and on the first album, yeah, George would show me some bass
parts. He really took me under his wing. That said, even with
the limitations imposed on the songwriting, it ended up being a
real plus for the band. Everything was written there and recorded
once, so there would be a real time capsule of what was going on
at the time. I think all the early recordings that I was a part of
were very honest. With the exception of the solos, they’re essentially the band playing live in the studio.
In the studio, was Angus anything like what we’re used to
Not while we were recording the the backing tracks, but when he
went into solo mode, he’d be bouncing around the place, let me tell
you. It would be like asking Mick Jagger to stand still while singing
a Stones song. What a great guitar player, though. As far as solos
go, I don’t think he’s gotten the credit he deserves as a writer. I
think the two guys who construct solos better than anyone else are
Angus Young and David Gilmour. And Pink Floyd isn’t even my
cup of tea—I wouldn’t look over the back fence to see them. But
yeah, both those guys are amazing builders of solos.
You mention in the book that you bought your first bass
because no one else wanted to play bass. Did you start on guitar, or was bass your first instrument?
Initially, I had the idea to play bass, and it was my first instrument.
Pretty early on, I caught on to the relationship with the guitar and
how they work together—not necessarily [with] the drums. I’ve
FEATURE > MARK EVANS
been playing guitar for many years, but I always come back to the
bass. I love the bass and will always be a bassist first. I just love the
sound and everything about it.
Let’s talk about gear. How much importance would say each
member of the band placed on their gear?
I think we all gravitated to what we liked and what felt good.
Malcolm and Angus found the instruments that were right for them
very early on. Malcolm’s sound was very dependent on his Gretsch
Jet Firebird, and in the case of Angus, he ended up playing that
Gibson SG Standard because he’s a tiny guy and the guitars are super
light. They are both super-smart guys, great guitarists, and were
heads-up enough to know which guitars’ sounds would click together
for the sound they were going for. And now, you can’t think of either
of those guys playing anything different. I get blown away when I go
to a gig and see people trying to play AC/DC songs with these big,
heavy-metal, high-gain guitar sounds—it’s just so wrong [laughs].
What was your go-to bass on those albums and tours?
Early on, I was playing Fender P basses. I had trashed one during
a gig the first month I was with AC/DC, and I went to a repair
shop to have some work done when I came across a cherry-burst
Gibson Ripper that I fell in love with. The moment I picked it up,
I thought it was such a cool bass. I went back to the Precisions for
a while, but I also used a couple of [Gibson] T-birds. Just like guitars, basses are very instinctive things. If you pick one up and don’t
know in the first minute if it’s for you, it’s not for you.
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