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.