How did you go from doing originals to joining a tribute band?
I’ve been doing original music for years, but I don’t fancy being on the road all the time. My old drummer from No Shame was forming an AC/DC tribute band, and, when we jammed, I had such a good time that I jumped on it. The tribute band scene is a big deal, and it’s so much fun for the audience and the band when we nail it. Plus, we only tour when we feel like it, and I get to keep working on guitars when we’re off the road.
How has being Angus improved your playing?
My vibrato and overall technique have improved from mimicking Angus, because he is so good. People sometimes view AC/DC as a simplistic band, but to play like them is more difficult than you might expect. You have to make one note sound great, and you can’t hide behind a bunch of gain. Those things force you to be more precise, because if you play something wrong everyone can hear it.
What gear do you use to reproduce the Angus sound?
I play an ESP LTD Viper-1000 custom guitar, which has a shorter scale length (24.75") like the Gibson SGs that Angus plays, and that helps to reproduce the proper voice. With the Viper, it’s easy to get to the higher frets, and to get under the strings to bend them. I had a lower action during my ten years of playing heavy metal, but, over time, it has gotten higher. I play through a 50-watt Marshall JCM 800 modified with custom transformers to give me a boost for solos, and I use a ’73 Marshall cabinet to get that classic tone. I also use Nordstrand pickups for a tight midrange that captures the chimey sound Angus is known for.
Has ThundHerStruck opened up any doors that were closed to you while playing original music?
We’ve had the opportunity to play for the U.S. Armed Forces overseas, and ESP has been really supportive. On our last three desert tours, ESP donated a camouflage Viper guitar to raffle off to one of the soldiers. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun we’re having. We’re playing festivals all over the world, and how many bands get to do that when they’re not even signed?