DIAMOND HEAD's BRIAN TATLER Reflects On Opening For AC/DC At BON SCOTT's Last-Ever Concerts

February 6, 2024

In a new interview with The Logan Show, DIAMOND HEAD guitarist Brian Tatler reflected on his band's gigs as the support act for AC/DC more than 44 years ago, which turned out to be singer Bon Scott's final shows with the latter act before his tragic death. Speaking about the two concerts — which took place on January 25, 1980 at Mayfair Ballroom in Newcastle, U.K. and January 27, 1980 at Gaumont in Southampton, U.K. — Brian said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, both shows were incredible. They were both sold out. We were all huge fans of AC/DC.

"The way we think it happened was DEF LEPPARD did the tour, which probably ran up to November [of 1979], [in support of 1979's] 'Highway To Hell' [album]. Then [DEF LEPPARD] went into the studio. The two gigs that we got had been left over — one, I think there'd been a fire, and I forget what the other one was. So, we got to do Newcastle Mayfair and Southampton Gaumont, and, of course, we jumped at it. And I think the management, who happened to be Peter Mensch, and it was part of [the] Leber-Krebs [management company]. I think the management was having a look at us because they must have heard from [U.K. journalists] like Geoff Barton and Malcolm Dome and Paul Suter that DIAMOND HEAD were a hot band: 'You should check them out and possibly manage them.' And they probably said, 'The management they've got is not very good.'

"So anyway, they gave us these two gigs," Brian continued. "And we watched as they… We had a big long soundcheck. Their drum tech came and helped tune up the drum kit for us. Peter Mensch came into our dressing room. And I thought, 'That's unusual.' The manager of the main band is coming into the dressing room of the support band — a little band from Stourbridge who nobody's ever heard of, who are all 20 years old. But he was obviously coming to check us out. It seems like that to me and to [then-DIAMOND HEAD drummer] Duncan Scott. We've discussed this. We think he was going to have a look at us and see if we were worth signing, but he either decided, 'Now I'm not going to,' or he decided, 'I can't prize the [DIAMOND HEAD] singer's mother [who was managing DIAMOND HEAD at the time] away from the singer.' So he didn't make an overture."

Tatler added: "And yeah, the two gigs were just incredible. We watched [AC/DC] both nights. And, of course, we had no idea they were gonna be Bon's last gigs; no one did. But, yeah, they were absolutely brilliant. And then, about a week [later], on the 10th of Feb[ruary], I think, a week or so later, we heard he died and we were all completely shocked. [It was] very strange to meet somebody and get their autographs and all that, and then suddenly they're no more. [It was] very strange and quite upsetting."

Asked if Bon was a cool guy to hang out with, Brian said: "Oh, yeah. In fact, we came off stage, and he'd been drinking a bottle of whisky. He was watching us from the side of the stage. We were all thinking, 'Oh, Bon Scott's there, look, watching us. We should be good. We've gotta play well.' And he he'd been drinking a bottle of Jack, I think, and he gave the rest of the bottle to our bass player, Colin [Kimberley], as we passed him. 'Here you go, guys,' you know, that kind of thing. And Colin kept that bottle and took it home with him and thought, 'Oh, that'll be worth some money one day.' [Laughs]"

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.

Angus told The Pulse Of Radio a while back that the band almost didn't get past Scott's death. "Bon was the big… He was a full-on frontman, plus he had this great character, you know. I mean, he just lived that rock 'n' roll life. With Bon, what you saw was what you got, and, yeah, it was pretty, pretty tough."

In a 2010 interview, Angus stated about Bon's influence on the band more than three decades after the singer's death: "I think it's just something that is part of you. It's like you lost someone close to you, in your family or a very close friend. You've always got that feeling they're there but you just, I suppose, miss them in the physical sense. There's always memories that keep coming back to you, and it doesn't matter what the situation is. You could be traveling, you could be relaxing somewhere, or going to play or being in the studio, there's always something that reminds you."

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