Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dirty Deeds – My Life Inside/Outside of AC/DC by Mark Evans

(Bazillion Points) You might think a thick book by the bass player of AC/DC who was only in the band two years might seem like a minor work, more of a personal memoir (or indulgence) than an important look into one of the biggest rock bands ever. But you would be wrong. I already have two hefty AC/DC books weighing down my shelves, and I can honestly say I got fresh insight into the feel and dynamic of the band from this. That Evans was in the band during its most crucial years, when their best material was recorded, and they rose to superstardom, helps quite a bit (though Australians already had an AC/DC album to call their own when Evans joined, the U.S. debut is mostly comprised of tracks with Evans…including “It’s A Long Way to the Top,” so there’s a nice recounting of the history of that infamous bagpipe solo here). That Evans seems to be a natural storyteller, likely honing these stories for decades in pubs with pals, doesn’t hurt either – the flowing, conversational style, and the confidence that lets him tell even wild sex stories without a braggart’s sense of exaggeration makes this an easy, intriguing read. And if those elements weren’t enough, having a body flying every ten pages or so, either via fistfight, suicide jump, concert riot, or mini-orgy, certainly sweetens the pot. Evans was in a band of brothers who clocked ridiculous road time and played countless rowdy, lowly gigs during their long way to the top, yet he doesn’t portray them as super close, and it’s believable that this wasn’t a misconception he had due to his only being there a short stretch: Angus Young, though consuming sweets and tobacco like the naughty school kid he dressed as, avoided booze and drugs, so didn’t go out drinking with the guys, and Bon Scott was considerably older than the rest and had his own age-appropriate running mates. But despite some distance, Evans really knew the personalities of his bandmates, and the anecdotes, glories, and downfalls (there’s some legal gag order on discussing all the ins and outs of his exit from AC/DC, though the actual firing -- Angus said they needed a bassist who could sing backup -- is done by the band in a brotherly, communal manner, not left to managers or poison phone calls). To Evans’ credit, however, his raconteur-ship allows for his early years pre-band and the brief post-AC/DC chapters to be just as compelling. For those about to read, we salute you.

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