Bon and Me

Everyone has a Bon Scott story.

I just got back from overseas, and my friends ask “so what are you up to now that you’re back?” When I reply, “I’m working on a project about Bon Scott, you know, that guy from AC/DC”, there is generally a pause, and either a look of incredulity, or almost immediate raucous laughter. You see, I’m not really the kind of person who you’d think of as an enthusiast for these things. My interests tend to be a bit bookish. I have a tendency to over-intellectualise, which fits more with an interest in obscure corners of conceptual art history, than Aussie rock legends. So it’s all very amusing, isn’t it?

The next thing that happens is that, once my so-called friends have gotten over their ridiculing of my rock credentials, they inevitably launch into their own stories about AC/DC. Here’s one by Diego, who is describing a scene from a small town outside of Turin, in the north of Italy:

When was it? Oh damn, I was driving around, so I must have had a licence, so that makes me 18…so I suppose it must have been about 1988 then. I was driving around with all my friends, and someone had this tape, I can’t remember where it came from, did my sister give it to me? Anyway, we put it on and it was wow! You know [does air guitar and sings the riff “na, na na, na na….di-di-di-di-du-do”] and we were really into it but we had no idea who it was, we figured it must have been Rod Stewart or something. It wasn’t until a long time after that someone told me it was AC/DC. You know, we knew nothing about that stuff, but it were were really into that guitar bit.

The funny thing is, I’m not even convinced that the famous riff Diego sings while telling this story is an AC/DC song. But who knows? Certainly not me. There are so many famous guitar riffs. They’re like pithy quotes from Shakespeare: we all recognise them, but we can’t always remember where they came from.

Diego asks a few other questions which betray his enthusiastic but hazy grasp on AC/DC-ology:

“Wasn’t Bon the one who wore the funny hat?”
“No”, Keg says, “that was Angus, and it was a school uniform.”
Diego: “Oh, I thought they all had school uniforms”…

-but never mind that, he immediately picks up his air guitar and launches into song, in his Italo-Aussie accent: “ROCK-AND-ROLL-MAKES-NOISE-POLL-U-SHUNN!!”

Immediately I find myself correcting this in my own head. It should be “rock and roll AIN’T noise pollution!” (The meaning is quite specific, although Diego’s misreading is, I must admit, an interesting slip). (Read the full lyrics here.)

And then it dawns on me that after only a couple of days into my career as a fan (which consists, thus far, of the paltry reading of the first half of Bon Scott’s biography, and listening to one single album), it’s already started: I’m becoming an AC/DC nerd. Mothers of Australia, lock up your daughters. I’m about to bore them to tears.

*post script: according to further research, the riff Diego was singing was an AC/DC track. Click here to listen to Diego himself rendering the riff in all its glory…

4 Responses to “Bon and Me”


  • Hey, I’d like to hear more about this project of yours. Feel free to
    write me or check out my site for Bon.

  • did you happen to see this (semi)related post of ours?

  • hey lu, the song i was air-guitar-ing was back in black, n it goes:
    tumpf-tumpf-tumpf-tumpf, dum, du-dumb, du-dumb, tananananana, dum, du-dumb, du-dumb ..etc..
    now, bout the misreading of the other song, i must remind you that me, together with the rest of non-anglo-saxon world fans of AC/DC, know the songs mostly by what they sounds like. it’s a bit like when the rest of the world sings operas tunes, they come out with all good intentions, sure, but, really, nice effort guys.. get the drift?
    what it matter is the tune, the energy and transcultural feel that comes out of the music, which is universal, beyond semantic limitations.
    but hey, you know me, i love to cause troubles..
    you’re not gonna delete this comment too are you?
    😉

  • Thanks Diego…you’re right, that is definitely the key riff from Back in Black.

    By the way, for all you Italian fans, check out this page:
    http://www.acdc-italia.com/pages/storia.htm

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