(sorry Frenzal Rhomb, but we’re taking that back)
I was born in the late 1960’s. Yes, I know that makes me the “Grand Old Man” here, but I believe that I was fortunate enough to see the best of rock’n’roll. So by the early 1970’s, Rock music was still considered either a fad, or only for kids. Adults weren’t into it. Even the parents that may have listened to Elvis Presley, JOK, the Beatles or the Easybeats had stopped listening or caring because they had gotten married, bought houses and started having kids. They had no time nor cash for rock music.
So as a 7 year old kid in 1975, I was absolutely obsessed with music and Countdown was my source. The colour, the music, the bands, everything. It was all awesome.
But one thing I will never forget, is that opening riff from ‘Jailbreak‘ by AC/DC. I knew who AC/DC were, they’d been on Countdown a few times, but for some reason, this song just captured my attention. That dirty electric guitar sound, with that bluesy riff. And seeing that video, with them looking like convicts and prison guards. But it was the sight and sound of Malcolm Young’s red and black Gretsch that was the hook for me. Electric guitars had the most wonderful sound, it just shot right through me. After that, anything that had a loud electric guitar in it, I would listen. Still do.
Malcolm Young was one of the greatest guitarist ever and it wasn’t for his sizzling lead breaks; he left that to his brother Angus. His rhythm playing was beyond exceptional. He was a master of timing, making sure that whilst Angus was doing his thing in front, the machine that gave AC/DC their signature sound would never falter. Malcolm kept everything tight, making sure that everyone else was locked into that groove. That’s why we love AC/DC so much, because they’re rhythm was relentless. You could set your watch to it, it was that accurate.
Have a listen to ‘Let There Be Rock‘ and focus on the rhythm section. It does not let up and it is astonishing that they could keep that up every night when they played.
AC/DC and most importantly Rock ‘N’Roll will never be the same without Malcolm Young.
As Nikki Sixx said, “He was the real deal, and he kicked all our asses”
By by Dan Brixey (@DanielJBrixey)