The music of AC/DC has spanned decades and generations of fans. But even though the band has not officially disbanded, there isn’t much left of the former powerhouse.
But fans need not grieve thanks to Thunderstruck, an AC/DC tribute band which visits The Clyde on April 5. Thunderstruck came together a few years ago, and helming the demanding chores at lead vocals is Dave Moody, who is a bit surprised by the turn of events.
“We got started in 2015,” Moody said. “We’d all been in bands in various incarnations, and I’d played bass forever and ever and ever. When I walked into the room with the other guys, it just worked. We clicked right away. I’d never been a lead singer before so it came to my surprise as well to find myself in that position.”
Capturing the spirit
Before Moody joined the band, it had performed under a few different names, but Moody came in and shook things up, helping establish them as the premier American AC/DC band.
“I came in and rebranded the whole thing and came up with the name Thunderstruck so it would be separate from anything we’d done in the past,” Moody said. “It was a new, fresh start. I told the guys, ‘We aren’t playing bars anymore. We’re going to play theaters.’ And the next thing you know we were doing what we’re doing now. Now we’re playing places like The Clyde and things of that nature. It’s been pretty amazing.”
Part of creating the AC/DC experience has been knowing what they can and cannot do as a band.
“Our intention is not to go out there and be AC/DC because we can’t,” Moody said. “What we can do is capture the spirit of AC/DC, and we come extremely close in some moments. Everything I do up there is extremely heartfelt.”
Thunderstruck also captures the extra elements of an AC/DC concert including the stacks of Marshall amps, the lasers, and the special effects. They’ve played to sellout crowds at theaters and festivals the last few years, and their reputation among AC/DC fans is solid based on concert reviews and blogs which focus not only on the sound but also Moody’s stage presence, particularly his humor and energy in performance.
With the distinctive sound of Scott’s and Johnson’s vocals, it’s not a small expectation to live up to.
“I can only bring my own flavor to what Bon and Brian did. I can’t really explain it, but I just go up there and do it for two-and-a-half hours straight.”
Going for the theatrical
Part of the change for Thunderstruck when Moody joined was to change the culture, as evidenced by the rebranding and change of venues. But he said there were other changes that have taken place to make them more successful, more theatrical presence than your typical bar band.
“I told the band we had to change our mindset,” Moody said. “When they play in a bar, most bands play a set, tell everyone to tip their waitresses and bartenders, take a break and play another set.
“But we’re not a taking-a-break band. We’re a saying-goodnight band. We go out there and play a full show and say goodnight. That’s the approach you have to take to play in the better venues. A bar band doesn’t do that, and we don’t want to be a bar band. As soon as we made that change, we got an agent and started touring the country.”
Moody may have been surprised to find himself a lead singer after years in the background playing bass, but it’s been a change that suit his demeanor.
“I’ve always been a ham,” he said. “I’ve truly enjoyed being up front. It’s never bothered me to be up front because I like to talk to people. What was hard to get used to was not having an instrument in my hand, to have a microphone instead. But it’s been pretty seamless.”
Bridging the generations
Moody gets plenty of opportunity to talk to people now and sees in those crowds how diverse the audience for AC/DC’s music really is.
“There’s a real generational feel out there with mothers and daughters, fathers and sons. It’s so encompassing. There’s a new wave of tribute bands out there, but we know who we are, and we’ve established ourselves. People love the music, and I never see that going away.
“This whole experience has been so rewarding musically and financially, and audiences are so appreciative that we’re bringing the music of this beloved band to them.
“If you come to see us, I can promise you this: We will treat you with respect and take the music seriously. We will have one hell of a rock n’ roll party.”
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