I don’t care how tiny Angus is, the world needs his killer riffs.
By Steve Newton
There’s been a lot of rumour and speculation flying around the music world since yesterday, when I posted a blog on the Georgia Straight website reporting that Phil Rudd and Stevie Young had been spotted in downtown Vancouver.
The assumption was that, since AC/DC had recorded its last three albums here at Warehouse Studio, it might be in the midst of making–or at least planning–another one, this time with Rudd back in the lineup on drums.
Well, the AC/DC universe went a bit nuts at that news, the message boards and fan sites lighting up. Some diehard followers were beside themselves at the possibilities, while others immediately declared it bullshit or “fake news” (god I hate that Trumpian term).
I have complete faith in my source who says he saw–and actually chatted with–the two Aussie rockers. Why the hell would he contact me out of the blue and lie about it?
Also, I guess I really wanted to believe that it was happening, that AC/DC was going to make another album–with either Axl Rose or Brian Johnson at the mike. I’d prefer it be Johnson–unless they wanted to give Jimmy Barnes, the former steel-throated howler for Cold Chisel, a shot. But if it has to be Axl because Angus Young says so, so be it. As long as I get to hear Angus cranking out killer riffs and kick-ass solos, I’m good.
When it comes right down to it, the world would be a much lamer place if AC/DC wasn’t rockin’ the joint. At least that’s the conclusion I came to after considering my personal connection to the band.
The first AC/DC album I remember owning was 1978’s Powerage, so I was a little slow to pick up on the group, not getting previously turned on to international releases like Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (’76) and Let There Be Rock (’77). But Powerage blew me away with bluesy boogie tunes like “Gimme a Bullet”, “Down Payment Blues”, and “Gone Shootin'”.
Keith Richards has stated that it’s his fave AC/DC album, so there ya go.
A few months after Powerage came out the band released its first live album, If You Want Blood You’ve Got It, so I scored that one real quick. True to its title, it sounded like its creation had left lead-guitarist Angus Young’s fingers dripping red. Goddamn was that one fierce-sounding platter. I relied on it continuously and at high volume to ease the suffering of studying at UBC, much to the chagrin of my landlord.
Five years later, as luck would have it, I’d scored a job writing about metal for the Straight, so when AC/DC came to town in support of its 1983 Flick of the Switch LP, I went and interviewed Malcolm, singer Brian Johnson, and then-new drummer Simon Wright in their room at the Four Seasons. They were the coolest blokes you could ever be invited to have tea with.
Among other things, Johnson proclaimed his fondness for ZZ Top (“They don’t give a fuck”) and Young described their approach to making videos (“We just keep it raw and basic, like our music.”).
The next time I got to hang out with the boys was when they played B.C. Place Stadium on their Blow Up Your Video tour in 1988. There was a small riot outside the venue, but that didn’t stop me and some pissed-up buddies from invading their dressing room and scrounging beers and autographs on our backstage passes. I’m sure they didn’t remember me from five years earlier, but they were still unbelievably down-to-earth and friendly as hell.
Why can’t all rockers be like that!?
Over the years I’ve seen AC/DC in Vancouver numerous times, including in 1991 on the Razor’s Edge tour (“Thunderstruck” anyone?) and, most recently, in 2008 on the Black Ice tour. Each and every time they kicked extreme butt.
The Black Ice album—the second AC/DC disc recorded at Warehouse and mixed by Langley hard-rock maestro Mike Fraser—went to Number One in 29 countries and sold six-million copies. At the time of its release, I didn’t give it a great review, but hey—maybe one day I’ll learn not to compare everything to Back in Black.
If AC/DC is indeed in Vancouver making an album right now, that’s awesome. And if it isn’t–if Rudd and the younger Young just happened to be in town because they wanted to experience the annual fireworks display at English Bay or some crazy shit–that’s okay too.
As long as I can entertain the thought that more AC/DC music is coming one day–or even just spread rumours about it–I figure I’m doin’ alright.