*And you can stick your nine to five livin' and your collar and your tie
*You can stick your moral standards, cause they're all a dirty lie
*And you can stick your golden handshake
*And stick your silly rules
*And all the other shit, they try to teach kids in school
*Cause I ain't no fool...
AC/DC was formed in December, 1973, in Australia, by guitarist Malcolm Young, whom had just left his last band, Velvet Underground. He saw first hand all the benefits that came with being a rock star, as his older brother, George Young, reach the big time as a member of the popular 1960s band, the Easybeats. He very much wanted to follow in George's footsteps. Malcolm also could see that his younger brother, Angus Young, was a very talented guitar player, even if he was only 15 years old, and picked him to be the new band's lead guitarist. Because Angus Young was still a school boy, his sister suggested that he should wear his school uniform on stage; so he did, and in time the look would become his trademark. AC/DC would go through many personnel changes that first year, but by the time they started to play steady gigs all around Australia, the main lineup consisted of lead singer Dave Evans, Rob Bailey on bass, Peter Clark on the drums, along with the Angus Young and brothers. They recorded their first single in 1974 with "Can I Sit Next to You Girl"/"Rockin' In the Parlour". The song was produced by George, as he would also produce their future albums.
AC/DC would soon start recording their debut album, High Voltage, but before that, Clark and Bailey were let go. They hired their bus driver, Bon Scott, to replace Clark on the drums, but shortly after that, Dave Evans was kicked out of the band after he and the Angus Young and Malcom Young got into a dispute one night before a show, which resulted in Evans refusing to take the stage. So Scott filled in for him and after that night, took over as the band's lead vocalist. Angus Young and the boys entered the studio shortly after that, and in just ten days recorded High Voltage. They still had no set drummer or bassist at the time, with Tony Kerrante filling in as the drummer, and George Young playing the bass parts for his brothers on the album. The album was released in Australia in February of 1975. At that time they added drummer Phil Rudd, and bassist Mark Evans. Angus Young and AC/DC were now becoming a bit famous in Australia, and this line-up would stay intact for the next three albums.
Scott's image would help shape the band as fun, wild, crazy and violent, plus he was publicly labeled "socially maladjusted" by the Australian government. All that did of course, was help make the band more popular. At this point in time, heavy metal music was at it's height of success and AC/DC fit in great with that vein of rock music - with their attitude in general, Scott's voice - which was perfect for metal, plus Angus Young's loud and wild guitar playing.
Their first two albums, High Voltage and TNT, would be combined into one for their first UK and America album, also titled High Voltage, in 1976. The group at this time would also tour both countries and a big following of fans outside of Australia, soon came with that. Angus Young was becomeing a hometown guitar hero.
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap was their next album, released in late 1976. In early 1977, they recorded and released Let There Be Rock. At that point, Mark Evans left the band and was replaced by bassist Cliff Williams. Let There Be Rock would be their first album to actually chart in the US. As it was, Dirty Deeds wasn't released in the US till 1981, and would not become a hit album for them there till that time.
In 1978, the album Powerage was released and that along with their live album, If You Want Blood, You Got It, released the same year, would help their fan base to grow even more. Yet it wasn't till the following year's Highway To Hell, that they were true superstars, with the album charting big in both the US and UK. It was also their first album to sell over a million copies. The album's title song also solidified their image in the US as true bad boys, as the US audience up to this point still hadn't heard many of their other, earlier songs, like "Big Balls" and "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"; not yet anyway.
On February 20, 1980, Angus Young and AC/DC hit what could have been a major road block. Tragedy struck when Bon Scott was found dead in the backseat of a friend's car. The coroner's report stated he had "drunk himself to death." The band had been getting ready to record their next album, so instead of just sitting around and worrying about their future, they hired singer Brian Johnson in March, and the very next month they went directly into the studio to work on their next album. Scott had already written 15 songs for the album before his death, but the band decided that they would start from scratch with Johnson. What they came up with in that short period of time was phenomenal, and when finished and released, Back in Black, titled to reflect Scott's loss, was a heavy metal masterpiece. Back in Black would prove to be their biggest album, selling over nineteen million copies in the U.S. alone, worldwide it has sold forty two million copies! Angus Young became a rock god...
"Angus Young really knows how to get into a blues lick. Check out this bluez shuffle using the E pentatonic Scale."
For Those About To Rock, We Salute You was their next album, released in 1981, and again, a huge hit, going all the way to number one on the charts. While recording the follow-up to it, Flick Of The Switch in 1982, Rudd left the band because of his problems with drugs. He was replaced the next year with a 20 year old drummer, Simon Wright, who stayed on for three studio albums (Fly On The Wall, Who Made Who & Blow Up Your Video) and then was replaced by Chris Slade, who in turn only recorded one studio album with the band, 1990's The Razor's Edge, and also appeared on AC/DC Live. After that time, Rudd returned to the fold to join his ol' mates Angus Young and Malcom Young and appeared on their next album, Ballbreaker, released in 1995.
As the new century dawned, AC/DC was still going strong. In 2000 they released their 15th studio album, Stiff Upper Lip. In July, 2003, along with the Rolling Stones, Angus Young and AC/DC headlined and played in front of 450,000 people in Toronto, Canada. It was Canada's largest-ever rock concert, all to help the city of Toronto shake off the effects of a SARS outbreak. After all of these years, the band is still one of rock's biggest acts, and their fans can now shout back to them, "We salute you!".
How To Play Lead Guitar In 30 Minutes (Or Less!)
I wanted to let you know about a special new tutorial we've put together here at Guitar Alliance. It's called:
"How To Play Lead Guitar In 30 Minutes (Or Less!)"
The sensational headline is meant to get your attention. I hope it did, because in just 30 minutes or less you can learn how to play lead guitar over any song.
In this tutorial you'll discover:
- The 3 things you MUST KNOW to play lead guitar
- A "cheat sheet" that has everything you need to get started
- How to find the key signature of a song
- How to play lead guitar with virtually ANY song
This tutorial will have you playing lead guitar today, but you must be a Guitar Alliance member to view it. If you're not already a member, please click below to learn how to join and gain access to "How To Play Lead Guitar In 30 Minutes (Or Less!)".
That's hard because I never look at them as a solo thing. It's our band; we all play together. The guys all around me-it's just like a little team. I could tell you the best songs. I like "Let There Be Rock" very much. "Rosie" I love, the song "Back In Black," "What Do You Do For Money Honey" -the list us endless.
Do you play all the solos on AC/DC records?
Yeah, my brother's too lazy. It interferes with his drinking.
What's the difference between your brother's and your roles in the band?
I'm just like a color over the top. He's the solid thing; he pumps it along. His right hand is always going. In that field I
don't think anyone can do what he does. He's very clean; he's very hard. It's an attack. Anyone that sees him or knows about
guitars can tell.
Does the fact that you're the most recognizable member of the band ever bother Malcolm?
No. He was the one that shoved me in the first place. He got me into it: "I want you to do all of this." In the early days we
used to fool around on some of our first albums. He would do little bits of guitar. We would double up, swap, do a solo here,
a solo there. Malcolm's more experienced at it then me.
Playing solos or rhythm?
Anything. He knows what he's doing with it. He's got his own style and his own sound.
Could you switch roles?
I could copy it. I don't think I could fill it, not like he does.
Could he play your solos?
Ah yeah, easy [laughs]. I look at it this way: That's the easiest parts, the solos. There's no great thing in being a soloist. I think the hardest thing is to play together with a lot of people, and do it right. I mean, when four guys hit the one note all at once-very few people can do that.
"If these books can't kick-start your guitar playing, then nothing will." - Riffmaster
Does being brothers influence the way you and Malcolm play? Others, such as the Van Halens and Schenkers, have said that they can sense what their brothers are going to do.
Angus Young - I don't know about that. I just think as brothers you can sort of shout each other down. You can go, "Hey, cut that out!" So
you've just got a good rapport. Malcolm does inspire me. He has very high standards in his way of playing and everything. He's very musical minded, but he can go to the extremes, overindulgence. Like if we are in a studio and I have to do these things like solos, he'll say, "I want this to rock like thunder," and you've got to make it rock. He just says something like that and you know exactly what he means.
Will he ask you to redo solos?
Angus Young - Yeah, if he thinks they're not happening-if he thinks they're not rock enough or don't suit the song. It's mainly the songs that we worry about. I won't sit there and spend 12 hours on a guitar solo. I couldn't. That's pointless. I like to go in and just go, bang away at it.
How does Angus Young approach co-writing songs?
Angus Young - The three of us-me, Brian, and Malcolm-usually get together and just thrash out whatever we've got. If I've any ideas in the tape or something, I'll play them; Malcolm the same. We'll combine them all. Every now and again he might have something
really good and I'll say, "What if you try this." Or he'll say to me, "I want you to sing something here if you can," and I'll try to think of something. The song can start from anywhere-it can be a riff or a title. Brian could say, "I've got a good line here," and suddenly it might inspire something.
Do you ever compose in the studio?
Angus Young - Yeah, there's many a time we'll get in there-and we might even be in the middle of a song-and we'll just stop and put a tape
on if somebody's got a blow [improvisation] or something. All of out early material was basically written in the studio. We got in there and did "Let There Be Rock," "Rosie," most of them. We used to go in with a few ideas, and then really do the big percent of it in the studio-arrange it and everything. In the early days we didn't even rehearse. Nowadays we try to save
time. We don't like spending too much time in the studio. We get the band together in rehearsals, try and get as many songs
as possible, and then take them into the studio.
What's important to keep in mind when you're writing AC/DC songs?
Angus Young - Most other people can sort of just go bang, bang, bang-there's a song and that's the end of it. They forget that sort of style they can stick to. Most bands in the world can chop and change their style into anything. They can do reggae, they can
do slow-we can't. We have that style of playing that's what we do best. You can write songs, but it mightn't be AC/DC, so you have to think of that all the time.
Do you play any guitar styles that aren't on the album?
Angus Young - I could bullshit my way through, yeah. I think anyone who plays-if he's got a bit of rhythm-can sit there and if you go "Give
me something like a Spaniard," he can do it. "Give me something that sounds classical," and he can do that. I mean, most people can bang away. It mightn't be Andres Segovia, but certainly you can get that style. It's just being creative.
So you're not a closet folk picker or anything like that?
Nah. I do play with me fingers onstage, but you can't see it. Malcolm plays a lot with his fingers. He does a lot of picking.
It's part of the rhythm. The two of us always slap the guitar. This [holds up his right hand] is always banging something.
Maybe that's good or bad, I don't know.
Does your playing constantly progress? Do you ever get into slumps?
I've never gotten in a slump as far as playing, because I never got that serious about it. I never sit there and go, "Wow,
gees! What's happening here?" I know what I can do, and it's just a matter of sitting there and fiddling with a guitar.
Have your recording methods changed since your Vanda & Young days?
Yeah, I think so. Well, this new one [Flick The Switch] we've done ourselves. We wanted it raw. We always were raw sounding; we just wanted it more free of the reverbs and the effects. You like a natural drum sound-you don't want this gigantic echo
going on. A lot of people go, "What is that?" because sometimes it sounds like oil drums or something. We tend to go for keeping the raw idea of it all, because that's really what rock music is meant to sound like.
Does the band record the basic tracks simultaneously?
Yeah, we always do all the back tracks together-the two guitars, the bass, and drums. That's the only way you can get that
Are your studio and stage setups the same?
Nah, There's times we've experimented. We had a lot of equipment there for For Those About To Rock. We brought in a mobile
and recorded in a big rehearsal room to see what we could get away with. Basically, any other time we've gone in and just used normal amps-a 100-watt Marshall, a couple of cabinets.
Angus Young Gear
STRINGS: ERNIE BALL STRINGS
PICKS: FENDER PICKS
Angus Young GUITAR:
GUITAR: 1968 GIBSON SG STANDARD ELECTRIC GUITAR
Angus Young Amps Marshall JMP 100Watt Master Volume Head
With enamel-coated wire, special Alnico V magnet, and matched coils, the Gibson Angus Young Signature humbucker provides a one-two combination of vintage-style punch and ripping tone that will sear through almost anything. Bridge position. Comes with 4 conductor wiring for series/parallel/split-coil variations. Gibson wax potted the Angus Young Humbucker twice to eliminate unwanted microphonics.
Video compilation of pictures and video of American helicopters and what they can do. Mainly shows Apaches, SeaHawks "BlackHawks" for you non Navy USMC people, and some Chinooks. To the song "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC. One of those pump you up to kill the bad guy videos.
Publisher: Ryan Hickman
"Many ways to improve your playing"
"What's the difference between a guitar player and a bag of garbage?
The garbage gets taken out at least once a week." - Riffmaster