They were born of bush party ashes in the summer of 1999. Some 600 unexpected gigs later, Canada’s BC/DC have systematically re-defined the concept of a tribute band, garnering iconic status amongst diehard fans, agents, and venues from Vancouver to New York.
While a web search will turn up dozens of AC/DC cover acts around the world, there aren’t likely many who have so successfully branded the Aussie band’s timeless raunch with such epic rock n’ roll fury, while also managing to bottle the essence of a wild frontier lifestyle.
Unlike many tribute acts claiming to be “North America’s #1 Clone” or “Just Like the Real Thing”, BC/DC have turned the tables. The band takes a comedic approach, claiming the tunes as their own, and to having “heard of some BC/DC tribute band from Australia.” They rarely give factual interviews to big city press. Adding to the schtick, the band members all go by comic aliases – lead singer Brendan Raftery’s Brian “Bon” Johnscottson paying respects to both AC/DC’s famous frontmen. It’s working. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
It’s about a maniac lead guitarist who occasionally enjoys wearing a cow suit. It’s about a frontman from the back alley, born to be a rock n’ roll singer. There has been a 16-minute mocu-rockumentary, entitled “Re-Voltage” shown at independent film festivals around the world. And fans keep chugging it down.
BC/DC could be considered a small business success story. Hell, they may be eligible for some type of entrepreneurial award. The band’s cumulative business savvy is obvious in it’s spot-on marketing. With annual website visits in the millions (www.bcdc.ca), and worldwide merchandise sales “doing well”, the unmistakable, yet double-take BC/DC wordmark adorns the t-shirts of many well-known celebrities, major sports figures, and your local neighborhood stuck-in-the-eighties headbanger. It’s also emblazoned on the Zamboni of the band’s hometown hockey rink, on the jerseys of a local youth soccer team, and on a 1968 Monaco Wagon/Pro Drag Car affectionately named ‘Demonico.’
If there’s a Canadian cultural export any rowdier than Nelson’s BC/DC, you can bet your axe lead guitarist Angus Hung will hang up his electrocuted hairdo in shame.
BC/DC will be playing at the Northern Bar and Stage, Fernie, on April 7. Tickets are available at the door.