By Thomas S. Orwat Jr.
If you are a fan of the early, Bon Scott era AC/DC, there is a fascinating new book that you must purchase. “Dirty Deeds: My Life Inside/Outside of AC/DC,” written by former AC/DC bass player Mark Evans, is an entertaining read that offers never before published insight on one of the biggest bands in rock music history, AC/DC. Never before has any member (past or current) of the band written about the early years of the band. Evans’ inherited talent of remembering great detail and his unique natural ability for story telling, makes this a difficult book to put down and is truly a must have for any fan of rock music.
What follows is a RockMusicStar interview with former AC/DC bassist’ and author Mark Evans. In this interview Evans discusses his new book and gives us exclusive backstage access into the Bon Scott era of AC/DC.
RockMusicStar: I’ve read your entire book in two days, I couldn’t put it down. As a longtime fan of AC/DC, it was great to finally get some insight in the early Bon Scott era of the band.
Mark Evans: Yeah, thanks mate. One of the two main motivating factors for writing the book was to pay back folks like you, who have been fans for years, and put them inside the band, especially the early Bon Scott era of the band. But, AC/DC tends to keep it pretty close to their chest, as their choice. And for me, it brought back a lot of great memories.
RMS: Most of the content in your book happened over 30 years ago, how were you able to remember all of those details.
ME: It’s a good question, but a lot of that stuff just stayed in my head. I did have to double check on some of the dates of the tour in the UK, because we were constantly on tour. But other than that, it was just straight out of my mind. My family is blessed with two good genetic traits, one is that we can eat as much as we want, without putting any weight on and we all have to ability to remember. And having a good memory really helps when you are writing a book.
RMS: I guess that goes hand and hand with being a musician because there are a lot of details to remember.
ME: Yeah, playing music definitely keeps your recall active. Plus, during that period of time, it was all very intense. So, it’s not like working for the same construction company for 30 years and doing things that are relatively similar the whole time. So, during my time with AC/DC it was exciting and new and a lot of the details of that time period stuck with me.
RMS: Have you received any feedback for anyone in AC/DC about your book?
ME: No, not at all. And I really wasn’t expecting any. The only minor indication I got was three or four weeks after the book was released, it was mentioned on their website. But I really wasn’t expecting to hear from any of them because I haven’t talked to them in over 30 years now, other than tying up our business situation.
RMS: One of the fascinating aspects of the book was getting insight on how the Young brothers and Bon Scott really were. It seems like the Young brothers were miserable, uptight control freaks and Bon Scott was a bit irresponsible. My perception of them was really changed after reading the book.
ME: Yeah, the Young brothers can kind of be stoic human beings, at least the time that I was with them. But they were very driven individuals. They were put on this earth to create that band. At that stage, mid-late 70’s, they were living and breathing nothing else except AC/DC. But on the same token, when they relaxed a bit and enjoyed themselves, they were good guys to be around. In those days, I considered them close friends of mine. That was the case for some time after I finished with the band. I finished with the band in mid 1977 and kept in contact with them until 1981. But I have a lot of respect for them, and I’m very happy at what they achieved, they are still one of my two favorite bands ever.
RMS: It seemed like the Young brothers were very demanding of everyone except Bon Scott. It’s almost like he had a free pass to do whatever he wanted, like when he would show up to gigs at the last second. What was his relationship with the Young brothers?
ME: (pauses)…Well, there were periods of unrest, certainly. But with Bon he could be very disarming, in that if you were pissed at him, it really won’t last too long. He was this wonderful and warm human being. He was just like a naughty kid at times. But everyone knew that in their heart, that he wouldn’t purposely let anyone down. He was just …Bon. He was a fairly relaxed individual, that really marched to his own drum. He really knew how to push the envelope in a lot of ways. He was just that kind of guy, he could be really up or he could be really down. Bon felt a real duty to his on stage persona, and it was difficult for him at times to live up to that larger than life persona. That was part of it, of course, but by his own admission, it was just a small part of him. He would sometimes refer to himself as a great bunch of guys. On the outside, he would be that big tough denim and leather wearing guy, but on the inside there would be a laid back, peace loving hippie. But he did wear his heart on his shelve and that would at times make him rather vulnerable, which really isn’t a word you associate with Bon Scott.
RMS: In the book, you mentioned that Bon was thinking of doing a southern rock style solo record. Was he really serious about doing that? And how do you think that would have gone over with the Young brothers?
ME: The impression that he gave me was that it was pretty much thought out in his mind. He was always constantly writing. So, I’m sure that he had the material and that prompted him to want to do the solo album. He was pretty far down the road with it, he told me about some guys that he had in mind to work on it with him. He wanted to make it in the states. But I had the distinct feeling that he was going to do it. I only mentioned it in the book once, but we had several conversations about it. But, it would have been an interesting band meeting when he finally decided to tell the Young’s about his intentions. (Laughs) I’m not too sure how that would have worked out. But, I also think that Bon wouldn’t have done anything to jeopardize his future in AC/DC.
RMS: What was your relationship with Bon after you were terminated from the band? In your book, you mentioned that you hung out with him a few times.
ME: Oh yeah, quite a few times. Whenever he was in Sydney, he would always make contact with me and we would hang out, go to a club together. Back in those days, I lived near the ocean and Bon would come down and he really enjoyed being by the beach on the ocean. But it was funny, he would never call, he would just drop in and sometimes not leave for a couple of days. He use to really enjoy his space and time away from the band, for whatever reason. He just needed his space, his lifestyle was certainly quite different from Malcolm and Angus, that’s for sure.
RMS: Where were you when you heard about his death?
ME: I was at home, just sitting around reading a book. I was always a big book reader, unlike some of the guys in AC/DC, who would read nothing but the comics. But, it was early afternoon, a bit after lunch and my personal manager called me and said that he was coming over with a bottle of Scotch, which was a bit weird for him. I said, “Why, what’s going on?” He said, “Don’t you have the TV or radio on?” And then he told me what had happened to Bon. I said that in the book, and it’s really stuck with me, hearing about his death really wasn’t much of a surprise. But it was an awful shock. But he was such a cool guy, if you knew him, you would want to hang out with him, he just had that thing about him. But on the other side of that, he really didn’t have very many really close friends. He had a lot of acquaintances, but very few that were really close to him.
RMS: Did the band ever address his alcohol abuse? Was there ever an intervention or ultimatums?
ME: Not when I was in the band. There was never really an issue with drinking, with any of the band, before the shows. Sometimes, some of us would be a little warmed up, but nothing that could affect the performance. But after I left the band, from my conversation with people that I knew around the band, when AC/DC hit the US, that wasn’t necessarily the case anymore. Just with any rock n’ roll band you get some people that take that step over the line. But, Bon was very aware of his limitations. But at times he would give it a little bit of a push, unfortunately.
RMS: Did you fly up to his funeral?
ME: No, I didn’t. At that stage in my life, I had a real aversion to funerals. (pauses)…I regret not going. But that was par for the course for me at that time. In the book, I mention that I didn’t even go to my father’s funeral. It wasn’t until much later in life that my wife convinced me that I needed to start going, because people view it as not having respect. But that certainly wasn’t the case with me.
RMS: Well Mark, I really appreciate your time. I really enjoyed your book and having the chance to talk with you about your experiences in AC/DC. So, now that you have this book under your belt, what is next for you?
ME: Well, thank you. Since the book was released, I have had several publishers contact me about doing another book. And doing another is certainly not out of the question. I learned a lot doing the first one. And I really couldn’t discuss everything, because there are limitations to the length of the book. Initially the publisher wanted 80,000 words and my first draft was over 137,000. So there’s still quite a bit that wasn’t published. And I continued to write after I finished the book, as well. And I’m not naïve, I know that all the interest is in AC/DC, and not the story of my life. Even though the personal stuff in “Dirty Deeds” was met rather warmly by the readers that I’ve spoke with.
But in addition to writing, I’m also doing music again. I have a new band called the ‘Dynosaurs.’ It’s with some guys that were signed up to work with Albert productions and a guy from the aussie band called, Angel City, and a guy for the Quireboys. We are writing, recording and doing shows over here. We will be going into the studio in July of this year to record and we are recording it at Alpert studio, the studio that we recorded at with AC/DC. So we are back to square one, mate. But, it’s great. I still do my acoustic guitar gigs around here, and I still have my vintage instrument business. And my family lives around here, so everything is going really good.
For information on how to purchase “Dirty Deeds: My Life Inside/Outside of AC/DC”, please visit www.markevansblues.com
Special thanks to Magnus Henriksson for setting up this interview.
“Dirty Deeds: My Life Inside/Outside of AC/DC” can also be purchased at www.bazillionpoints.com