Book Review- AC/DC: Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be: Mick Wall (2012)





Mick Wall is a writer whose name I first came across when I used to buy Kerrang back in the ’80s.

So anyone who has affiliated ties with Kerrang gets a pass in my book and speaking of the books. I have to thank the one and only Mr. Books who sent me a box of you got it BOOKS that had in it Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be written by Wall.

I have read a few AC/DC books and the one thing that you learn quickly about Angus and Malcolm Young is that they run the AC/DC ship with an Iron Fist! 

Well, specifically Malcolm runs AC/DC. 

Wall goes into great detail the cut-throat attitude that the Young brothers exert in dealing with anybody. Band members, managers, record company suits you name it.

Wall focuses a good 3/4’s of the book on the Bon Scott Years which is was a great read but common knowledge but what I really found really interesting was once Brian Johnson joined.

Back In Black in 1980 went through the roof in sales as everyone knows what some probably doesn’t realize is how quickly the roof came down on them.

The real trouble for AC/DC started in mid 81 when Atlantic Records released Dirty Deed Done Dirt Cheap in North America which was already a 5-year-old album featuring, of course, Bon Scott.

Malcolm and Angus were furious that Atlantic would try and release an older album with a different vocalist as they are trying to introduce the masses to a new lead singer in Johnson. Someone at Atlantic records made the comment that the employees of the record label were going to get bonuses as Dirty Deeds would sell no matter what.

It did as  Dirty Deeds sold 2 million records in the U.S

AC/DC especially Malcolm were pissed. 

When all this is going on AC/DC was recording For Those About To Rock in Paris as Malcolm and the boys were getting fed up with producer Mutt Lange taking days to get the perfect snare drum sound. Upon For Those About To Rocks release Malcolm over time has said the only song he liked from  FTATR  was the song they always play live which of course is the title track.

I find the 80s version of AC/DC intriguing as Wall personally disses Flick of the Switch which I personally love but that’s his deal.

The roll of turnover in the AC/DC camp is crazy over a 4 year period (79-83) these guys fired  4 managers ( Micheal Browning, Peter Mensch, Ian Jeffery, and Marsha Vlasick) 1 producer (Mutt Lange) and 1 drummer (Phil Rudd). Outta here.

Malcolm was always the guy who did the dirty work as he would tell all soon to fired employees or band members with one sentence  “You’re not wanted here!” 


Wall talks to Jeffery’s and Browning and they were both canned by Malcolm and that’s all he told him. You are not wanted here!

Supposedly Rudd and Malcolm went at it in fisticuffs so I’m sure not to much was said there at the time.

Wall also discloses that Atlantic Records wanted to drop AC/DC back in 1988 as Atlantic wanted AC/DC to record a power ballad! 

AC/DC than moved on to Atco Records and by 1990 released The Razors Edge and with the super huge hit single, Thunderstruck they never looked back.

Family is a big thing in this book as you know brother George along with Harry Vanda produced all those early AC/DC albums up to 79.

When Bruce Fairbairn was hired to produce The Razors Edge, Malcolm and Angus were impressed that Fairbairn put family first as they worked 9-5 hours in the studio. 

When Fairbiran could not commit to the Ballbreaker album in 95 (Bruce was producing Van Halen) AC/DC hired Rick Rubin. They didn’t like the fact that Rubin would come in and not stick around too much.

Their a lot of books out on AC/DC and this is was a decent read from front to back. It also helped that Wall has interviewed AC/DC including Bon so that gives this book a bit more an edge than others that are out there.







36 thoughts on “Book Review- AC/DC: Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be: Mick Wall (2012)”

    1. That’s awesome.
      Wall really goes that extra mile about DC and there issues in the 80s. It’s crazy to think that here I am in Canada snapping up AC/DC records when they put them out and there is all this inner turmoil going on.
      Let me know what your thoughts are after you read it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wall did a really good job with this one, I agree. Shame all that crap had to go on. Amazing how few band stories there are where everyone just gets along and has fun making music. Has brother George written a book? I would read that, for sure! Glad you enjoyed it, Mr. Books II!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think any Young member of the family has written a book. Many have been written about them but not official.
      Thanks for this one. Great stuff!


    1. It’s a great read as I mentioned especially when the success started to dip. I love those Kerrang writers from the 80s.
      Those guys had a knack for keeping it real with a bit of humor thrown in but the facts were always bang on.
      I always tried to get a copy here in town back in the mid 80’s on import here. So did about 100 other people as well. lol
      Thanks for dropping by.


    1. Thanks for reading Andrew and even some stuff I learned about, like the firing of managers on a continuous basis! No such thing as Job Security in AC/DC!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The label change is a funny one, ATCO was an imprint of Atlantic Record Co (hence the initials), both of which are owned by Warner Brothers. It would be like me storming out of the family home and going to live in the garage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sure was an interesting time in the 80’s for that band. As a young fanboy back in 81, I thought cool 2 new AC/DC albums but little did I know all the drama behind it!


  3. That is interesting. That is one band I never read about.
    I knew that name…I read a book written by him a couple of years ago. “When Giants Walked The Earth” about Led Zeppelin. It was really good. There was a black cloud around that band.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I need to read that Zep bok as well. I have two books on the go right now. One is the Ted Templemen bio and the other is Rudy Sarzo about his time with Ozzy.
      Both are great reads.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Enter Night is a book from Mick Wall on Metallica and it’s a great read. I also have another book from him “Getcha Rocks Off” which is in the pile to read.

    Basically I like how the dude writes.

    AC/DC will give us stories forever. It’s a shame that Malcolm never put to words his story in his own words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True it would have been cool to get an actual book from someone in the AC/DC camp.
      I’m currently reading Ted Templemans book and when that one is done I’m onto Rudy Sarzo’s Off The Rails book.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You know I always wondered why my cassette of Dirty Deeds said 1981 on it. I didn’t know that Atlantic reissued in 81 nor did I know the drama of the band being upset about it!

    This sounds like a great read. You gotta admire Malcolm, he is responsible for steering AC/DC into the legendary band they are today, by never compromising.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your right Malcolm ran that band. Your in or your out!
      I remember getting this on tape back in 81 and the sticker said 5-year-old release finally available in North America or something to that effect.


  6. I’m with Malcolm. I’m not a fan of how Dirty Deeds got released here too. Give us the Aussie version here already!

    I think most of Rick Rubin’s attention was on the RHCP album at the time and delayed Ballbreaker by at least a year. And they thought to wait for Mutt to record a snare drum was slow!

    Liked by 1 person

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