‘I have to thank The Hoff, our success is down to him!’

Jaymz Denning (left)
Jaymz Denning (left)
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Not many Blackpool folk will be doing a show in Moscow this month, then heading for a residency in LA.

Take a bow, then, Jaymz Denning, who is causing a real stir with his band Tenors of Rock.

They are a five-piece group made up of West End singing stars who fancied doing something a bit different – namely doing their own unique versions of rock songs.

It has caught on, and Jaymz and his bandmates have gigs booked in all over the globe for the remainder of the year, including the Moscow Arts Festival, a residency at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas resort complex, and – one a bit nearer home – an appearance in August at Lytham Proms.

So how did the 36-year-old (pictured fourth from the left) get from Thames Primary and Hodgson High schools to where he is now?

Well, he was probably always going to be on stage in some form.

Parents Jimmy Nairn and Sue Denning have performed all their lives and still now, after 38 years of marriage, spend the majority of their time entertaining audiences on cruise ships around the world.

Jaymz’s younger sister too is in showbiz. Called Lara, she plays one of the lead roles in the seven-time Olivier award-winning musical Matilda in London’s West End.

“With a family like that, I think I was always destined to do acting or singing of some kind,” agreed Jaymz.

“And I wanted to do it too, I wasn’t pushed into it.

“I did performing arts at Blackpool and The Fylde College’s base in St Annes from aged 16 to 18, and then noticed that everyone who wanted to be an actor was going to London to try and find fame.

“So that’s what I did. I left Blackpool at 18 and spent a few years bumming around, trying to get work, doing all sorts of jobs.

“It was real hard work. You think you know it all when you are fresh out of college in Blackpool, but then you get to London and realise that actually you know nothing.”

The big break came in 2001 when Jaymz, then in his early 20s, landed a part in Buddy.

“It was a massive thing to get and it set me up for my whole career really,” he said.

Parts in Sister Act, Billy Elliot and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang followed, as Jaymz became a regular in the West End.

Not a bad life all things considered but, all the while, though, he was happiest sat at home playing guitar.

“It was strange in a way that I ended up in musicals because I never planned that, I sort of just fell into it,” he said.

“Growing up in Blackpool I’d always been in bands. I’d worked with soul stars like Edwyn Starr and gigging was my life. Give me a guitar and I am happy.

“Even in London, while doing these West End shows, I was in a band.”

It was where all the best ideas begin – in a pub – that Jaymz and three of his mates came up with Tenors of Rock.

“We realised we were all into rock music and loved singing it, and my best pal pointed out that, although there are loads of opera-style bands out there, no one was doing rock music like ACDC and Black Sabbath. We all agreed it was our idea of heaven to be in a band like that, so we thought we’d give it a go.

“In all honesty, I think I was ready for a break from musicals too. I love doing them but I don’t always fit in with that crowd – I mean I’m at my happiest when I’m sat in the pub talking about how Blackpool FC are doing, or whether Moyes deserved more time at Man United.

“That doesn’t tend to happen too much when you are hanging around with actors in musicals, but now I get to spend my time with my best mates who are all into the same thing.”

What started out as a part-time thing has now turned full-time – thanks to a bit of blagging and The Hoff. Let Jaymz explain: “We were all still in shows when we started Tenors of Rock, and we didn’t think it would come to anything.

“Then I got a call off David Hasselhoff. I’d done pantomime with him in Wimbledon a few years earlier and we’d got on great. He was in London to do a show at the O2, needed some acts to support him and phoned me because he knew I was into my music.

“I chanced my arm and said we’d do it. What he didn’t know is that we’d only done one gig before.

“So our second gig was in front of a packed crowd at the O2, and because of the curiosity factor with The Hoff, everybody in the entertainment industry was there.

“We went down well – because the five of us are all West End singers so we can belt out a tune pretty well – and from there we got a backer which has allowed us to take the band further, to tour the world and bring an album out.

“One of our best gigs was supporting McFly at Hyde Park for the Olympics in front of 80,000 people. It was insane. And it was another blag! I knew the organiser and they let us go on first – we had 80,000 people singing God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You by Kiss. It was magic.

“So I have to thank The Hoff really – all our success is down to him!” Since then Jaymz and his band have had a single in the European Rock Chart (“for 10 weeks too – we appeared on a couple of TV shows and they seemed to go nuts for us, which was weird, but great”) and have spent two years touring the world playing in 2.500 seater concert halls.

In Las Vegas, Priscilla Presley came to one of their shows, which caused a stir, and has led to a residency there this summer. “The money is good, obviously, but the best thing is getting to work with some fantastic people out there, like Guns ‘n’ Roses and Survivor,” said Jaymz.

There’s a lot of travelling involved in what he does, which is why Jaymz admits he always loves to come home, something he’ll get an opportunity to do when his band appear at Lytham Proms later in the year.

“That will be great, and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of family and friends who have never seen this band or what we do, so it will be nice to have them all watching.

“It’s a bit of a rarity for me too, because the only other time I’ve performed in Blackpool was in Buddy at the Opera House. I worked backstage at the Grand for three and a half years, aged 15 onwards, and it is my favourite theatre in the world.

“I’ve done the Palladium several times, but I’ve always wanted to play The Grand. Hopefully, they might book this band one day and I can fulfill the ambition.”

He added: “Blackpool is still the place I consider home.

“I get back to see mum and dad whenever I can. I’m a big Blackpool fan too, and I was at the game against Burnley when the fans started lobbing tennis balls on the pitch as a protest.

“I’ve seen a few things in my years as a Pool fan, but never anything like that!”

Jaymz, an affable fella, looks set for a big few years ahead with Tenors of Rock.

You can catch him at Lytham Proms on Sunday, August 3, when they are on the bill alongside Michael Ball, Rhydian and The Halle Orchestra. Tickets from www.ticketmaster.co.uk