TNT - The Official AC/DC Tribute Band
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TNT - The Official AC/DC Tribute Band


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The best kept secret in music


"A Monster Metal Marathon"

With last Saturday and Sunday being a big holiday weekend, there were plenty of entertainment options around town.

While I spent a relaxing evening on the Fourth of July watching the fireworks at Waterfront Park downtown, I had already exercised my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of a good rock show at the Music Farm two days before. Friday's show, billed as "The Monsters of Rock," featured a trio of local acts paying tribute to the bygone days of 70's and 80's heavy metal.

The stage of the Farm was decorated to match the holiday (a huge American flag hung behind the stage) and the evening's musical style (that flag was flanked on either side by sparkling pentagrams.) At around 10 p.m., when the first band took to the stage, the Farm's audience already numbered several hundred people, which would seem pretty normal for a Friday night.

First up was TNT, an AC/DC tribute band fronted by Rob Liotti. I had heard from several people around town that Liotti's portrayal of the late Bon Scott was spot on, but Friday's show was the first chance I'd had to check it out for myself.

After watching Liotti tackle hits such as "TNT," "Shot Down In Flames," and "Sin City," I had to admit that the guy did indeed capture the essence of AC/DC's original lead singer. But just as integral to the sound of TNT were the remaining band members. Each of the musicians did their best to imitate a member of AC/DC, and they all pulled it off beautifully, especially Chris Barrineau, who played Angus Young. Barrineau's portrayal of Young encompassed everything from the schoolboy uniform to the trademark Gibson SG guitar. Other AC/DC selections that TNT played included "Highway To Hell," "Whole Lotta Rosie," and my personal favorite AC/DC tune, "If You Want Blood You've Got It."

- Devin Grant Post & Courier

"For Those About To Rock"

The tribute band has long been one of rock-n-roll's best-known guilty pleasure. Sure, we all love going out to see a band play a full set of original music, but every so often you just want to sing along with a bunch of songs that you know and love.

That is where tribute bands come in. Sure, these acts could simply be cover bands, of which there are many in the rock world.

However, some bands have chosen to take things a step further - kick things up a notch, if you will. It is then that a cover band becomes a tribute band.

By day, Rob Liotti is a seemingly mild-mannered sales manager at a local retail business. By night though, Liotti, aka "Bon," bows down to rock and roll as the lead singer of T.N.T., a local AC/DC tribute band.

While emulating any classic rock act is a daunting undertaking, Australia's AC/DC is a particularly gutsy band to try and tackle.

The real AC/DC has been making albums for 30 years now and was inducted last year into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Original frontman Bon Scott died tragically in 1980, just as the band was set to record what would eventually become "Back in Black." Another singer, Brian Johnson, was brought in soon after Scott's passing to continue work on the record, which remains the band's best selling release to date.

According to Liotti, the reason that AC/DC still matters after three decades is because the band stayed the course.

"There is an unwillingness by that band to compromise what they want to do," says Liotti.

The local musician also recounts an interview where a reporter complained that AC/DC had recorded the same albums 13 times.

"Angus Young (AC/DC's lead guitarist) replied something to effect of, 'No, actually it's 14," laughs Liotti.

Obviously, this is a band that knew what their fans liked and never wavered from giving those admirers just what they wanted.

Liotti, who has been performing in bands since 1980, previously fronted another AC/DC tribute act called High Voltage.

Long known for his ability to perfectly mimic Bon Scott, Liotti initially got back into music a couple of years ago when he sat in with local cover band Plane Jane.

- Devin Grant Post and Courier

"Got Hair Metal?"

The over-used clichè "Imitation is the highest form of flattery" most definitely applies to the music world. Recent times have seen cover bands (though they mostly prefer to be called "tribute bands") become top draws in club land.

From local impersonators cranking familiar tunes in friendly local dives to national acts selling out revered venues across the nation, tribute bands almost always attract a strong crowd.

It seems unfair for up-and-coming bands writing and performing their own songs to struggle to attract a crowd, when tribute bands usually do very well by playing someone else's music.

There is a lot to be said, however, for being able to hear your favorite band's music at a fraction of the cost and with a smaller audience. In some cases, tribute bands bring back to life the music of bands that are no longer in existence.

Charleston has seen its fair share of tribute bands pass through town this year.

The Grateful Dead were resurrected by the Dark Star Orchestra and Cosmic Charlie. The Dave Matthews Cover Band, ironically enough, replayed music by the Dave Matthews Band. The Phix has given Phish "phans" a chance to boogie down to their favorite, and now defunct, band. Abbey Road Live gave Charleston a taste of the Beatles in the live setting, and Fade to Black recreated Metallica on stage.

This weekend, the Music Farm is hosting a slew of cover/tribute bands that should have Charleston in a cover band frenzy.


Friday night at the Music Farm, Charleston head-bangers can get into the holiday spirit with "Silent Night, Deadly Night, Metal Night."

Ladies break out the Aqua Net. Guys break out the leather jackets and ripped blue jeans, throw a fist in the air, and rock out Friday to the sounds of AC/DC, Guns n Roses and Poison.

TNT, an AC/DC tribute band (complete with a replica Angus Young in the patented school boy outfit,) will be cranking out all the AC/DC classics. From "You Shook Me All Night Long" to "Back in Black" and "Highway To Hell," TNT is most certainly dynamite.
- Mark Pantsari Post and Courier


Honeygun (Self-Titled) 1996



TNT founder and frontman, Rob "Bon" Liotti, started his music career with rock act, Tezher, back in 1980 as the band's lead vocalist and bassist. he then moved onto hard rock outfit, Malice, in 1984 switching almost exclusively to bass and backing vocals. Then, in 1985, former guitarist, Doug Martin (ex-Rezzin) heard Liotti belting out tunes off of AC/DC's legendary "High Voltage" album. The rest is history...

Liotti, who has jammed with a diversification of artists from Krokus to the Dogz to Cooperwine to Hootie and the Blowfish to the Breakfast Club, is no stranger to rock and roll. But no one knew back in 1980 that he would later become legendary for his innate ability to so accurately mimic the late rock legend, Bon Scott.

In 1996, Liotti recorded an album with 80's carryover, Honeygun. Still hanging onto the vibe with other artists like Johnny Crash and Rhino Bucket, Honeygun's self-titled debut did not gain critical success likely due to timing (even though AC/DC's label Albert's Productions gave Liotti permission to re-record the track "High Voltage" on teh album). Liotti's label, Godfather Records, strongly urged the singer to try and team up with Stevie Young of the London-based Starfighters. Young is a noted gun guitarist and cousin of Malcolm and Angus Young. The union never came to fruition as Young was involved with his own project, Little Big Horn.

In 2003, after returning to his AC/DC roots and locking himself away to further perfect his skills, he decided to form TNT - The Ultimate AC/DC Tribute Band.