SINCE winning Stars in their Eyes back in 1996, Terry Nash has travelled all around the country with his Meat Loaf tribute.
Now Terry brings his act to the Wycombe Swan theatre in They Will Rock You on March 2 as a special guest star in a Queen tribute show.
You would be forgiven for mistaking Terry for the real deal such is his striking similarity to the star and he admits he’s been compared to the famous singer since he was a teenager whether he liked it or not.
He said: “People used to say I looked like Meat Loaf even when I was 19 and slimmer.
“I was horrified. I wanted to look like Elvis or George Michael.
“I was a fan of Meat Loaf, but he wasn’t exactly a hit with the girls.”
Before appearing on the show Terry trained as an electrician.
“I left school and trained for four years as part of an apprenticeship with British Rail.
“I switched to fixing domestic appliances and that’s when I really started to sing.
“I’d get talking to the customers and they’d ask if I liked Elvis because they’d hear me humming Jailhouse Rock.”
Even now Terry can’t help but burst into song, singing several iconic Meat Loaf tracks for me.
He said: “When I was in people’s houses I’d sing them a song while their washing machine was in 16 pieces around me in their kitchen.
“I used my screwdriver to tap out the tune.”
It wasn’t long after his change in career that Terry applied for Stars in Their Eyes.
“I knew I was going to be in the show nine months before I actually went on it, so with their blessing I started performing as Meat Loaf beforehand to get a feel for it.”
Winning the 1996 series launched Terry’s tribute act and since then he has performed at the O2 Arena, packed theatres and numerous pubs and clubs up and down the country,
“I got to meet the man himself as part of the show and he approved of my impersonation.
“After the show the phone literally did not stop ringing for six or seven months.
“It was manic.
“Now I not only perform as Meat Loaf, but the Blues Brothers, and I do the Rocky Horror show.
“I even do Grease – though I’m a bit big for Danny so I play the fat guy with the comb.”
Terry hasn’t just been performing since his television break, he took the chance to pick up his studies and went to university to read performing arts.
“Stars in Their Eyes gave me the chance to go on studying, which was great.
“My dissertation was on my own performance, and I looked at the illusion my act creates.”
Terry believes the magic of tribute acts is the ability to suspend reality.
“I make people think for a split second that’s it really him and they believe it is Meat Loaf if only for a moment.
“It’s not a con, but a tribute, a momentary illusion.”
So how will he suspend belief in They Will Rock You?
“With the stage lights, the big band and the theatre atmosphere,” said Terry.
“It’ll feel like Wembley when we’re done with it.”
Terry is planning to perform all the classic Meat Loaf tracks including Bat Out of Hell, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, All Revved up With no Place To Go and I’d Do Anything For Love.
After Terry sings a few of my favourites for me I confess that singing along to Meat Loaf is one of my guilty pleasures when driving.
I feel slightly better when Terry tells me he is often told by fans they suffer the same embarrassment.
“They’re superb driving tracks and when you play them loud you can’t help but sing along.
“Though I do like riding my motorbike so there’s less opportunity to cruise in my car and turn them up.”
Perhaps surprisingly, listening to music isn’t something the artist does that often.
“I’m so fully immersed in music for the job that I don’t often listen to it to relax.
“I do I have a wide taste, from Black Sabbath to Guns n Roses, Rolling Stones, to James Brown and Aretha Franklin, and of course Elvis.
“I like a bit of the old swing too, with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.”
The real Meat Loaf has recently announced his comeback with a new album, Hell in a Hand Basket, but Terry says there’s plenty of room for two Meat Loafs.
“I’ve heard the new songs and sung a few already, but I think for the show we’ll have the classics and let Meat Loaf break in the new stuff.”
And what do the band do to wind down after such an intense show?
“As soon as the sound check is done we’re off for a curry,” says Terry.
“I sit down with a meat pathia, or paneer – It’s tradition.”