The frontman of a band is the epitome of charisma, sex-appeal, cool, and talent. All the boys want to be him, and all the girls want to bed him. Could you walk coolly in Brandon Flowers’ pointy, perfectly polished winklepickers? Do you think you have what it takes to own the stage in Bono’s rubber-soled, 4-inch platform trainers? Or do you have the swagger to carry off sauntering in the shoes of Kasabian’s Tom Meighan?
We got backstage at Winterton’s Fake Festival last month and spoke exclusively to Trevor Hurley, professional fake Brandon Flowers and lead singer of The Fillers, Frank Farkas, replicated version of holier-than-thou U2 frontman Bono of tribute act New2, and Matthew Addison, copycat of Tom Meighan of Kazabian. Are these fake frontmen even better than the real thing?
Of all the bands to replicate, why these?
Trevor: It started back in 2006, as a jest. We were asked to play a gig as our original band, but we thought it would be fun to play it as a Killer’s tribute band. We just turned up and did it. We set up a MySpace account with a few recordings on, and forgot about it….a few months later we logged on to find a world of offers to play different places, and realised that we could have some fun with it.
Matthew: [Kasabian are] the biggest band in the country at the moment, and unlike Kings Of Leon, or The Beatles, we’re the only tribute to Kasabian in the world!
Frank: I was in a pub band years ago, and when we did a U2 cover a lot of people told me that I had the Bono look and that I sounded like him. That’s how it started, and I’ve done alright!
Is your persona an exact replica, or your own personal interpretation?
Trevor: It’s a mixture of both. You try and nail the mannerisms, and the way he sings live. We want it to be as close to a real Killers gig as possible, but there are limits….you won’t find me talking with a fake American accent in-between songs!
Matthew: We’ve spent as much time as possible watching Kasabian performances to make sure we sound and look as close to the real thing as possible.
Frank: It’s more my own interpretation of Bono.
What is the best part of being your chosen frontman?
Trevor: Playing the songs live. We have played gigs to 30,000 people. For us, that is pretty special.
Matthew: You’d have to ask Tom Meighan! The best thing about taking him on is that I have an excuse to strut about the stage and be a bit lairy. Oh, and he likes a beer, too….got to keep it authentic, haven’t I?
Frank: I just love walking into a pub, and having people ask if they can have a photo.
Does receiving endorsements from the band themselves put pressure on you?
Trevor: I think the biggest pressure that we have ever had was playing in front of Ronnie (Vanucci Jr, The Killer’s drummer). Having a member of the band watch you is weird, but he was amazingly cool and complimentary about it. The rest of the band have been very gracious about us too.
Frank: I once worked with Bob Geldof, and he said that i was an absolute credit to his friend, which was really nice.
What is your favourite track to play live?
Matthew: LSF is my favourite to do. The crowd get into it as much as we do, and we usually try and get them singing along at the end. Plus, it’s a class song!
Frank: I prefer to do the older songs, rather than the new stuff. ‘Angel Of Harlem’, ‘With Or Without You’, songs like that never fail.
How important are events like Fake Festivals for you?
Matthew: Events like this are great! We really enjoyed that last one – great gig, and a great opportunity for us to play to a big crowd!
Frank: We get a lot of work from doing this. People book us for private functions off the back of this. And, I love playing to big crowds, it’s brilliant fun!
Check out my round-up of Winterton’s Fake Festival here.