How Daniel Lumpkin and Steve Townley Became Tribute Band Megafans

Courtesy of Rhymin' N Stealin'
Rhymin' N Stealin's Josh Martin aka MCA, left, and Rhymin' N Stealin superfan Daniel Lumpkin aka T-Prompt (read on and you'll learn why he's called that)

The Dallas/Fort Worth music scene has an unusually strong subculture of tribute bands with an even more unorthodox subculture: dedicated tribute band fans.

The bands themselves aren't just background noise for private parties or corporate events or openers for bigger acts to keep the crowds entertained while the main talent does whatever bizarre superstitious ritual to please the rock gods before they take the stage. They headline their own shows at the big rooms aand tour the country because they can attract raucous crowds who are eager to experience the next best thing to the real thing live and in person.

"The tribute fans are awesome," said Mike Mroz, the lead guitarist/Angus Young of Back in Black. "They're just great. They come up and want to share their stories that have with AC/DC. I've heard a million stories about Brian Johnson and when they've seen them and that's cool because we're big fans too."

Daniel Lumpkin of Dallas has been following the exploits of Rhymin' N Stealin', the Beastie Boys tribute group consisting of Kyle Smith as Ad Rock, Jason Cockburn as Mike D and Josh Martin as the late MCA, since literally the very beginning of the group's four year reign starting with their fabled first show at a billiards bar in 2009 on Halloween night.

"I had no idea there was such a thing as a Beastie Boys tribute band," Lumpkin said. "I thought they were just joking around like it was just a karaoke thing and I was like, 'Oh my God, they're really really good,' and it happened to be their first show."

Steve Townley of Dallas, a self-described super fan of the AC/DC tribute group Back in Black, was also among the first to see the group perform at Tree's in Deep Ellum "many, many moons ago."

"The music was great," Townley said. "[Lead singer Darren Caperna's] ability to do both Bon Scott and Brian Johnson, I've never heard anybody else do them as well as he can. He does Bon Scott better than Brian Johnson does Bon Scott."

Both have since become regulars at their respective bands' local shows and even an integral part of the groups' live performance process. Townley will often jump up on stage during a show and help the band perform the backup vocals when Back in Black plays Thunderstruck.

"95 percent of the time, I'll go up and sing the background, the 'Ahhhh, ahhhh, ah ah ah, Thun-der,'" Townley said with a laugh. "Of course, I can't sing for shit and by then, I'm usually feeling no pain."

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Y'all should do a story about the punk tributes too. There's a Butthole Surfers trib, a Cramps band, Dead Kennedys, Misfits and more. Look for Sweatloaf to get started because, you know, this is Texas.

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