ is unbelievable. We once overheard an audience members saying it sent chills up their spine. No pressure, Amelia!
Strangest gig to date?
Ollie: Again, so many to choose from! We’ve played lots of shows onboard Cunard and P&O cruise ships. That’s always surreal. Particularly when you’re three days from land in the middle of the Atlantic! Aside from that, we played at Brian May’s daughter’s wedding a few years back. The man himself got up and joined us for the encore of Johnny B. Goode. That was incredible.
Most bizarre however must be being booked to play for Donald Trump in New York last year. It didn’t end up happening in the end but the exchange of emails was enough to raise our pulses for the rest of time. You just never know who’s going to book you!
So what can people expect when the come and see Rock and Roll Revolution?
Ollie: They can expect a really fun, energetic, slick and truly authentic 1950s experience. We actively encourage the audience to sing along throughout and the night always seems to culminate in everyone up and dancing in the aisles. If you’re a fan of any style of music we think you’ll love this show!
Where can we find out more about The Bluejays?
Chris: There’s loads on Facebook as Dan mentioned but you can also check out our website for more info, videos, music and downloads plus all of our tour dates!
Hopefully we’ll see you at the Old Rep!
The Bluejays join us at The Old Rep on Sunday 12 May for Rock And Roll Revolution. To find out more, or to book tickets click here.