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‘KISS guy’ Yayo Sanchez on his seven minutes with Foo Fighters

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Yayo Sanchez, AKA Kiss Guy, plays "Monkey Wrench" with Foo Fighters at an April 18 concert in Austin. Yayo Sanchez, AKA Kiss Guy, plays "Monkey Wrench" with Foo Fighters at an April 18 concert in Austin. (photo courtesy John Lill of John Lill Photography)

Sometimes, rock and roll dreams really do come true. Just ask Yayo Sanchez, a 25-year-old guitarist and audio recording engineer from Austin, Texas.

Sanchez says his mother gave him an early birthday present he’ll never forget – a ticket for Foo Fighters’ April 18 concert at the Austin360 Amphitheatre. A huge fan of the band, Sanchez says he hoped to attract their attention and he knew one surefire way to do it – arrive in full Gene Simmons KISS makeup.

On the morning of the show, he created a sign bearing a simple request: “Let me play ‘Monkey Wrench.’”

The sign referred to the song from the band’s 1997 album “The Colour and the Shape.” Sure enough, Foo Fighters guitarist and lead singer Dave Grohl noticed Sanchez in the audience and chatted with him from the stage, referring to him as “KISS guy.”

“He said ‘Hey man, is that makeup or a mask?’” Sanchez told me during a phone interview. “When I told him it was makeup, he said ‘Dude, that is awesome!’ When he was talking to me, a little voice inside said ‘Show him the sign’ so I flashed the sign at him.”

What happened next changed the young guitarist’s life, according to Sanchez.

“Dave Grohl brought me up onstage at 10:05 p.m. on April 18, 2018. The next seven minutes were the most glorious I’ve ever had in my life.”

Grohl handed his guitar to Sanchez and asked “Have you ever done this before?” Sanchez nodded in the affirmative and proceeded to bring the house down as the band launched into “Monkey Wrench.”

Fan-shot video of Sanchez’s blistering performance with Foo Fighters immediately went viral and has been viewed nearly 3.5 million times as of this writing.

With Grohl on lead vocals, Sanchez attacked the song, particularly the guitar solo, with the confidence and stage presence of a seasoned rock veteran. A shocked Grohl fell to his knees and began bowing to the young guitarist.

“When I saw him doing that, I was like ‘No man, please. Don’t you dare bow down to me,’” Sanchez remembered. “I just thought it couldn’t really be happening. With any other band, I don’t think it would have happened.”

After the show, Sanchez says the band’s crew gifted him with a variety of guitar picks and an autographed copy of that evening’s concert setlist.

“They were so genuinely nice to me,” said Sanchez. “Everyone in the band was so cool. There are no egos in the Foo Fighters. They were super welcoming. I don’t think there’s another band out there who would have given a young musician the same opportunity.”

Sanchez says he has been playing the guitar for 15 years and trying to break through in the music business while also working as an audio engineer.

“I’ve dreamed of being able to have a breakthrough but I was almost ready to give up hope,” he said. “Out of nowhere comes the rock of thunder blasting me to the world. Dave Grohl made a dream that is pretty much impossible come true. He pretty much saved my life.”

Chalk it up to synchronicity or happenstance but Sanchez says his good fortune happens to coincide with the release of his new single “Mothership,” available on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby.

“I’m really proud of it,” Sanchez said of his new project. “I’m excited to be able to share it with the world and I’m also excited that the world is finally listening.”

When Sanchez returned home following his life-altering evening, he discovered that he had become the talk of the internet.

“Overnight, all of these beautiful people from all over the world, in different languages, starting hitting me up with nothing but love and positivity,” Sanchez said. “Dave Grohl has this aura of positivity and it spreads to people around him and to fans around the world. You can feel it.”

Too excited to sleep, Sanchez says he had a tingling in his veins for a full week after the concert.

“It’s hard to explain what it felt like,” he said. “During that whole show, it was like I was having an out of body experience but I was just high on rock and roll. A lot of people have asked me if it was real or a setup. I assure you that it was 100 percent real.”

Sanchez says he has a realistic appraisal of his appearance with Foo Fighters as it relates to his long-term goals for rock and roll success.

“If nothing else comes out of this, I’m super grateful for this one experience, as a fan and as a musician. I couldn’t be happier.”

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