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Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet: Bands Who Sound Like AC/DC

by Chuck Eddy

Cheat Sheet: Bands Who Sound Like AC/DC


Let's imagine, just for the sake of argument, that you're stuck on an island where there are thousands upon thousands of albums, but no AC/DC. And yet, one fine day, you're jonesing for AC/DC nonetheless. What would you do? Where would you turn?

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. The key is that AC/DC are not merely a band; they are, in some ways, a musical genre. It seems they emerged from a tradition of hard rock acts that, in 1970s Australia, set out to serve a working-class teens-to-20s subculture of rowdy train-riding glam-rock partisans known as "sharpies" for their snazzy Italian striped cardigans and Bowie haircuts. And some of those sharpies grew up to be "bogans" -- the not-entirely-flattering Australian term for the working class to whose musical tastes AC/DC and other pub metal bands like them seem to appeal. In the land of marsupials and Vegemite, bands who sound more or less like AC/DC are not hard to find.

And Australia's not alone -- at least one well-known British ensemble (namely, Humble Pie) sometimes sounded quite a bit like AC/DC even before there was an AC/DC to sound like. And from Germany and Switzerland to Maryland and North Carolina, numerous bands have picked up on AC/DC's caveman species of stomp over the decades and given it their own garage punk, bar boogie or hair metal twists. If they're not the real thing, they're a decent approximation. What follows is a cross-section primer on some of the groups that illustrate this phenomenon. They'll at least shake you part of the night long. On the highway to heck.