Johnny Dyas. Photo Craig Baxter
Johnny Dyas is still pinching himself.
The former John McGlashan College pupil is settling back into
Dunedin life after mixing with some of the biggest names in
the music business.
The 23-year-old performed and helped arrange a single with
actor and singer Jack Black for the latest album by Beck
The pair performed We All Wear Cloaks at Beck's Song Reader
Live concert in Los Angeles, on November 25.
Black then flew Dyas back to LA to record the song for Beck's
latest album, Song Reader, in February.
''I hung out with him for about four months. I was pretty
star-struck, at times.
''I'd be hanging out with Jack at restaurants and you'd get
all these famous people coming up to say hi to him. It was
like a dream, some times.
''I remember looking at [actress] Anne Hathaway and thinking
she was just too beautiful,'' he said yesterday.
''It was a bit intimidating, because there were a lot of
really big stars there. I had to get over being star-struck.
But most of them were very ordinary. Fortunately, Jack is
very natural and down to earth.''
The album was inspired by a volume of sheet music released by
Beck in December 2012, in which he invited interpretation of
''Beck approached Jack, but his usual musical assistant, Kyle
Gass, was not available, so Jack thought he'd give me a
chance to help him write and play some songs,'' Dyas said.
''It was amazing, because I remember when the Beck Song
Reader came out and I thought how cool it would be to be
involved with it.
''I met Beck and he was very polite. He was a really quiet
guy. Jack always did most of the talking.''
The families had a connection through their fathers, Jeff
Dyas and Tom Black, who worked together in LA in the 1960s
and 1970s. ''I met Jack in New Zealand in 2005, when he was
starring in Peter Jackson's King Kong.
''I performed a piano concert for him and gave him a cassette
tape with my music on it. When I came to LA he remembered me
and was eager to meet.''
The pair also produced a song, Spoiler Alert, for the
Anchorman 2 DVD.
''He said he enjoyed playing with me, because the piano gives
him more texture to play with. He wants to do some more
recording together in November, for his band, Tenacious D.''
''I got paid quite well for the Beck show and the recording,
which was pretty cool.
''This has been a step in the right direction for me and,
hopefully, a signal that I will eventually make a living
doing what I like,'' Dyas said.
He is now back in Dunedin, studying commerce and working on
''After my experiences in the music industry, I decided I
would finish my commerce studies so I could have a hand in
the business side of the music industry and a better chance
to support myself in times of financial hardship,'' he said.
''But I hope to return to LA and pursue my musical dreams
again. My dream is to work in film music.''
Dyas studied music composition under Anthony Richie and Peter
Adams at the University of Otago, graduating in 2012.
He has performed widely around Otago and was official pianist
at Michael Hill's The Hills golf course, in Queenstown, in