“Angus put me through my paces. Everything was a test to see how I’d handle it”: Jet singer recalls “intense” AC/DC audition

“He wanted to push me to my absolute limit to see how I would react.”

[L-R] Angus Young and Nic Cester

Credit: Getty Images

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Imagine auditioning to be a member of AC/DC. Nerve-wracking as it is, right? But then add to the mix an hawk-eyed Angus Young watching for mistakes and putting you through your paces, and the pressure really mounts.

That’s what happened to Jet vocalist Nic Cester, who was called to audition for the Aussie rock titans when doctors ordered Brian Johnson to stop touring in 2016 or risk permanent hearing loss. Johnson returned to the fold in 2018.

He recalls, in a recent interview with Triple M [transcribed by Ultimate Guitar]: “I spent two days as their singer, unofficially. I had been living overseas for a long time and I’d come back to visit my family and [was] staying with my in-laws. I got up in the morning and read the paper, and it said [Brian Johnson] was not in the band anymore.

“I remember saying to my father-in-law, ‘Holy shit, you would not want to step into those shoes,’ and literally 20 minutes later my phone rang and they’re saying, ‘Would you be interested to going to Atlanta, Georgia to audition to potentially fill in for this next round of dates they’ve got.’”

“I was just like, ‘Oh my God… I think I’ll say yes for the life experience’ but I wasn’t expecting to get the gig, to be honest.”

Naturally, Cester said yes to the invitation, and headed to Atlanta to try out with the band. As he remembers, they were rehearsing in the Black Crowes’ studio: “

“It was a tiny place, but they were set up there with [an] enormous backline and I remember watching AC/DC and thinking, ‘There’s no way all of those amps are on.’ Let me tell you, they were all fucking on! It was the loudest thing I’d ever heard in my entire life.”

Cester also says he was “put through his paces” by guitarist Angus Young: “Everything was a test to see how I’d handle it – the volume and him going, ‘OK, let’s do this song,’ and I didn’t know [some of them] off the top of my head so he’d just go, ‘Go over there and learn it’ and the whole band would be waiting there for ten minutes and I’m just going, ‘Oh fuck.’”

“It was pretty intense, but I realise now Angus was a super professional guy and he wanted to push me to my absolute limit to see how I would react.”

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