Who actually is Angus Young, the one man standing in AC/DC? | Culture | EUROtoday

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Angus Young (Glasgow, Scotland, 69 years previous) is 1.57 meters tall and weighs 48 kilos. He is a skittish and discreet man who, if he’s not carrying his faculty uniform, can have tea in a cafeteria subsequent to somebody who has the letters of AC/DC tattooed on his chest and that this fan doesn’t discover the presence. of his idol. They say that one time, within the seventies, Angus obtained drunk and the hangover was so dangerous for his little physique that he by no means drank once more. He occurs to be the one utterly teetotal rock star. This journalist can inform an anecdote about his repute for austerity. Year 2008. An interview in Düsseldorf, to speak about Black Ice, their penultimate album. The assembly takes place in a resort within the German metropolis filled with enterprise executives wearing fits. Angus, denims, t-shirt and sports activities sneakers, contrasts on this surroundings. The guitarist has a small inexperienced bag hanging from his hand. In it, an industrial sandwich with a not very tasty look. He purchased it himself for a few euros at a close-by bazaar. It can be his solely meals in a day filled with interviews with European media. He will accompany it with liters of tea, his solely vice.

“The Youngs are working class. “You can't get rid of that, no matter how much money you make,” Australian writer Jeff Apter, one of the biographers of the guitarist, author of High Voltage: The Life of Angus Young. The family's rudimentary character comes from their birthplace, Cranhill, a popular district in the northwest of Glasgow where dense, tightly packed public housing blocks were built in the 1950s. An area conducive to the establishment of youth gangs dedicated to drug retailing and petty theft. With little employment, the Young family decided to live the Australian adventure, brought about by the Commonwealth agreements. In the mid-1960s, the Youngs settled in the Villawood Migrant Hostel, western Sydney. The parents began to earn a living and the children began to develop their musical skills. The older brother, George, achieved great success (even worldwide thanks to the song Friday On My Mind) with the Easybeats. Malcolm and Angus took note of the teachings of their brother George, later producer of AC/DC and the group's first ideologist along with Harry Vanda, and of those of early rock and roll titans such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard.

The guitarist in action at a concert in Tokyo, June 1982.
The guitarist in action at a concert in Tokyo, June 1982. Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music (Getty Images)

Mark Evans (Melbourne, Australia, 68 years old), who was AC/DC's bassist on the group's first four albums, defines Angus and his brother Malcolm Young in Dirty Deeds. My life inside and outside of AC/DC (Libros del Kultrum, 2024) as “taciturn, grumpy, sullen and, in general, not very funny.” Evans was fired from the group in 1974 and changed by Cliff Williams. “I got along reasonably well with Angus,” Evans says for this report. “The only friction we had was that he believed I wasn't committed enough to the band.”

AC/DC was all the time a clan, one which dismembered over time. In the group's first years, once they performed for a number of cash in Australian golf equipment, the 2 Young brothers started to bang on with the bravest a part of the viewers, who threw bottles on the stage. “No one doubts the Youngs' tenacity. Thank God they weren't two meters tall or there can be a whole lot of damaged folks on the market,” says Evans ironically. Australian biographer Jeff Apter highlights the figure of the guitarist: “I think Angus' playing style and his characteristic appearance in the school uniform will go down in rock history as unique.” In the first years his demonstration on the guitar was so intense that he would finish the concert and he would put his head in the garbage container to vomit, still with the guitar hanging.

The British writer Jesse Fink is one of the greatest experts in the world of the Australian band, author of books such as Bon: Notes from the Highway, dedicated to the figure of the singer of the group's first albums, Bon Scott, charismatic and unfortunate: he died in 1980 from the consequences of alcohol poisoning. “AC/DC was always Malcolm Young's band. He was the boss. In fact, I've been told by people who knew the band in the '70s that Angus wasn't even the first choice for lead guitarist when Malcolm was forming the band. In order of importance to the AC/DC legend, I would put Bon Scott, Malcolm and then Angus. But Angus, in the seventies, was one of the best guitarists in the world,” Fink, also author of The Young: the brothers who created AC/DC.

AC/DC in 1976. From left to right: Malcolm Young (guitar), Bon Scott (bottom, vocals), Angus Young (guitar), Phil Rudd (drums) and Mark Evans (bass).
AC/DC in 1976. From left to right: Malcolm Young (guitar), Bon Scott (bottom, vocals), Angus Young (guitar), Phil Rudd (drums) and Mark Evans (bass). Michael Putland (Getty Images)

Here we reach a point of fracture among AC/DC fans. For many, the Australian group ceased to exist after the disappearance of its emblematic singer, Bon Scott: that is, they only accept the seventies period. “To be honest, when Bon Scott died, the band didn't mean much to me anymore. Even less so when Malcolm Young passed away in 2017,” says Jeff Apter. Clinton Walker, author of Highway to hell: The Life and death of Bon Scott, wrote: “The Youngs are totally closed, systematically suspicious, the complete opposite of Bon Scott. Just as it is difficult to find anyone who speaks ill of Bon, few of the people who have dealt with the Youngs have anything good to say about them. Malcom and Angus have an incredibly narrow vision in which no one else matters…”

Surely some of the reluctance towards Angus and Malcolm comes from their poor social skills. “Angus is known for being distant and reserved. He seems like a weird eccentric to me, frankly,” Fink notes. But the importance of the guitarist as a rock legend is vital. Even the image of him, dressed as a schoolboy, with demon horns and the Gibson SG guitar in his hands, can be considered a pop icon as resounding as Michael Jackson's sliding dance steps or the Rolling Stones' tongue logo. Stones.

Angus has been the frontispiece of the band practically throughout their career: the image, the main protagonist live and the author of their incendiary solos. Also thanks to his stubbornness the group is still standing. Scott died and within a few months they (he and Malcolm) already had a replacement, Brian Johnson and his rough manners from Newcastle, with whom they recorded the band's most successful album, Back In Blackthe second best-selling album in history after Thriller, de Michael Jackson.

Malcolm and Angus Young talking to Keith Richards backstage at a concert in Toronto (Canada), in 2003. Behind, also 'stone' Ronnie Wood.
Malcolm and Angus Young talking to Keith Richards backstage at a concert in Toronto (Canada), in 2003. Behind, also 'stone' Ronnie Wood.KMazur (WireImage)

When Malcolm handed away, Angus had the answer within the household: his nephew Steve Young. And when Brian Johnson needed to depart the band attributable to ear issues in the course of the 2016 tour, the guitarist recruited Axl Rose (voice of Guns N'Roses), maybe essentially the most questioned choice within the band's historical past. But Rose delivered, and now Johnson is again. Angus has additionally needed to handle the absence of two different members of the traditional line-up: drummer Phil Rudd, fired for his love of wildlife; and bassist Cliff Williams, who voluntarily left the group in 2020 to embrace a retired life. The purist faction of the band considers that maybe essentially the most sincere factor can be for the group to finish its triumphant profession. The creator of High Voltage: The Life of Angus Young provides his principle: “I would say that AC/DC is the most important thing in Angus Young's life, that's why he's not retiring. “You could ask Mick Jagger the same thing and you'd probably get the same answer.”

Angus Young, on May 17 in Gelsenkirchen (Germany), at the start of the 'Power Up Tour', which stops for two days in Seville.
Angus Young, on May 17 in Gelsenkirchen (Germany), at the start of the 'Power Up Tour', which stops for two days in Seville.picture alliance

For purist opinions, that of Jeff Fink: “I don't think they are still AC/DC today. I would call it The Angus Young Show. There are no members of the seventies line-up except Angus. So we've lost Bon and Malcolm. Phil Rudd and Cliff Williams are missing. Brian Johnson can't sing anymore. It sounds horrible. It's like a tribute band, except you pay hundreds of euros to see them. It's a scam, in my opinion. “I prefer to watch old AC/DC videos with Bon Scott.”

Angus Young has an estimated fortune of 150 million dollars (138 million euros) and luxurious residences in Sydney, London and Holland. He has been married to the Dutch Ellen Van Lochem for 44 years, since 1980. When this journalist asked him why she had never had children, Angus responded, laughing: “Ellen has always said that she has enough with me.”

AC/DC They perform on May 29 and June 1 at the La Cartuja Stadium in Seville.

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