Former AC/DC Bassist Mark Evans on Bon Scott, Their Hard-Drinking and His New Book About Their Early Days
In March of 1975, a 19-year-old Australian bassist named Mark Evans landed the gig of a lifetime when a friend of his introduced him to an up-and-coming hard rock act called AC/DC. Featuring brothers Malcolm and Angus Young on guitars, and a 29-year-old Scottish singer named Bon Scott, AC/DC had released ‘High Voltage,’ their now-classic debut album, the previous year.
After learning all of the material on the album, Evans made his television debut with the band on an Australian show called ‘Countdown.’ Although he would go on to appear on their ‘T.N.T.,’ ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,’ and ‘Let There Be Rock’ albums (plus a revamped version of ‘High Voltage’), Evans was eventually fired from AC/DC due to musical differences.
Evans’s new book, ‘Dirty Deeds: My Life Inside/Outside of AC/DC,’ is the first insider account of the classic Bon Scott years of AC/DC. An often hilarious yet touching read, it took the bassist many years to finally get the stories down on paper. “I’ve been approached a few times throughout the years by different publishers telling me they thought my years with AC/DC would make for a great book.
“People have always asked me what it was like to play in a band with Bon and all of that kind of stuff. For some reason or another, a couple of years back, it finally felt like the right time for me to sit down and take stock of my life. It felt good to put it all down on paper and then move on,” Evans tells Noisecreep about ‘Dirty Deeds.’
They might have started to gain notoriety in the music press for their singular take on bluesy hard rock, but during Evans time in the group, AC/DC weren’t anywhere near the superstar status they would eventually gain a couple of years later. “Back in the days when I was in AC/DC, the band was fairly anonymous. None of us would really get recognized out on the street. I remember going to the pub with Bon and people would say to him, “You know, you kind of look like that guy in AC/DC.” But that was rare. We were all smaller guys. I’m only 5′ 6″, but in the band photos, I looked like I could be a linebacker for the Raiders. People were always shocked to see how short we really were in person,” laughs Evans.
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‘Dirty Deeds’ is filled with the kind of hedonistic behavior one would expect from a book prominently featuring Bon and the Young brothers. Noisecreep asked Evans if he was worried about his teenage daughter, Virginia, reading it. “I actually made very certain that the book was available to my daughter. Now, I don’t think she’s read the entire thing yet, but she’s definitely read some of it. There were things I did out on the road that I certainly wouldn’t want her doing, but that’s natural for a father. I think it was important for her to know what was in the book before she heard it from one of her friends or something. The book is sort of like a cautionary tale anyway.
“There are also some tender moments towards the end of the book that have to do with my family. Besides, it’s cool for her to have a record down on paper showing her old man during the days when he was on the road touring with a rock ‘n’ band. You would be surprised mate – there were a few very late nights during those AC/DC days [laughs].”
AC/DC’s hard-drinking reputation is the stuff of rock ‘n’ roll legend. Bon Scott would ultimately die of acute alcohol poisoning in 1980 at the age of 33. “We were all very good at beer and scotch. During my time in the band, a bottle of scotch a day wasn’t a problem for me. With Bon, I think he felt a real responsibility to live up to his image and persona. He used to hit the bottle really hard. Right before we would play a gig, he would charge into the room and decide it was time to become “Bon Scott,” the character.
“When Bon was away from the band, he had a really warm soul. He even seemed a bit lonely at times. I’ve known a lot of great frontmen through the years, but it’s really rare to see any of them have the same persona off stage than they do when they’re out there with their bands. Bon was the same. He had the denim and leather look out the outside, but inside, he was really a hippie. He had great manners, and was just a great person to be around. I miss him.”
‘Dirty Deeds: My Life Inside/Outside of AC/DC,’ will be out on Dec. 13 via Bazillion Points and is available through Amazon.
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