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Deer Tick man's dream night fronting Nirvana

John McCauley thought he was April Fool victim when Dave Grohl invited him to play at Rock Hall secret show

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."

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