• Jo Parsons

Career Highlight!

In 2015, along with Joe Bishop, Danny Whitehead and Nick Martland, I founded The Other Guys. The four of us had two things in common- we all went to the same drama school and we all shared a huge love for the hits of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons- so we celebrated their wonderful music and paid tribute to them by launching our first act and within 24 hours of recording a short demo of songs inspired by the hit West End Musical, Jersey Boys we had booked our first gig.

Six months later we were picked up by an Agent based in America and by some miraculous misfortune (of a ‘Beatles Tribute Band’ who had their passports stolen in Turkey) we were whisked away to our first of many contracts onboard cruise ships.

The stories we have from these multi-million pound, floating hotels must be saved for another blog, but I can tell you now those ships have a life and law of their own- and all for the right reasons… ish!

As an act, we were doing better than we ever imagined. Most weekends we had 4 guys performing in London, a team up North and a team somewhere in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. We never took for granted how fortunate we felt to be performing music that we loved, with audiences that made us feel like Kings and in some incredible places we never thought we would visit.

However, in 2017 one phone call trumped anything and everything we had ever done. My brother, Matt Parsons (Bristol City FC) worked at Arsenal Football Club at the time and on a sunny, Thursday afternoon in May at approximately 3pm, he called me rather panicked to ask what ‘The Other Guys’ were doing that night!

The entertainment for the Players end of season Charity night in aid of The Arsenal Foundation had pulled out. Without knowing the availability of the lads I instantly replied “We’re available.”

I was told my brother had pitched us but the other act now being considered by the CEO was Katie Tunstall!

I was on the sofa, one guy was on the golf course and two were doing their weekly shop, when we got the official call that they wanted US!

Within 2 hours we were at The Emirates, sound checking for a 20 minute set with Matt Lucas (Little Britain) introducing us.

The night was a blur of excitement, for 4 lads obsessed with music, theatre and most importantly football, who will never forget Alexis Sanchez jumping out of his chair when we started singing and getting all the lads to dance along for the whole performance.

We had an unbelievable buzz when we walked off that stage, but when the official club photographer (Stuart) told us to head downstairs for a picture we could not believe that was by request of Mesut Ozil and the whole team who wanted a picture with us. We felt like our 8 year old selves obsessed with the footballers we all looked up to, but now these guys wanted a picture with us.

As we walked away in utter shock to take the lift back up to our dressing room, who walked out? None other than Arsene Wenger and what did he say-

“You’re the best subs I’ve ever seen!”

An amazing, witty, passing exchange and one I will never, ever forget.

That gig truly surpassed all our expectations from when we launched The Other Guys, yes we had a little bit of luck that my brother worked there, but we worked hard to be presented with such an opportunity and we never, ever said no to a gig.

No gig is too small, no gig is too big- the talent is what counts and every single audience should be treated the same- it just so happens that night we entertained some of our heroes and idols whilst doing what we love and at the end they wanted to meet us!

A few weeks later we each received a signed, framed picture with the team and the boss signed by the captain and Arsene Wenger.

Oh, and a little birdie told me that apparently in the dressing room after their FA Cup Final victory, Danny Wellbeck popped on our CD and all the players were singing ‘Oh What A Night!’

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