He was sitting right behind me on our short flight to Minneapolis. RIGHT BEHIND ME.
My hero Malcolm Young was answering the clueless business man’s questions.
“So y’all play in a band or something?”
The businessman asked.
Ask him why he loves Gretsch Firebirds so much, dummy! I was dying.
Malcolm was probably glad he wasn’t sitting next to someone like me.
The flight would have seemed interminable as I peppered him with questions.
When we landed I turned around and told him how much I loved his music and how I briefly played in an AC/DC cover band.
He was nice, he’d heard it all before, it was no big deal to him but it was a big deal to me.
AC/DC changed my life.
I was twelve years old when I first heard them, blasting out of the radio at the Whataburger in Laredo TX,
I was (pardon the pun) Thunderstruck.
AC/DC sounded like trouble.
To my twelve-year-old brain, they sounded terrifying, libidinous and irresistible.
They were the perfect soundtrack to my teenage frustration.
As I got older and became a musician, I came to appreciate how phenomenal Malcolm Young was.
His younger brother Angus got all the attention but Malcolm’s right hand was like half the band.
The riffs he wrote were one hundred proof white lightning.
Most bands would kill to have a song as dynamite as Back in Black but there was also Highway to Hell, High Voltage, Whole Lotta Rosie, Riff Raff, Dirty Deeds and my personal guitar fave Can I Sit Next To You Girl.
The songs are all about discipline.
The rhythm guitar never ever strums.
There’s no fat in AC/DC songs, just the essentials.
There are no ballads, no breakup songs, no real love songs.
Just balls to the wall, take no prisoners rock and roll.
Quite an achievement.
R.I.P. Malcolm Young