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A C / D C

Angus Young - lead guitar
Malcolm Young - rhythm guitar
Brian Johnson - lead vocals
Cliff Williams - bass guitar
Phil Rudd - drums



BALLBREAKER, AC/DC's 16th glorious album, finds them back at their chest thumping best. Again they stand at the mouth of the rock volcano, A familiar precipice from which they have negotiated over twenty years of twists and turns, selling an unbelievable 80 million albums in the process. Ballbreaker lives up to that creed, squeezing the raw AC/DC ingredients into rock diamonds. Produced by noise guru Rick Rubin (and Mike Fraser), the band is also joined again by drummer Phil Rudd, who left the group amicably in 1983. Rubin, who has sworn by AC/DC even before his NYU dorm days, let AC/DC to do what they do best: kick musical ass with seemingly no effort. "AC/DC are the greatest rock band in the world," says Rubin. "It was an honor watching them record this album. The power they possess is immeasurable." Songs like "Hard as a Rock", "Hail Caesar," and "Ballbreaker" can immediately be filed into the classic bin, familiar AC/DC territory that already holds a proverbial stash of rock nuggets.

The load in began in 1974. Perennial schoolboy Angus Young, his brother/guitarist Malcolm, Drummer Phil Rudd, and original vocalist Bon Scott (whose death by misadventure in 1979 led to singer Brian Johnson taking the helm) first launched their brand of in your face rock in Australian bars and nightclubs. Angus and Malcolm had started up their own rock band a year before, but it was 1974 when the whole group embarked on the journey, releasing their debut LP High Voltage, in Australia only. Their hard bitten style, (no frills, all spills) pre-dated punk in a way, with Angus recalling many a fan being more than inspired to come up with their own bits of stage diving. "We started in clubs and that could be a bit rough," he remembers. "People would spit and throw things, and many a guy would dive on-stage." It was about this time Angus garnered a reputation for being a hellion, himself. He fended off lots of frenzied fans, and perfected his school boy styled, seizure-inducing duck walk across the stage, which eventually became one of the most identifiable primps in rock history.

Angus says he began donning the familiar outfit at the urging of his sister and older brother George, who was peripherally involved in AC/DC's early days. "It would be after school and I'd be in my room playing and I'd still be in my school uniform," says Angus. His sister urged him to perform with the tie and shorts intact. But even Angus admits he never realized the paradoxical style would become the visual centerpiece of a band which dedicated itself to being the hardest rocking group on earth.

The band's dedication paid off. They have withstood some lineup changes, but still remain one of the most gimmick-less bands on the face of the earth. Loud and Good are the only two prerequisites of the job.

Their second Australian LP, TNT was released in 1975. The local buzz got them signed to Atlantic records the following year, marking the U.S. release of High Voltage. Like the story of many great rock bands, Voltage built them a quick cult following of head banging kids who caught on fast there was something refreshingly 'real' about these lager-swilling Aussies. They had a knack for boisterous anthems that cut right through you. The hair-raising antics of Let There Be Rock followed in 1977. Powerage was released in 1978, as was their first live record, the ominous If You Want Blood-You've Got It, which in the golden age of disco, ripped the seams right down the middle of the the polyester age. The album was recorded during a 21 country, 153 city tour that permanently established the band's road warrior rep. But it was 1979's Highway To Hell that cemented forever AC/DC's rightful place in rock history. Produced by Mutt Lange, it was the band's first million seller, and featured their signature anthem, "Highway To Hell," and the blistering "Touch To Much."

But it was just as the band was basking in the world-wide acclaim of Highway that they experienced the most tragic moment of their career. Lead singer and certified rock crazy Bon Scott, was found dead in February, 1980, after an all night party binge in London, England. The band was devastated, but was determined to fulfill the 'trooper' legacy that they and Scott had begun to build with the release of If You Want Blood You've Got It. Brian Johnson was recruited as the new lead singer in April of that year. In July, the group unveiled it's first album since Scott's death. Fans endorsed the effort with an unprecedented zeal. The LP has sold over eighteen million albums to date, with rock historians marking Back In Black as the watershed album of their career. The disc also included "Hells Bells," and the classic "You Shook Me All Night Long," which not only influenced a myriad of burgeoning rock bands, but it, and similar AC/DC tremors could be felt all the way into the Rick Rubin/Def Jam inspired hard core rap records of the mid-eighties.

Highway was the turning point. Classic album began to roll out after classic album, A belated Bon Scott release, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, originally unveiled overseas in '76, was released in America in 1981. Their first number one stint was snagged with the onset of Those About To Rock We Salute You, at the end of that year. Phil Rudd exited just before the release of 1983's Flick Of The Switch. The EP '74 Jailbreak (1984), Fly On The Wall (1985), and Who Made Who, featuring the wry call-and-response of the title track, and 1987's Blow Up Your Video, continued to propel the group throughout the Eighties.

1990's The Razor's Edge began the third decade for the group. The album, which is closing in on ten million units worldwide, featured two new AC/DC classics, "Thundersturck," and "Money Talks." In 1992 the group decided to bottle their live mayhem once again with the release of AC/DC Live, and a special collector's CD, a 70 minute live disc that Angus says was more of a tribute to their fans.

The disc came about primarily because of relentless 'live record' requests since the release of If You Want Blood you Got It. The group felt it was the right time to put together a record that captures an older, but no less rocking, AC/DC. Now, with a phenomenal catalogue that just may reach the century mark in millions sold before it's all over, Angus is well aware that the subject of age is starting to creep into interviews. Having a resume that spans such cyclical rock epochs as glam, punk, disco, metal, rap and grunge, and never once succumbing to record company or 'marketplace' pressures, points to maybe the key ingredient of AC/DC's success. They have always possessed kind of a rock wisdom. Their courage first belied their age when they'd come on stage in skirts and school boy outfits, intentionally trying to fuck up the status quo. They knew even then, not to change for anybody. Eventually their inspired lunacy fit them like a glove, because all they ever really cared about was rocking out. As Angus put it to one writer a few years back : "An audience can smell bullshit a mile away. When we started we had one intention-to rock n' roll. And we go for the same thing now."

And that was in 1993. A recent check-in with Angus finds that nothing's changed on that front. Put in Ballbreaker, turn it up to ten. Anything you ever wanted to know about AC/DC, everything you are ever going to know about them is seared into every burning track.


No Bull (Video) #40192-3
'74 Jailbreak #92449-2
High Voltage #92413-2
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap #92414-2
Let There Be Rock #92445-2
Powerage #92446-2
If You Want Blood #92447-2
Highway To Hell #92419-2
Back In Black #92418-2
For Those About To Rock #92412-2
Flick Of The Switch #92448-2
Fly On The Wall #781263-2
'Who Made Who' #781650-2
Blow Up Your Video #781828-2
The Razors Edge #91413
Live (Special 2 LP set) #92212
Ballbreaker #61780-2




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A C / D C   H O T L I S T

The AC/DC Live Wire
AC/DC's Razor's Edge
AC/DC - Bedlam In Belgium