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Founded in 2013 by Chris Freeman (bass player from iconic queer punk band Pansy Division), the idea for GayC/DC came from bouncing around names for more tribute bands with gay members after he’d been playing with the Gay Gay’s (gay tribute to the Go Go’s) for more than a decade. Once the Gay Gay’s went on hiatus, Freeman moved forward with forming a band that could be as good as AC/DC.
Freeman began by recruiting lightning-speed guitarist, Steve McKnight after meeting him online and sharing similar musical tastes. McKnight has been a part of the LA music scene since the late ‘80s in Cry Wolf, a melodic hard rock band that made their mark on the Sunset Strip and beyond with several major albums under their belt.
Also recruited was Karl Rumpf on rhythm guitar, who Freeman had met while on tour with Pansy Division and later worked with in a band/project called Dart. Rumpf was also in the last incarnation of the Gay Gay’s (it was Karl who came up with the name GayC/DC), along with drummer Brian Welch who Freeman had also met while on tour. Welch had spent years touring with Extreme as their drum tech, so he was a natural fit.
This four-piece spent months looking for a gay vocalist to no avail. Finally, Freeman asked the others if he should audition. Nervously, he did, the band agreed, and they were off—but now they needed a bassist, so Freeman recruited bass player extraordinaire, Glen Pavan, once again someone Freeman had met while on tour. Pavan had previously been keeping the low end down for LA queer punk rockers Best Revenge (who got their name from a Pansy Division song).
After a thirteen-month hiatus from live shows due to the pandemic, GayC/DC is back on stage with LA rock veteran Clint Yeager to take over on rhythm guitar duties in 2021. His impressive resume includes stints in a variety of roles in SouR, DaisyFace and Nova Cycle.
The band remains true to the music (working diligently to replicate the actual sound of AC/DC), while playing around with the lyrics and changing pronouns to suit the gay angle. Hence, TNT becomes PNP (a song about the “party-n-play” status some gay men post in their online sex ads), Bad Boy Boogie becomes Gay Boy Boogie (do you really need to ask?), and Big Balls needed … no changing at all!
To say the band is off-the-hook live is an understatement, even scoring a “pick of the week” in LA Weekly for a pre-COVID LA gig. The word of mouth has been intense and they are in-demand for live shows as clubs re-open. There is never a dull moment with all the costume changes and props being trotted out, all in the name of outrageous entertainment. Even those who say they don’t like AC/DC end up being fans.
Who can blame them? Go see for yourself!
Photo by Dusti Cunningham