FEATURE > MARK EVANS
Left to right: Bon Scott, an unidentified “cop,” Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, Angus Young, AC/DC’s then-manager George Browning, and Evans have a laugh and a drink during a March 1976 photo shoot for “Jailbreak.” Photo by Philip Morris
head and I knew that this band was going to work. It was like in The
Wizard of Oz, when everything went from black-and-white to color.
Did you have any idea how huge you guys would get?
From very early on, I just knew AC/DC was going to be a contender. We were prepared, we were good, and the opportunities
were coming our way. But with any situation like this, you need a
bit of luck.
What were your first impressions of Malcolm and Angus Young?
[That they were] cautious and very guarded … and somewhat
reserved. But the first thing that struck me about them was their
size. I’m not a big guy, at five and a half feet, but you look at the
old photos, and I look like I could be a linebacker next to them,
man! [Laughs.] I don’t think it would be overcalling the situation to
call them standoffish. It’s just the way they are, instinctively. It takes
a little while to break through the Youngs’ shell, but once you do,
they’re great guys. I think you just really have to make your bones
before they’re going to walk you into the crowd, you know?
You had known about Bon Scott and his other bands for some
time before meeting him, right?
Yes, and I was sort of impressed by Bon. When I was about 14 years
old, I went to a New Year’s Day gig at a club down the road from
where I was living. It was put on by a local radio station, and Bon’s
band, the Valentines, was one of many playing that day. It was really
something else, seeing Bon and six other guys dressed up in these
god-awful orange, see-through-chiffon tops and flares. Bon was a
backup singer, but I remember how taken aback I was with how
cheeky he was. I was sitting close to the side of the stage, where Bon
was neckin’ a bottle of Johnnie Walker in between songs and waving
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and winking over at me. I was just a 14-year-old kid, but there was
something drawing me to him—he was such a character.
After that, I followed his career a bit, and he eventually ended
up in a band called Fraternity. They were kind of the Australian
version of Robbie Robertson and the Band. He was just a great
guy—amazing onstage and very charismatic.
And yet, according to your book, you didn’t know Bon was in
AC/DC when you first tried out—and you didn’t meet him until
your first gig.
Yeah, that’s exactly right. Bon was always prepared to split from the
band and do his own thing, so he was often not around. When I
first met the other guys at the house, it was only Malcolm, Angus,
and Phil. They were talking about plans for the band and they
brought up the name Bon. I figured it could be the same guy, but I
didn’t want to push anything at that point.
Have you discussed the book with any current members of AC/DC?
No. We don’t have any real contact, and it’s a real shame, y’know?
We shared a period of history and did some really great stuff
together. It’s interesting you ask that question, though, because a lot
of people assume I would’ve had to clear the idea of the book with
the band. But no, there is no contact with the band. We all move in
very different circles these days. I would hope that somewhere along
the line the book gets through to Phil, Mal, and Angus, and that
they would read parts of it. I think it would refresh quite a few good
memories for them, because we had a great time on the road, man.
Judging from what you wrote, it sounds like you were closest
with Phil Rudd. Do you think that was mostly because you guys
were the rhythm section?