FROM performing alongside Jason Donovan and Marti Pellow at the O2 arena, Will Stapleton will then be rushing back to High Wycombe to perform at the Bucks New Uni as part of Jettblack. The Loudwater resident landed the role in the new stage show of the War of the Worlds completely out of the blue and was so shocked he thought it was a joke until he met the director, Jeff Wayne. The singer and guitarist talked about seeing his face on TV for the first time, the pleasure of working with "legends" and what's next for Jettblack.
Will Stapleton cannot believe his luck. The guitarist in High Wycombe based band, Jettblack, received a call from his agent out of the blue about two months ago saying he was being considered for a lead role in the new production of War of the Worlds.
This is not just any production as it stars Marti Pellow as The Sung Thoughts of The Journalist, Jason Donovan playing Parson Nathaniel, and Kerry Ellis as his wife, Beth. Also confirmed is Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson in the role of The Artilleryman.
Internationally acclaimed actor Liam Neeson completes the cast and will be seen in the new production in 3D holography portraying the role of George Herbert.
Will is playing The Voice of Humanity, singing Thunder Child which ends Act One.
He said: "I thought it was a joke. I thought it was a wind up. It came out of the blue. I said to my manager: 'Why me out of everyone?'
"I went to meet Jeff Wayne at his house, I pulled up to his gates and spoke into the intercom. And Jeff answered and he said, 'Ah the voice of humanity'
"Up until then I thought it was a joke- I thought someone was going to jump out of the bushes.
"I was obviously pretty stoked by it that they would even consider me.
"I am just some rock singer- no-one had seen me live."
The 32-year-old said he believes a freelance journalist called Mick Burgess, who is friends with Jeff, put Will's name forward after doing a few interviews with the band previously for a magazine called Fireworks Melodic Rock magazine.
But Will hasn't had a chance to say thank you to Mick yet.
I spoke to him on the last day of rehearsals and X-Factor judge, Gary Barlow had just come to watch. The singer has recorded two songs for the album, which accompanies the show.
Will said he is sure the producers had other people in mind. Before going to Jeff's house for the first time he was sent the songs and he recorded his version in Jeff's studios.
He said: "It was kind of an audition although I wasn't aware they had other people in mind."
He found out two weeks before Jettblack went on their first headline tour that he had got the role.
He said: "I didn't know what to make of it. It was something I told people I was doing.
"Then adverts started appearing on TV during the X-Factor breaks with my face on it.
"I was eating my tea and I nearly choked on it."
The show is based on HG Well's science fiction novel and tells the story of a Martian invasion of Victorian England. It began touring in 2006 but has been relaunched with a new tour.
Will said: "Before I met anyone- they are proper big guns- Jason Donovan and Marti Pellow- they are legends.
"I was a bit apprehensive before I met anyone. I felt like the outsider- the wild card. "But everyone is really cool and everyone is having fun on it."
He met Kerry Ellis when she performed at the Brian May concert in High Wycombe last month.
Then he gradually met the others. But how did the rest of the band feel? "Our bass player, Tom- he was more excited than I was."
And he will have to miss a couple of gigs while he is on tour.
But on December 15 he is rushing from one of the shows at the O2 Arena to play a gig in High Wycombe at Bucks New Uni. And he said on that night they are filming the live DVD so he has to be there the curtain call.
Will added: "If I can get out on time it will be ok, but there will be a whole arena of people trying to get out.
"We are on at 11.30pm and the train I aim to get gets in at 11.15pm."
He said the costumes are really cool, but he does have to wear a pair of velvet trousers.
"When I touch them it makes my teeth itch," he laughed.
Jettblack started life as Skirtbox, and the band members met at The Misbourne. Tom Wright is on bass and is from Chesham, Matt Oliver is the drummer and originally from High Wycombe and Jon Dow does vocals and guitar and is from Wendover.
The first headline tour in October went really well and once Will has finished with War of the Worlds the band will be recording new videos, releasing a new EP with new songs and play further venues.
He added: "From there we will be onwards and upwards."
Jettblack is at Students Union at the Bucks New Uni on December 15, supported by Motherload, The Wild Lies and Release The Bats. Tickets are £8. Go to http://www.bucksstudent.com/events/
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