Perhaps most notable during an evening with Donkey Punch is not what is present, but what is lacking: the band abides by a ‘No Classic Rock’ rule of sorts.

“We do a lot of stuff that other bands aren’t doing,” says John Taverner, guitarist for one of South Jersey’s newest cover bands. “Go see the other 20 bands. That’s pretty much all that’s out there.”

This attitude is not delivered with any hint of condescension, however.

“There’s nothing wrong with that, but we don’t want to do it,” Taverner is quick to add.

Instead, Donkey Punch prefers a heavier sound, focusing on the harder acts of the modern rock era: Godsmack, Linkin Park, Nickelback and other staples of the post-grunge, amp-laden sound of the last 20 years are the band’s forte.

“We were skeptical of doing this at first,” Taverner says. “We didn’t know how well it was going to go over.”

With a sea of dancing ladies and air-guitaring gents following them to every show, their initial reservations were certainly unfounded.

Right from the outset, Donkey Punch attempted to distinguish themselves from the rest of the South Jersey cover scene. A second-place showing at last summer’s WMGM 103.7-FM’s Battle of the Bands at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, which was their second gig ever, has verified that they’re providing the public with exactly what they want.

In fact, the band is packing enough audio firepower to make an evening with Donkey Punch the equivalent to a hard blow to the head.

“When you come to see us, it’s almost like you’re at the House of Blues,” says Taverner, mentioning the band has enough amplifiers and wattage to rock a small stadium.

“We call it the ‘Monster Sound’,” he says.

One other difference that makes Donkey Punch particularly distinguishable is the fact that they often employ different tunings in their instruments, including a variety of different ones throughout the set.

“We do a lot of drop tuning,” Taverner says. “A lot of bands don’t want to do that, because it means you have to bring a lot of guitars to the show.”

The band feels that this gives them a more authentic sound, closer to the originals.

“We will learn to play it exactly as it was tuned,” Taverner says. “If you try doing Slipknot in standard tuning, it’s just not gonna sound right.”

Turning the amps up to 11 for the better part of a set can certainly take its toll on both performers and the audience alike. By the end of the show, Donkey Punch has knocked everyone out, including the band themselves.

“We’re all drained,” Taverner says. “We can’t even load up the equipment until after we sit down for a bit.”