Another Tribute Band Singer Also Auditioned for AC/DC
It looks as though AC/DC did their due diligence before deciding to move forward with Axl Rose on vocals for the band. We recently reported that the band had brought in Darren Caperna of AC/DC tribute band Back In Black for an audition, but apparently he’s not the only tribute band performer to get a look. According to Blabbermouth, Lee Robinson of the North Carolina-based tribute band Thunderstruck was also invited to audition for the band.
The reason for the auditions has been the band’s desire to fulfill their remaining tour dates after the recent revelation that longtime vocalist Brian Johnson had been advised to stop touring immediately or face potential total hearing loss. At the time, AC/DC shut down their tour, they revealed the possibility that they would return later in the year with another singer stepping in for Johnson and we now know that singer to be Axl Rose.
As for Robinson, he relayed his story to Blabbermouth, revealing that he initially thought it was an elaborate joke that AC/DC was reaching out and had to do some checking before he realized it was actually them. Thunderstruck founder Jeff Young received the initial call from CAA Ltd., and he too doubted the validity until he called the phone number back. And it wasn’t long until Robinson found himself flying to Atlanta to meet with the band he’d been paying homage to over the last few years.
“I didn’t sleep for, like, three days,” said the singer. “I was studying the songs.” But once he learned that Brian Johnson had often used a teleprompter to remember the lyrics and that one would be at the studio, it eased his mind a bit. Robinson says he initially jammed with the road crew to warm up, and then was introduced to Angus and Stevie Young, Cliff Williams and Chris Slade.
According to Robinson, before the audition, the band wanted to eat, so he was served tea by Angus Young’s wife while the rest of the band ate burgers and discussed the journey that brought him to Atlanta. He soon learned that it was Cliff Williams who had discovered Thunderstruck and suggested him as a possibility. “He hung with me the whole time,” says Robinson. “Cliff found us on YouTube!”
After lunch, it was time to perform. “I was just excited and was standing there like what the hell, I’m playing with AC/DC,” recalled the singer. They played four songs, then took a smoke break and Robinson thought the audition might be over. But soon the band returned and rocked for almost two hours. “Chris Slade hit the drums so hard I kept moving forward, ’cause I thought it was Angus behind me,” said Robinson.
The singer performed all but two songs in the band’s current tour set list, but he said the band was open to suggestions. “They didn’t want a Brian Johnson copy,” said the singer. “They wanted someone who could make it their own.”
After the audition, Angus Young pulled Robinson aside and told him, “Whatever happens, you’ve got a helluva voice.” And with that, Robinson flew home to North Carolina keeping his word that he wouldn’t comment on his audition until after the band had made their announcement. About 10 days later, he learned he would not get the job, as the band decided to move forward with Rose. But he’s got a great story and the Thunderstruck band continues to book dates saluting their musical heroes. In addition, Blabbermouth reports that Robinson will fill in for Caperna in the Back in Black tribute band on select overseas dates.