DEF LEPPARD's RICK ALLEN: AC/DC's BON SCOTT Was A 'Very Humble' And 'Quiet Guy Who Really Kept To Himself'

May 17, 2021

In a new interview with Sonic Perspectives, DEF LEPPARD drummer Rick Allen was asked what Bon Scott was like when DEF LEPPARD opened for AC/DC back in 1979. Rick responded: "He was very humble. He was a quiet guy that really kept to himself. One particular thing that stands out to me was on my 16th birthday, we were playing the Hammersmith Odeon in London, and we were opening for them. Bon came backstage to wish me a happy birthday and gave me a huge bowl of Smarties; in the U.S., they call them M&Ms. I thought that was the nicest thing, and he didn’t have to do that. This is AC/DC we are talking about, and DEF LEPPARD, we weren't really anything to speak of at the time in 1979."

A few years ago, DEF LEPPARD singer Joe Elliott told Classic Rock magazine about the experience of touring with AC/DC: "We opened for AC/DC on the 'Highway To Hell' tour in 1979, but I've no idea what Malcolm [Young, AC/DC guitarist] was like as a person. I'm not saying he was shy; he just kept his cards close to his chest. He'd acknowledge you — a nod, like, 'How are you doing?' — but he would never sit down and have a chat like Bon did. I found that AC/DC was cliquey. Bon and Cliff [Williams, bass] were very amiable, but when it came to the Australian side of AC/DC, they were very standoffish. In fairness, Angus [Young, AC/DC guitarist] came into our dressing room a few times, but Malcolm didn't really talk to us."

Elliott went on to say that "Powerage" was AC/DC's best record. "It's got everything — amazing songs, great performances," he said. "Listen to 'Powerage' now and you'll really feel what a great player Malcolm Young was."

Scott was invited to join AC/DC by Malcolm and Angus Young in 1974, and achieved international stardom before his death at the age of 33 from alcohol poisoning.

He sang on AC/DC's first six studio albums, including "High Voltage", "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap", "Let There Be Rock" and "Highway To Hell".

Scott died of acute alcohol poisoning after a night of heavy drinking at a club in London, just days after attending a session with Malcolm and Angus Young where they began working on music for what became the "Back In Black" album.

According to the AC/DC FAQ web site, Bon and the friend, a musician named Alisdair Kinnear, had been drinking the evening of February 19, 1980 and Bon apparently fell asleep during the ride home. Kinnear could not wake Bon, so he left him in the car to sleep. Kinnear awoke early in the evening on February 20, checked on Bon, and found him unconscious in the car. Bon could not be revived, and was pronounced dead.

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