A San Francisco-based teacher is one of 24 semi-finalists for the Queen Extravaganza, a contest to assemble a nationally-touring Queen tribute band produced and mentored by the legendary group's own drummer/songwriter/singer Roger Taylor.
Adam Yas teaches music and entrepreneurship at Life Learning Academy, a high school for at-risk kids on Treasure Island that's run by Delancey Street Foundation, and is in a local group called Leather Feather.
"I've been kicking around in bands for a while now," says Yas, 36. "You get used to playing empty bars at one in the morning, and you start to accept that the dream to sing for thousands of people -- the one you had when you were 10 -- probably won't come true. Which is fine. But then you hear about a competition like this, and the 10-year-old pokes you on the shoulder and asks, 'Oh, can we pretty please? One more shot?' And you can't resist."Yas remembers being enraptured with Queen back in grade school in the '80s, when he had a Saturday morning ritual of copying the Top 40 down on paper each week. He was mesmerized watching Freddie Mercury and the band performing on television for Live Aid in 1985, calling that the moment the band entered his "musical DNA." "I've always felt more like myself on stage than off, and I think Freddie was the same way," he says now. "He set the blueprint for transforming and transcending on the great big rock show stage." Yas also loves the melody and melancholy, aggression and compassion of Queen's music. Check out Yas' audition video -- it's him singing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" amidst posters of Freddy Krueger, Jimi Hendrix, Queen Elizabeth, and A Tribe Called Quest. If you're feeling it, vote for Yas to make it to the Queen Extravaganza finals in Los Angeles. The deadline for voting is Monday, Nov. 28.