Last fall, AC/DC tribute band BC/DC was in danger of being mistaken as the originators of their sound — and it wasn't a case of mistaken identity.
The British Columbians, who have for years performed the music of the Australian rock legends, were touring China and Thailand, and many people in their audiences were rocking out to "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" for the very first time.
"A couple of places we played we were basically an original band. Nobody had heard of AC/DC before. When people hear the music and ask where they can get it, it sells AC/DC albums," recalls lead singer Brendan Raftery, a.k.a. Brian "Bon" Johnscottson.
Despite the experience, there is no interest by BC/DC members in putting out an album of their own.
"We can play as many shows as we want and make a living out of who we are tributing," Raftery says.
"But if you make an album and sell them you end up paying royalties. Some bands do it. But people ask us if they can get an album and I say, 'Yeah, go to Chevron and buy an AC/DC album.' There's always an AC/DC record at the cash register, right beside Dwight Yoakum.
"I don't know why people would want to buy us doing it when they could buy the real thing."
BC/DC has never met their Australian heroes. Raftery says they are "pretty private guys," though they did send the band BC/DC T-shirts when their sound mixer came to one of their shows.
AC/DC must be grateful to have tribute bands keeping their music alive for fans.
"That's exactly it. We keep people listening to it. We get small kids at our shows with their dads. It spans multigenerations," Raftery says.
BC/DC has performed in Whistler many times over the years, but their gig at Dusty's Bar and Grill is a first and Raftery is baffled as to why they'd never played there before. They perform there on Friday, March 6.
"I'm really looking forward to it. It's one of the few places we've never played. We've been to the Longhorn, we've been to the GLC a bunch, Moe Joe's," he says.
"We used to play at The Boot all the time, which was a locals kind of spot. It was legendary. So we've been around the block in Whistler."
He says Whistler loves its cover bands and good cover singers.
The band is gearing up for the spring and summer after taking a couple of months off.
"In the winter we tend to not like driving the crazy roads. The season is coming on us like crazy. We're booked up until the end of August," Raftery says.
"Sometimes we have a few weekends in a row, playing in festivals from here to Montana, Ucluelet and Fort McMurray, the (Calgary) Stampede. It's a lot of the usual spots for us. It's busy enough to keep it fun but not so busy that you can't do a good job."
Rock keeps things wild but how do the boys in BC/DC keep everything fresh?
Raftery laughs: "People ask me if I get sick of playing the same songs all the time and I don't at all. It's a Fountain of Youth when I'm doing it. In my mind, I'm at a bush party with a warm six-pack. It keeps me feeling perpetually 20 and I get paid!
"Don't tell anybody that I'd do it for nothing. Oh yeah, you're a reporter!"