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AC/DC auditioned tribute band singer to replace frontman Brian Johnson

Lee Robinson and Jeff Young of Thunderstruck

The singer in an AC/DC tribute band has claimed that he was auditioned by the classic rock band to be their new frontman.

The Australian hard rock group were recently looking for a new vocalist after long-time frontman Brian Johnson was advised by doctors to quit touring with the outfit amid fears of complete hearing loss. AC/DC eventually opted for Axl Rose as Johnson's replacement.

Prior to recruiting the Guns N' Roses star however, the band also auditioned Lee Robinson, the singer in AC/DC covers band Thunderstruck, according to Robinson himself. On their website, the group claim to "offer the most complete and authentic reproduction of AC/DC’s sound and stage performance in North Carolina and beyond".

Robinson recently told Blabbermouth that the band flew him into Atlanta during March to audition for them. He says AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams had found out about the tribute act after stumbling upon Youtube clips of their performances.

Although Robinson had initial nerves, he says these subsided when he found out that he could use a teleprompter that Johnson had to remember lyrics. "When I heard that, I pretty much passed out. I didn’t have to worry about forgetting the lyrics anymore," he said.

Of singing with AC/DC themselves, Robinson added: "Once they started playing I was just excited and was just standing there like what the hell. I'm playing with AC/DC!".

"Stevie [Young, guitarist] said, ‘Hell yeah, that’s the right way to do it,’ when I asked if we could do the audition in standard. But that’s the only way I know how to sing it". Guitarist Angus Young was apparently also impressed, telling Robinson: "Whatever happens, you’ve got a helluva voice."

Brian Johnson had been AC/DC’s frontman since 1980, joining the group following the death of previous singer Bon Scott. He recently released a statement speaking of his sadness at having to stop performing with the band.

AC/DC currently have 12 European live dates booked in for May and June, including two UK shows: London's Olympic Stadium on June 4 and Manchester's Etihad Stadium on June 9. 

Rumours linking Axl Rose to the band had been circulating for several weeks. Meanwhile, Angus Young joined Axl Rose onstage at Coachella last weekend for Guns N' Roses' headline set.

What they say

The best Angus I have ever seen. Jeff does Angus better than Angus.

Tommy Redd
Lead Guitar/Nantucket

As a lifelong fan of AC/DC, I tend to be a pretty tough judge of tributes... but when I saw Thunderstruck, they really impressed me!  Whether they're covering classics from the Bon Scott era or songs from the Brian Johnson catalog, Thunderstruck nails it!

Mark Arsen
Former 96Rock & WRDU personality

Whatever happens, you've got a hell of a voice.

To Lee Robinson when he auditioned for AC/DC

Angus Young
AC/DC

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