Eyeline Review of Bon Scott Project

Darren Jorgensen has written a review of last year’s Bon Scott Project exhibition at Fremantle Arts Centre. Here’s a snippet:

The respectful air of AC/DC fans who were streaming through the Fremantle Arts Centre testifies to a show that endeared itself to the spirit and not the surfaces of rock-and-roll. This was also Bon’s distinctive contribution to the 1970s, to produce something real in the face of disco and glam, to ‘give the public what they want’, in his own words. Such a real and lived quality is not so far from the best of visual art, which also speaks with heart. This show’s interest lies in the correspondences that it creates between music, culture and art, raising questions about what it is that speaks to us through all of them.

I’ve uploaded the full review in PDF form here. (From page 63 of Eyeline Magazine, issue #67, Jan-Feb 2009)

Stevie Let your Hair Hang Down

stevie wright atop a lion
[Stevie Wright astride a bronze lion in Trafalgar Sq., London, 1975. Photo entitled “Portrait of Stevie Wright, London, 1975” by Gary Ede, originally published here.]

One of the most significant non-Bon discoveries I made while working on the Bon Scott Blog was the music of Stevie Wright. By chance, I found Stevie’s album Hard Road at a flea market. I had a vague notion that Stevie had something to do with Bon, so I bought it for a mere seven bucks. Since then (my girlfriend gave me a record player for my birthday) and Hard Road has been on high rotation. It is brilliant.

Stevie really shines on this album – the writing, the voice, the guitar work, the production values (rough enough but still polished). Vanda and Young did really well here.

When I first heard the album, the similarity between Stevie and Bon stood out. Stevie’s infectious trick of inserting little asides at the end of verses “My mum and pop they told me, son, you know you’re just a fool (yes they did) / when I told them I was leaving home, I was leaving school (yes I was)” is something Bon picked up on. And even in the narrative of the album – about being on a hard road with just my dog and my guitar and so on, there is something pretty similar to Bon’s later “Long way to the top” and “showbusiness” line of song writing about the struggles of being an aspiring rock star.

Stevie was mooted by some to take over as singer in AC/DC when Bon died, but it never happened. Apparently Alberts (the record company) and the Youngs were pretty hardline in their no drugs policy, which ruled out Stevie. In fact, it seems he went off the rails not long after Hard Road. In 2004, he released an autobiography, which I am yet to discover (details here); and in 1999 Jack Marx wrote a book about him called Sorry: The Wretched Tale of Little Stevie Wright, which is pretty rare – there’s a good review of that book here, although it seems that Stevie does not endorse Marx’s version of events, which have been described as “one of the most morally clouded rock’n’roll biographies you will read anywhere“.

black eyed bruiser stevie wright poster
[poster image from here]

I note that wikipedia says he put out an album called Black-eyed Bruiser in 1975 (and the above image would support that idea!), but when I searched for Black-eyed Bruiser, I mostly found reference to an album by Rose Tattoo. Does anyone have any more info on that album?

Anyway, the point of this blog entry is to say I’m excited to discover that Stevie is headlining the Legends of Rock day at Byron Bay and Perth very soon. If anyone goes along, I’d love to hear how Stevie performs. Here’s his feature page on the concert website. And the concert will also feature Dave Tice and Mark Evans, who I saw performing their excellent blues at the Sando in Sydney a few months back.

– –

oh, I just stumbled across some very thorough Wright-ology here.

Bill Leak’s Portrait of Bon

bill leak portrait of bon scott

Aussie painter Bill Leak has a series about painting dead famous Australians. This week, he did Bon Scott. You can see the ABC website about the series here, and I’ve uploaded the video (26min, 90mb) here. Enjoy!

Slow Leak…

bill leak To the literally dozens of people who sent me email and text message heads-up about the “Bill Leak Paints Bon” show on ABC TV tonight, a thousand thanks! It’s great to know you’re all looking out for me!

But you know what? I turned on the telly at five to eight, and there was no reception. Sigh. Something’s wrong with the antenna, but I can’t work it out. I tried the thing with the coat hanger connected to the back of the TV but to no avail. (It’s been years since I cared enough about a TV programme to do that!)

So I’ve been hanging out waiting for the ABC to vodcast it, but it’s still not on their site yet.

Anyone watch it and have any thoughts, while I continue waiting?

When Bon Scott First Met AC/DC

vince lovegrove on stage
[Vince Lovegrove on stage]

The following story, lovingly told, is, according to its author, Vince Lovegrove, “the truth, the real story of how Bon Scott met AC/DC for the first time.” Indeed, it seems to move carefully and systematically through the significant moments of Bon’s life. Vince, who first played together with Bon in the 1960s in Perth, in a band called The Valentines, was never far away from the major events in Bon’s career. So it makes sense to get the story from the horse’s mouth.

Vince first posted this story to the myspace page of his current band, the Mongrels of Passion. I emailed him to ask if I could reprint the story here. Continue reading ‘When Bon Scott First Met AC/DC’

Bon Finds a Home at Last

greg finishing touches on pedestal

While the world goes nuts over accadacca’s new album, in Fremantle, some quieter developments long overdue…

These pix were sent to me by Gabby and Darcy, courtesy of Greg James, the sculptor who made the bronze statue of Bon in Fremantle.

[The photos are by “Genm152”, whose handiwork can also be seen here: flickr.com/photos/fun4me/]

Finally, it seems that the statue has found a home at the fishing boat harbour. And by the looks of the photo above, it was worth waiting for Greg to finish the custom Marshal amp which is Bon’s pedestal. It looks amazing!

Here’s Bon being craned out of the ute on site:

bon crane ute fremantle

Here he is being forklifted into position:

bon forklift

And finally, the proud sculptor with his work:

bon with greg

Apparently, there was a ceremony yesterday to celebrate the final placement. Thanks to the kind anonymous soul who sent me through some photos and movies live from the event. Unfortunately, my mobile phone is so old, it struggles to read those big files.

Any chance of emailing through those pictures to me? lucas[at]bonscottblog[dot]com

update: (29 Oct 2008)

Andre from the Fremantle Arts Centre went along to the unveiling ceremony for the pedestal-and-statue. He said it was a surprisingly modest affair, considering the potential volume of Bon’s fan base. There has been a change of government in Western Australia, and the minister in charge of this bit of land, Alana McTiernan, is no longer in power. Apparently she was a big AC/DC enthusiast, and one imagines that her successor has different tastes. Anyway, the Mayor, Peter Tagliaferri, presided over the ceremony. Does anyone else who was there have anything to add to this brief account??

Andre took the following photos on the day (thanks to Jasmin for emailing them through). [By the way, you can click on these images to see them a bit bigger…]

unveiling at cicerellos

unveiling at cicerellos

Bon’s Death Certificate?

bons death cert

AccaDacca fan Andrew emailed to alert me that Bon’s death certificate is going on sale. The e-bay ad says:

CERTIFIED to be a true copy of an entry in the certified copy of register of Births,Still-births or Deaths in the District above
mentioned. Given at the GENERAL REGISTER OFFICE, under the Seal of the said Office.
Please note there are offences relating to falsifying or altering a certificate and using or possessing a false certificate.
Kindly note that this is NOT A FALSE CERTIFICATE.
I have had several offers already on this item through e-mails, i will only sell this item via the auction, thanks.
All e-mails will be answered.

All the details, as far as I can tell, seem right. But is it REALLY real? (And what is a “genuine copy” when it is also described as an “original”?)

I’d be curious to know how this precious item came to be on the open market. Who would have had it before? Who would want to get rid of it? Shouldn’t a certificate like this be in the possession of Bon’s family? Any ideas?

Big Bon Issue

big issue article on bon

The Big Issue has run a cover story on Bon Scott! You can read it page by page over here, or look at the pdf version here [2.5mb].

It includes coverage of the Bon Scott Project (including this blog!) by West Australian art writer Ric Spencer, and a personal story of his journey to see the bronze statue of Bon, by Melbourne rock journo Patrick Donovan. The cover art (shown above) is from the public artwork by Bevan Honey – the ghostly apparition of Bon which appeared mysteriously under a bridge in Fremantle in May this year.

(The Big Issue is a great magazine sold by homeless folks on the streets of cities around Australia. A large proportion of the cover price goes to the vendor.)

“I can’t see an end to it…”

rennie ellis acdc article

“I guess I have always had the idea of being rich and having a lifestyle to which I was suited”, says AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott as he eases himself into the huge chauffeur-driven limousine that will drive him from the Symphony Hall in Atlanta, Georgia, USA to his room at the Peachtree Plaza, the world’s largest hotel.

Thus begins this article written by legendary Aussie photographer/journalist Rennie Ellis, which accompanies this amazing set of photos of AccaDacca in concert in Atlanta, 1978.

And how does it end? With this ominous paragraph:

In the meantime this heavy Australian rock and roll band continues to storm around the USA. “The more we work, the more we move on, the more ideas we get. It’s getting better and better,” says a grinning Bon. “I can’t see an end to it. It’s just like infinity rock and roll.”

You can read the whole article here:

page one
page two

Thanks a million to Manuela from the Rennie Ellis archive for sending this article. Check out the website for more of Rennie’s great photographic work.

By the way, if you’re in Melbourne, you can see an exhibition of Rennie’s work from Oct 31 2008, to Feb 22 2009, at the Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia at Federation Square. The show will be called No standing Only dancing: Photographs by Rennie Ellis and you can see more info here.

Rennie Ellis – more amazing photos of Bon!

bon scott with heathen girls

Continuing the theme of “incredible photos of Bon from the archives”, here is a set of photos by the late great Aussie photographer Rennie Ellis.

Manuela Furci, one of the lucky folks in charge of the Rennie Ellis archive, has kindly given permission for these low-res copies of Rennie’s AC/DC shots to appear on the Bon Scott Blog. If you want to see more of Rennie’s work, have a look at his website.

The above photo is titled “AC-DC Bon Scott & The Heathen Girls #2 Atlanta Georgia 1978”. Can anyone tell me more about The Heathen Girls? I presume this is their myspace page, and I imagine that AC/DC must have played a gig in Atlanta with them, and that this photo show’s Bon at the post-show party!

Here’s another one with The Heathen Girls and Bon:
Continue reading ‘Rennie Ellis – more amazing photos of Bon!’