The singers for two AC/DC tribute bands have spoken out about their chance to audition for the real group recently following the departure of longtime frontman Brian Johnson as he battled hearing loss. While the job ultimately went to a name-brand pro, Axl Rose from Guns N’ Roses, the band did try out a few unknowns when they held auditions in Atlanta earlier this month.
Vocalist Darren Caperna of the Dallas-based AC/DC tribute band Back In Black told Boston radio station WZLX that he got the call and flew to Atlanta accompanied by his guitarist, Mike Mroz. He explained, “They made us feel like we’ve known each other for years. There was no rock star persona, there was nothing . . . I was drinking tea with them outside while telling stories and talking to each other like we were just hanging out at a studio, singing songs together. And they told us they don’t know which direction they’re going when we were leaving, but they wanted us to know that we did a great job.”
- Caperna said he sang 21 songs with the band — the entire Rock Or Bust tour set, plus “Dog Eat Dog” and “Riff Raff.” He called the audition “the experience of a lifetime.”
- Meanwhile, singer Lee Robinson of the North Carolina tribute band Thunderstruck also got the call, telling Blabbermouth, “I didn’t sleep for, like, three days. I was studying the songs.”
- Robinson entered the Atlanta studio and jammed with the road crew before the members of AC/DC entered the space. Robinson said that bassist Cliff Williams discovered Thunderstruck on YouTube and thought that Robinson deserved a tryout.
- Robinson said that after having lunch, the band began to play. He explained, “Once they started playing I was just excited and was just standing there like what the hell. I’m playing with AC/DC!”
- Like Darren Caperna, Robinson sang most of the current tour set, also adding numbers like “What Do You Do For Money, Honey,” “Given The Dog A Bone,” “Sin City,” “Guns For Hire” and a few more.
- Guitarist Angus Young told Robinson at the end, “Whatever happens, you’ve got a hell of a voice.”
- Both Caperna and Robinson agreed not to tell their stories until the band made an official announcement — which turned out to be that Axl had landed the job for 22 shows, including 10 rescheduled dates in the U.S.
CHECK IT OUT: Watch a promo for Back In Black:
Here’s a full performance by the band:
ASK YOUR LISTENERS:
- Should AC/DC have gone with a complete unknown — perhaps one of these tribute singers — instead of Axl?
- Should they be looking for someone to just copy Brian Johnson or Bon Scott, or have an original style?
- What do you think of tribute acts? Are they the next best thing to the real deal or just glorified bar bands?
INTERNET COMMENTS at Blabbermouth — agree or not?
Aaron Rever wrote: “For the remaining dates, I don’t think they were really looking at someone that is a no namer, that is why they went with Axl. Now in the future, and if Brian does not do anything with them in the studio, they could bring someone new in from one of these tribute bands, and that would be cool in my opinion.”
Alex Settle wrote: “Does anyone else find it F**KING EMBARRASSING that the mighty AC/DC resorted to trying out a bunch of tribute band singers? I find it absolutely cringe worthy!”
Lavartis J. Collinsworth wrote: “Mark my words: when this Axl Rose stint is up, and if Brian Johnson is done, they will get the dude from Back In Black to join them permanently. They knew they wanted Axl for those ten shows, his ‘audition’ was just a formality. Auditioning the other guys was for the future.”
Rocky Fornine wrote: “It does sound like AC DC put their bean counters to work and didn’t like the tour revenue projections with a Brian Johnson clone.”