When Brian Johnson had to step away from AC/DC in 2016 due to health problems, the band recruited Axl Rose to finish out their tour. Interestingly, the job could have gone to a very different singer.

Nic Cester, frontman for the Australian rock band Jet, has confirmed that he auditioned for the gig. In a conversation with radio station Triple J, he recalled how it all went down.

“I was staying with my in-laws and I got up in the morning and read the paper and it said that Brian Johnson was not in the band anymore,” Cester remembered (as transcribed by Consequence). “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 in going to Atlanta, Georgia to audition and potentially fill in for this next round of dates that we’ve got?'”

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American rock fans likely remember Jet for such early 2000s hits as “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” and “Cold Hard Bitch.” The platinum-selling group was on hiatus when Cester received AC/DC’s call. Though the frontman had his reservations, he decided to accept the invitation to audition.

“I was like, ‘I think I’ll say yes just for the life experience,’” the singer explained. “I wasn’t really expecting to get the gig to be honest with you, but I thought, ‘How could I turn this opportunity down?’”

AC/DC Audition Was 'The Loudest Thing I'd Ever Heard'

Cester met up with AC/DC at a rehearsal space owned by the Black Crowes. When the singer arrived for his audition, he was immediately impressed by what he saw.

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

“[Angus Young] put me through my paces,” the frontman continued. “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 realize 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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By Cester’s own evaluation, the singer handled AC/DC’s Bon Scott material well, but struggled a little with the Brian Johnson tunes.

“It’s a very unusual way of singing,” he said of Johnson’s style. “And then someone told me, ‘You’re making the mistake of thinking [Johnson is] pushing out an enormous amount of volume, which is how I sing. But he’s not, he’s whispering. But he's whispering directly into a microphone with this enormous volume behind him so it sounds like the loudest thing in the world but it’s not at all, he’s barely pushing out.”

Cester recognized that he wasn't the only singer auditioning, and he wasn't surprised when Rose got the gig. "It was all very [secretive]," the singer recalled, noting how nobody was allowed to talk about the auditions publicly. "Axl was there at the same time. And someone accidentally left his name on a [sheet]."

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Gallery Credit: Ultimate Classic Rock Staff