Sometimes a story is just too big for one feature, and in the case of this week's cover story on the quest to build a biker rally in Urich, Missouri, ("Field of Dirty Dreams") there were some things I just didn't have the space for. There were some things you shouldn't know about.
Then there was Big Guns, the rally's musical headliner, and a tribute to the greatest active rock and roll band in the world, AC/DC. When I was destroying myself in the middle of nowhere to bring you the story, they offered me shelter on their tour bus to talk tribute band groupies, the pressures of being someone else on stage and why everyone loves AC/DC.
The Pitch: You guys have some cameras laying around. Is it true a reality tv crew is following you?
Lead Singer Andy Bowman: Yeah, it's from TruTv. They're shooting a pilot on tribute bands.
Pitch: So why pick AC/DC for your act?
Bowman: Because everybody loves it. If you like country, you like AC/DC. If you like metal, you like AC/DC. If you go into dance clubs and they put on "You Shook Me All Night Long," people are going to dance to that. It's universal.
Pitch: A while back I met an Elvis impersonator that had to file some restraining orders against fans. They couldn't fuck Elvis, but they could try to fuck him. Get anyone after you who wants to hook up with Brian Johnson?
Bowman: (laughs) Occasionally you do get some crazies, but for the most part people are cool.
Guitarist Patrick Wild: I was delayed 30 minutes at one show by people wanting autographs, singing T-shirts and shit. They wanted my autograph though. I wouldn't sign anything as Malcolm Young. If I were him that'd piss me off.
Pitch: So why hire you guys as opposed to someone else who learns how to play "Highway to Hell"?
Bowman: There's a lot of AC/DC tributes, and I don't want to put anyone down, but we're really trying to be as close to them as possible. We get out the props, the guns, the bells, all that extra stuff. We're the only tribute band that's headlined at Sturgis at the Full Throttle Saloon. You go up there and there's Bret Michaels and Motley Crue and all these other guys and there's us.
Pitch: Since AC/DC's had two lead singers, how do you pick who you're going to do?
Bowman: I do both, I just happen to look like Brian Johnson. I happen to identify more with him. You see AC/DC now and that show stuff I was talking about, so much of that came with him. With Bon they were more of a bar band.
Pitch: If you're in a tribute band, do you get scared when they put out a new album? On the one hand you get new songs, on the other if something's a hit and it sucks you're stuck playing it.
Wild: Black Ice was a phenomenal album. We loved that.
Bowman: Well, I love Black Ice, but I would've cut it down some. Maybe four songs. To be honest, I'm not real fond of the title track. But we have "Rock and Roll Train" in our set.
Pitch: Do musicians who just perform original music give you shit for getting booked with AC/DC's songs?
Wild: They look down on us. Everybody who's a musician thinks it's so easy to play AC/DC. You get out and try it and it's a whole 'nother game. You're under constant pressure because the second you come out they're comparing you. You have to kick ass every night.
Pitch: Ever wish, "Goddamn I wish I could cut my hair and not look like Brian Johnson anymore?"
Bowman: Ha! I can hide behind that shell and for me I got to go out there and kick ass and that look is part of it, so I'm happy to be that way.