Dallas-based AC/DC tribute band BACK IN BLACK has revealed that its longtime frontman Darren Caperna was one of several people who were selected by AC/DC to audition for the job of the lead singer in the legendary hard rock outfit.
The audition took place the week of March 14 at a private rehearsal studio in Atlanta. Caperna was contacted by AC/DC via phone, and was immediately flown out by the Australian rockers. Joining him on the trip was founding BACK IN BLACK member and guitarist Mike Mroz.
The audition began with a soundcheck, whereby the AC/DC tech crew performed a couple of songs with Caperna, to set levels and to help him feel more comfortable. Then, after a short break, AC/DC came in the room and greeted both Caperna and Mroz. “After the soundcheck, Darren and I were talking to the guitar techs, and all of a sudden I look over my shoulder and Angus Young was standing behind me waiting to say hi!” said Mroz.
After meeting the band, and having some tea, AC/DC put Caperna to work. What was supposed to be three- or four-song audition turned into a 21-song concert. Caperna ended up singing the entire “Rock Or Bust” tour set, plus two additional songs that AC/DC guitarist Angus Young wanted to play, “Dog Eat Dog” and “Riff Raff”. Caperna commented: “Before we started ‘Riff Raff’, Angus came up to me, and said, ‘I’m warning you in advance that we are still a little rusty on this song!’ Did I just hear Angus apologizing to me?!”
Mroz and Caperna spent over four hours with their musical heroes. Caperna stated: “It was all so surreal. We had a couple of breaks, and Angus told me some great Bon Scott stories. They were all so friendly, and treated us as their peers. I still can’t believe that I sang with AC/DC!”
Caperna added: “Even though I did not get the job, it was the experience of a lifetime! Being in a tribute band for 16 years, we were hoping that we would be able to meet AC/DC one day — but this goes way beyond our expectations! Now, I have a great story to tell my grandchildren, and the guitar students that I teach at For Those About To Rock School in Southlake, Texas.”
Mraz said: “This experience was so inspiring and educational. Plus, I had my own private AC/DC concert, fronted by my singer. At the end of the night, I saw Angus outside, and he told me that Darren had done a great job. I thanked him again for the opportunity. I told him that when I first started our tribute band (BACK IN BLACK), I was a little uncomfortable wearing his trademark schoolboy outfit. But then I realized that it drove the girls crazy! Angus laughed and replied: ‘Don’t tell anyone our secret!'”
What sets BACK IN BLACK: THE AC/DC CONCERT EXPERIENCE apart from all other AC/DC tributes is the the fact that they can perform full sets of all the high-voltage hits from both the Bon Scott and Brian Johnson eras — one singer, two personas.
Formed in 2001, BACK IN BLACK remains one of the top-drawing, and longest-enduring tribute acts in North America, having performed to hundreds of thousands at sold-out shows from Honolulu, Hollywood, and Puerto Rico to Calgary, Canada (concert performance with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and a headlining concert at the Calgary Saddledome).
For more information about BACK IN BLACK, visit the band’s official web site.