Deer Tick frontman John McCauley's dream came true on Thursday night when he got to perform with his heroes Nirvana – and later told how he believed it was an April Fool prank.
Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear played a set at their Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction, fronted by guests including Joan Jett, Kim Gordon and St Vincent’s Annie Clark.
They followed it with a secret show at a 230-capacity club in Brooklyn, with McCauley invited to take a turn alongside the big-name guests to deliver Nirvana tracks Serve The Servants and Scentless Apprentice.
He tells Rolling Stone: “I got an email from Dave personally – but it was the day day before April Fool’s Day so I didn’t really get my hopes up.
“It could have been anybody with a fake email account. I was sceptical for a couple of days, but then I got an email from their manager and it got real legit.
“Then I was like, ‘Holy shit – this is weird, man. But let’s do it.’”
The alt-rock frontman, whose plays Nirvana cover sets under the name Deervana, admits he was “the one guy nobody knew” when he attended a rehearsal session.
“I rang the buzzer and somebody let me in. He said, “Where are you going?’ I said, ‘Studio six.’ ‘What band?’ ‘Uh, Nirvana.’ It felt weird leaving my mouth – it was awesome.
“I’m in the corner not really talking to anybody. Krist is like, ‘I was wondering who that weird guy was.’ I was a ball of nerves – I knew I could play the songs and sing fine; it was just, ‘How do I talk to these guys?’ But they were super-sweet.”
McCauley reflects: “Even though they haven’t been a band for 20 years they felt just like a band to me. I’ve always fantasised about playing with Dave behind the drum set. He’s definitely one of my favourites. I’m just so thrilled about it. I’m having a hard time believing it happened.”
He’s dismissive of fast-moving rumours that Grohl and co are considering a tour based on their Rock Hall show and its follow-up – but says: “I don’t expect to do this again. If they asked me, I don’t think I’m allowed to say no.”