This week, we caught up with David Jack from the Nirvana tribute act with possibly the best name ever – ‘Yer Nana‘.
Hello David! First of all, thanks for taking the time to chat with us and for your custom over the years.
No problem Danny.
So what made you start a Nirvana tribute band and how did it come about?
Haha. It started as a joke really. A Nirvana Tribute night was being organised in one of my local pubs as a one off to mark the 20th anniversary of Kurts death and they were looking for musicians. My friends and I grew up playing Nirvana songs so we thought we may as well put a set together. Turns out we learned quite a lot of songs and after that one gig we thought it would be a waste not to do another. So we kept gigging. We had no grand plans to become a Nirvana Tribute. I don’t think I’d even seen a tribute act before playing in this band.
I remember that first gig… vaguely.
Yeah you were in a dress were you not?
Yes indeed I was and I was very drunk throughout our set and yours haha! [I had also played as a Nirvana tribute that night and we chose to wear dresses and headbutt cymbals. Bad crack].
Yer Nana seem to be solely focused on the music legacy that Nirvana left behind rather than the typical ‘costume based’ tribute band. What made you stick to that formula rather than sticking on a dress?
Because we just don’t like the idea of pretending to be someone else. Brian our bass player isn’t 6 foot, dave our drummer doesn’t have long hair and I hate cardigans. We’re just 3 musicians who love play Nirvana songs, we just wouldn’t be comfortable in wigs. Nirvana were always very anti image anyways, it would be silly for us to try and copy it. Some ripped jeans and a pair of cons is as far as we’re likely to go. The idea of the band wasn’t to become Nirvana but to be 3 musicians from Scotland playing nirvana songs. I guess a cover band rather than a tribute.
That’s a great point about Nirvana being anti-image. I guess if you did try to copy them completely, it takes away the punky roots that Nirvana stem from and completely contradicts the idea. With that said, I’m surprised you didn’t start a Biffy Clyro tribute band, since your drummer looks like Ben!
Haha. “The Cliffy Biro”. We do all love biffy and enjoy jamming a few songs in the studio. I’m not a good enough guitar player to pull off anything after Blackened Sky. Plus I think Biffy Clyro have the biffy Clyro market pretty sealed up.
I’m patiently waiting for them to calm it, so I can jump on the Biffy tribute bandwagon. Same goes for Nickelback (ballsy statement, I know).
You could call your nickelback tribute “dimeback” and slip in the odd pantera song here or there.
Amazing idea! Anway, you’ve gone from playing a 50 capacity bar in Carluke to the massive 1,000 capacity of Ironworks in Inverness. Have you had to upscale your production or show to suit a venue of that size?
Yeah, the jump has been nuts and it’s happened fairly quickly. We trying not to think too much about the stage production of the show as again I don’t think that’s very “Nirvana” so I think we might get away with it. We do plan our transitions from song to song and I have some “patter” that I recycle every time we play a new town. Apart from that we have a drum skin with our name on it, so that does the trick. We spoke about banners and such but all that sounds a bit much. We’re happy to keep it simple and let then songs and performance do the work. We did have a stage invader which was ace. I’d love to pay him to come and do that at all our shows. Our own dancing man.
That’s a great idea! I saw a band from Kilmarnock once who used to bring a guy who would dance throughout the set wearing a horse mask and some dungarees. It was bloody great.
That’s a neigh bad idea… Sorry, with a name like “Yer Nana” you can expect that we like awful puns.
What are your favourite tracks to play from Nirvana’s back catalogue and which are the crowd pleasers?
We started off trying to avoid all the crowd pleasers and just play all the songs that we liked. We jumped head first into in utero. Since then though our favourites have became the crowds favourites as it’s amazing to get such a response from the crowd. Drain you, In Bloom and All Apologies always seem to go down a treat. Smells Like Teen Spirt is of course very well received. We’re now learning a lot more of the obscure songs which I’m really enjoying. Makes you realise how good most of Kurts songs were and it’s not just all about the hits.
And finally… give us a typical rundown of a day in one of our vans.
Luckily I stay really close to your place, so everyone meets at mine. We tend to ask friends along for the journey, as there is only 3 of us, so we may as well make the most of the 9 seater vans. On the way to Fort William our load in time was really late so we have a few tourists stops in some highland pubs on the way up which was ace. The vans are great and we tend to take a lot of music DVDs for the journey. RATM live is a band favourite. On the way back it’s normally a less livelier affair but with plenty of laughs about the night before. Our bass player Brian was kind enough to drive home from Inverness as I was not up for it at all. Some stand up Billy Connelly for some recovery time.
You can catch Yer Nana – A Scottish Tribute to Nirvana LIVE at :
HARD ROCK CAFE | GLASGOW | 24th FEBRUARY 2017
CROFTER BAR | FORT WILLIAM | 3rd JUNE 2017
GIRDWOODS | WISHAW | 26th AUGUST 2017
BUSKERS | DUNFERMLINE | 7th OCTOBER 2017
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