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AC/DC. Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to be by Mick Wall

January 1, 2014

ACDCAC/DC. Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to be  by Mick Wall. Pub. Orion Books, 2012. 

I do not often read books that are adult directed but when I do, I head for Biographies and Autobiographies. This is neither really as the author Mick Wall was never allowed entry into the inner circle of AC/DC  ie the Young brothers, to get their side of the story. He did however follow the band on their journey to the top and had access to the many in the rock world that worked in the band or with the band from their birth in the Australian rock scene of the 1960,s.

To understand AC/DC you have to know that the Young brothers were from the hardest part of Glasgow. They are hard men. In Australia they had a siege mentality and trusted no-one outside the family circle. George Young hit fame first with the Easybeats and later played base when he had to and directed the music of his younger brothers Malcolm and Angus.

The brothers are not tall in stature but they were driven by the goal of success. Malcolm and Angus are both brilliant guitar players but saw more mileage in Angus being the lead guitar and adopting his schoolboy personna. Anybody who did not share their drive or seemed to threaten it was dismissed from the band. AC/DC had more drummers and base guitarists than the whole of the Australian rock scene. If Angus and Malcolm couldn’t be in the same room as someone they were out.

The exception to this was front man Bon Scott. His antics are the star of this book. He wrote the lyrics to my favourite song It’s a Long way to the top if you want to Rock and Roll. And he was right. Bon Scott could have died 10 times over. Only Ozzy Osborne and Keith Richards could live with his drug and liquor excesses. His death is expertly told and while he was not in the inner sanctum of the Young boys he certainly had their support because he was as hard and driven as they were.

I liked the book but while the band’s life style should not be envied or replicated, their ambition and no holds barred drive to the top is not only spectacular it is admirable. A great change from the books I normally read.

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