Gary James' Interview With Rod Stewart Tribute Artist
Dylan Cassidy looks so much like Rod Stewart that when he's walking down the street or going through an airport, people think it's the real thing! But when you look so much like Rod Stewart and you sing just like him, then in the world of tribute artists, you are the real thing! It's no wonder then that Dylan Cassidy is the world's number one Rod Stewart tribute act. Dylan Cassidy talked with us about his act.
Q - Dylan, I've been told by other tribute artists that as we speak, Rod Stewart tribute artists are very much in demand. Is that true and why would that be?
A - I suppose because Rod Stewart is very popular with "The Great American Songbook" and all that. He's just a legend, isn't he?
Q - He is that.
A - He'll always be popular, but you heard that he's more popular now than ever?
Q - That's right. And that's why Rod Stewart tribute acts are in demand. That "Great American Songbook" probably propelled his popularity to new heights. Before that it was Rod Stewart And The Faces, "Maggie May".
A - That's right. I agree with you on that. When he did that, he got a new audience, didn't he?
Q - That he did.
A - He got a new following. All those old, great classic songs are in my show. They're just great songs. I'd like to say for me it's opened a new door. For him, with a new audience, he got a new following apart from the "Maggie May" people and Faces and all that.
Q - He put on a tuxedo.
A - Yeah. I copied him and I've got the same one.
Q - Your audience probably appreciates that.
A - Yeah, they do.
Q - It's not enough to look like the person you're portraying, you have to sound like him.
A - That's right. The band is really good. The sax player is playing with a fantastic tribute to Barry White. He plays with a twenty-one piece orchestra with this guy. He takes it all over Europe. It's amazing.
Q - Where is the market place for your act? Europe? All over the world/
A - Yeah. All over the world. Mainly Europe, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, England, Spain.
Q - And where do you perform in those countries?
A - In England we do the theaters, hotels. Nice venues. Places like that.
Q - How did you know a Rod Stewart tribute act would go over? Did people tell you, you look like Rod Stewart?
A - People always said it. It's really weird. Even when my hair was sort of flat, they said "you look a lot like Rod Stewart." When I was younger I always had the Rod Stewart hairstyle, but not meaning to, if you know what I mean. My voice is like his. It just all fell into place from that. It was natural.
Q - Before this Rod Stewart tribute act, you were in Top 40 bands, cover bands?
A - Yeah. That's right. I was in a cover band. I was a band leader in England for MECCA and EMI ballrooms in those days when everything was 'live'. There was no backing tracks. Everything was 'live'. I went to drama school and joined a touring theatre production company and played Jesus Christ Superstar. You know, different things I've done in my career. Rod was always there because I naturally performed like Rod. I was in original bands and then the tribute world became really big. I think it's a little saturated at the minute with different sorts of tributes. The top tributes still survive and get great venues and great places to play.
Q - It's a growing business, Dylan.
A - Yeah. I think if it's done properly and you put everything into it and all the work into it, you'll always get a lot of work and good gigs.
Q - Would you say you almost have to be British to pull off a Rod Stewart tribute? I'm not aware of any Americans doing a Rod Stewart tribute.
A - There's loads in America. There's quite a few. It does sound a little bit odd with an American accent. But there are some really good tribute acts out there. There's a good Canadian one I like. I think he's quite good.
Q - Have you ever met Rod Stewart?
A - I sort of met Rod Stewart, yes. Face to face with Rod Stewart on the stairway when people won tickets to a Rod Stewart concert. I went to have photographs with them and I also had a V.I.P. ticket to see Rod Stewart in concert. The thing that happened to me was I came from the hotel to the place where Rod Stewart was performing. I got out of the taxi and asked for the press office. Everybody ran to me and I said "I'm not Rod Stewart." Then the police came, the Spanish police 'cause this was in Spain. They took me downstairs and put me in his dressing room. I said "I'm not the real Rod Stewart." This is a true, true story. When I was walking down the stairs, the real Rod Stewart and Penny (his wife) came face-to-face, right in front of me. Rod smiled at me. I tried to get away and they came around again. They thought I was Rod Stewart again. Then Penny came out and I had pictures with Penny in the auditorium. It was just really weird. I have met Rod Stewart, but in a strange way.
Q - So, when Rod Stewart so you, he just smiled? He didn't say anything to you?
A - No. He just smiled. There was so much commotion of police and everything and they tried to put me downstairs because everybody was Spanish. I was saying "I'm not the real Rod Stewart" to all the police. I felt so bad at the time 'cause they were trying to take me down again to his dressing room. It was really strange. It was the weirdest feeling ever. Penny was just sort of smiling and laughing. I met his band and they said "we saw what happened." (laughs)
Q - If you had stayed in Rod Stewart's dressing room, when he opened the door, chances are he would've said something to you then.
A - Well, I wanted to get out. I didn't want to be down there. I knew I was in the wrong place. I felt like some sort of crazed fan. I felt intrusive. I felt embarrassed. I said "I'm not Rod Stewart. I'm just a tribute look-a-like artist." They were saying "Rod! Rod!" It was horrible, even though it was great afterwards. But at the time it was quite frightening. Everyone was running to me sort of asking for my autograph because there was all the security around me for no reason. It was quite bizarre.
Q - One thing you can definitely take away from an experience like that is, now you know what it's like to be the real Rod Stewart.
A - That's right. Yeah. And it was quite frightening in a way.
Q - And you only had to deal with it for a few minutes. He's had to deal with it for his whole life.
A - Yeah, I know. It's very intrusive.
Q - That's one of the things you give up when you become famous, your privacy.
A - That's true. There's a price to pay for everything.
Q - How many people do you have in your show?
A - At the moment we have a five piece band. We've got a guest artist called Jackie, who sings a lot like Tina Turner. We do a few duets from Jennifer Hudson's "Soulbook" CD and we have a couple of backing singers as well. We have a road crew. Altogether, nine people.
Q - What's Jackie's last name?
A - Miller. Jackie Miller. She's got a great voice.
Q - How many gigs are you doing each year?
A - Last year I did Spain, Germany and Ireland. I think I did 170 shows last year.
Q - You're on the move!
A - Yeah. That's a lot of shows. It's quite intense. We did five weeks in Southern Ireland last year (2011). We're going to Germany again in November (2012) and December (2012).
Q - I've heard that Germany's economy is doing quite well.
A - Yes. They're really into the tributes. It's quite prosperous there, especially Hamburg. It's a good place to be.
Q - When you walk down the street in Germany, do people think you're Rod Stewart?
A - Yes, all the time. I got to the stage where I did stick the hat on a few times. The taxi man nearly crashed the car. "Oh, Rod Stewart! Oh, my God!" He nearly crashed the car when I was in it.
Q - When you tell people you're Dylan Cassidy, do they ever say "Are you any relation to David Cassidy?"
A - Yeah. They all say that. They always say that. He was brilliant. I liked his voice. Everybody said he was Bubblegum, but I could see more in his voice. I like the tone and depth of it. I thought he was really good.
Q - Do you ever have days when you say to yourself, I wish I was back doing my original music?
A - Yes, I do. But I love the character I play, Rod Stewart. Yeah, sometimes you just sort of want to be yourself. I'm working at the minute with a guy who's a great engineer. He's engineered for quite a few famous people. I'm working with him on sort of original stuff. He's engineered for Cliff Richard, (The) Scorpions and Justin Timberlake. He's from Austria. A really nice guy. He's got a studio and said "I want to work with you." I had a meeting with him a few days ago and we're doing things together, which is really nice.