"I don't think any bastard knows who I am anyway..."
November 18, 2017 7:38 AM   Subscribe

 
It's not only the death of a man, but the death of a great band.

. \m/
posted by jonp72 at 7:51 AM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


rhythm guitarist

In its purest form. You could set your watch by his playing.


posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:52 AM on November 18, 2017 [22 favorites]


I'm also fond of the quote from Malcolm's brother Angus: "I'm sick and tired of people saying that we put out 11 albums that sound exactly the same. In fact, we've put out 12 albums that sound exactly the same."
posted by jonp72 at 7:52 AM on November 18, 2017 [46 favorites]


Poor Angus. Must be crushing to lose two brothers within a month of each other
posted by NoMich at 7:53 AM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


It is no exaggeration to say that AC/DC changed my life. I wanted to anchor a band on rhythm guitar the way Malcom did and that's why I picked one up. And if I hadn't picked that guitar up I would not be the person I am today.

.
posted by East14thTaco at 7:56 AM on November 18, 2017 [6 favorites]


.

You can say what you will about AC/DC, but you can't deny that nobody else can convey the idea of sweaty testicles so effectively in sonic form.
posted by acb at 8:00 AM on November 18, 2017 [17 favorites]


At my primary school this became a sort of proto-meme:

It's a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll.

We would sing this on the way to the tuckshop at big lunch, in our uniforms!


posted by adept256 at 8:07 AM on November 18, 2017 [19 favorites]


DUN DUN DUN DUNDUN DUNDUN

MAL! COLM!

DUN DUN DUN DUNDUN DUNDUN

MAL! COLM!

\m/
posted by middleclasstool at 8:07 AM on November 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


gettin' old
gettin' grey
gettin' ripped off
under-paid
gettin' sold
second hand
that's how it goes
playin' in a band
it's a long way to the top
if you wanna rock 'n' roll

.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:09 AM on November 18, 2017 [19 favorites]


I have never been an AC/DC fan, but I cannot deny that I know several of their songs by heart and that they had a definite influence on the shape of rock music. I honor Malcom, and appreciate that he was alive here. *raises a glass*

.
posted by hippybear at 8:10 AM on November 18, 2017 [6 favorites]


RIP Malcom, one of the strongest right hands in rock. It ain't noise pollution to rock this hard.
posted by Ber at 8:12 AM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


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posted by Cookiebastard at 8:21 AM on November 18, 2017


AC/DC over the loudspeakers an Iowa Hawkeyes football night game in Kinnick Stadium is so fucking awesome.

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posted by Caxton1476 at 8:28 AM on November 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


🔥🚘🔥
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:38 AM on November 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


In law school, there were nights when we studied, and nights when we partied, but twice a year, right after finishing the last exam of the semester, there was a night when we got Thunderstruck.

You did well, Malcolm.

.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:41 AM on November 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


He never got as much screen time as the obviously more flamboyant members of the band, but in the brief flashes you did get you could just see the rhythm in him.

.
posted by Cyrano at 8:52 AM on November 18, 2017


Is there another band that's had to replace its front man--its FRONT MAN!--and been every bit as distinctive, if not (arguably) more so, afterwards? I've always thought the song Back In Black was a marvelous statement in defiance of mortality. Mortality, of course, gets you eventually, but you can still flip it off while ye may.

fuckin' a

\m/

.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:57 AM on November 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


.
In November 1980, I was at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio Texas, getting screamed at and drilled for 6 weeks, and Back in Black was the album in everyone's car. Everyone's boom box. Everyone's radio. It was inescapable, and it was awesome, and I don't even really LIKE AC/DC.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 8:58 AM on November 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


I get my daughter enthused about brushing her teeth with

Dirty teeth
So we brush them clean
Dirty teeth
So we brush them clean

You can guess, I'm sure, which tune I use.
posted by clawsoon at 9:16 AM on November 18, 2017 [34 favorites]


I work in a spray booth all day.

This man's riffs roll through my head all day.

Thank you sir.

.
posted by Max Power at 9:20 AM on November 18, 2017


\m/
posted by Gotanda at 9:22 AM on November 18, 2017


\m/

My heart goes out to his family. Now I have to go break the news to mine.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 9:24 AM on November 18, 2017


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posted by doctor_negative at 9:25 AM on November 18, 2017


Normally it would be a bit early in the day for AC/DC, but...*rocks out to Shoot To Thrill*. Every time I hear them I’m taken back to hockey locker rooms, blaring The Eazor’s Edge or Back In Black before the game starts. RIP, Malcolm...no dot of silence for you, because it doesn’t seem appropriate. \m/ \m/
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:25 AM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]




Damn. Was there a more prominent yet self-effacing Gretsch player?
posted by hawthorne at 9:33 AM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


In the `70's there was an AM station is San Antonio called KMAC. For most of its life, they shared the band 12 hours on & 12 hours off, with a Christian broadcasting group, & every evening at 7 PM, the Christian talk host would wring his hands on-air that because of lack of proper funding to buy all 24 hours of broadcast time, they were going to have to now turn the station over to those heathens that played Satan's music.

Most nights, the KMAC DJ would start the show with AC/DC -- back in the days before even Highway to Hell, when they were still pretty obscure in the US. It was certainly my first exposure to them, & while at first I kinda dismissed them as too basic, I learned to appreciate how raw, honest & real they were. They talk about country music being 3 chords & the truth, well at the gut level, AC/DC did the same thing to a generation of freak, stoner teens - just pure power. Saturday night drinking at the lake music, when we were out doing the stuff Springsteen talks about. They were a big part of the soundtrack.

I cringe a bit at the misogyny in some of Bon Scott's lyrics these days, & some of the dumb puns in their song titles, but I'm still very particular to Ride On, which doesn't seem to be available on Youtube, except as cover, or a weird pitch-shifted version.

Anyway, Ride on, Malcolm.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:51 AM on November 18, 2017 [8 favorites]


Good basic rock.....

.
posted by bjgeiger at 9:56 AM on November 18, 2017


\m/
posted by Miss Cellania at 9:57 AM on November 18, 2017



posted by Gelatin at 9:58 AM on November 18, 2017


RIP in its traditional sense seems completely inappropriate for this man so I propose the following instead:

Rock In Perpetuity
posted by wabbittwax at 9:59 AM on November 18, 2017 [9 favorites]


Ownership of "Back In Black" was practically mandatory when I was at college. We averaged more than one copy of that album per room on my floor freshman year.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:00 AM on November 18, 2017


I read a quote somewhere, saying that AC/DC comes across as simple and that if they were so simple, why couldn't other bands copy their formula to the same degree? Answer: they were not simple. Figuring out how to do their style of riff rock, the hooks, the in-the-pocket playing is not simple. And Malcolm played a big part in cementing it all together.

Thanks for the great memories, Mal.
posted by ashbury at 10:13 AM on November 18, 2017 [14 favorites]


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posted by Elmore at 10:18 AM on November 18, 2017


I was a high school freshman in 1978. That's also the year some friends and I formed a band. None of us knew how to play our instruments, but we were 14 and didn't care (except we wanted to get better). Anyway, the first song we tried to play was Live Wire, from High Voltage, which was just breaking through in the States. Live Wire is a *simple* song...except. Except that it requires you to keep a beat, and as we discovered, Malcolm Young was a fucking metronome. We practiced that song for at least 9 months, and we still couldn't play it clean enough to sound right. We understood why, but there was squat-all we could do about it except practice more.

AC/DC, as a rock band, did simple things, but they did them to perfection. And it all rested on Malcolm's rhythm.

RIP, Malcolm, and thanks for being such a big part of my personal soundtrack in high school.
posted by mosk at 10:25 AM on November 18, 2017 [18 favorites]


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posted by evilDoug at 11:05 AM on November 18, 2017


For those about to rock!
FIRE!
WE SALUTE YOU!!!
and lots more exclamation points 'cuz a dot's too quiet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 11:19 AM on November 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Back in Black was my introduction to rock and roll.

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posted by gwint at 11:27 AM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


He was an element of rock unto himself, truly.

!
posted by droplet at 11:35 AM on November 18, 2017


Ride on, Malcolm.
posted by flabdablet at 11:39 AM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Anyway, the first song we tried to play was Live Wire, from High Voltage

In about '89, me & some high school friends started a '70's hard rock cover band for shits & grins, & for a while there, it paid about 1/2 my bills. Our set list changed with the times when grunge came along, etc, but at the beginning, it was Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, The Faces, Cheap Trick, etc. & of course AC/DC.

We would usually close the last set with a three-song medley of Live Wire/Highway To Hell/Whole Lotta Rosie which was so much goddam fun, I mean, it was the reason I was alive when we were playing it. Generally, the guitarist would announce "Chris is going to start this one off with a bass solo..." and I would proceed with the 8th notes. Locking that fucker down tight was not as easy as it looks, & more rewarding than you'd think.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:40 AM on November 18, 2017 [8 favorites]


Ride on vimeo , Malcolm.
posted by flabdablet


Thank you. God, I love that song. It's utterly perfect. There's not a note you could add or subtract to improve it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:42 AM on November 18, 2017


Good basic rock.....

Basic as in fundamental, primary, principal, cardinal, canonical, chief, elemental, root, central, pivotal, critical, key, focal, salient, staple, essential, quintessential, vital, necessary, indispensable, foundational, intrinsic, underlying, ingrained.

In the sense that any fool could play like that: not so much.
posted by flabdablet at 11:52 AM on November 18, 2017 [9 favorites]


I think anyone calling AC/DC "basic rock" means that AC/DC is like the platonic form of it.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:01 PM on November 18, 2017 [21 favorites]


The first few notes of Back in Black is my laptop startup sound. It's always fun when I turn my PC on at the library, having forgotten to shut the speakers off ahead of time. Sorry, not sorry, rock n' roll is not noise pollution.
posted by fuse theorem at 12:14 PM on November 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


I spent a large part of my young years learning guitar. But I didn't spend it learning solos like a lot of people, I was fascinated with the rhythm. With a lot of practice I could get a reasonable version of many of my favorites going. But then there were Keef and Malcolm.

I don't know how many hours I spent trying to get that feel, and I became obsessed with trying to figure out what Malcolm Young was doing that I wasn't. It wasn't the chords, like sometimes in the case of Richards, it wasn't the amp or the guitar. It was simple straightforward chords with a simple sound. Except when he did it it sounded magical.
posted by bongo_x at 12:28 PM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


Except when he did it it sounded magical.

He learned from a master - George Young's rhythm work with the Easybeats was always outstanding, and he brought that sound with him when he started producing AC/DC (Malcolm sometimes played the same early 60s Gretsch George had used in the Easybeats, too).
posted by ryanshepard at 12:51 PM on November 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Is there another band that's had to replace its front man--its FRONT MAN!--and been every bit as distinctive, if not (arguably) more so, afterwards?

I know what you mean, man: Dave Evans was great.

But assuming your question was not rhetorical: at the very least Genesis, Fleetwood Mac, and Journey had more success with the second or subsequent lead vocalist.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:56 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


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posted by Dumsnill at 1:03 PM on November 18, 2017


Genesis, Fleetwood Mac, and Journey

I will grant you Genesis. But using the other two as examples of "but [Stevie Nicks and/or Lindsey Buckingham, Steve Perry] wasn't the band's original lead singer!" is equivalent to saying "but Ringo wasn't the band's original drummer!"
posted by yhbc at 1:17 PM on November 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


He learned from a master

That was great. And they were a very close family.
I can't believe I didn't hear about George passing until today.
It's weird that even in articles about him they rarely mention all the work he did, besides producing the early AC/DC records, he also did many of the Rose Tattoo records, and the first album by The Angels. He also was the group Flash and the Pan (which was kind of mind blowing to me when I found out a few years ago) and wrote "Love Is In The Air"
posted by bongo_x at 1:20 PM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


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posted by SonInLawOfSam at 1:56 PM on November 18, 2017


Is there another band that's had to replace its front man--its FRONT MAN!--and been every bit as distinctive, if not (arguably) more so, afterwards?

Black Sabbath. Losing Ozzy and gaining Dio reinvigorated that band 100%.
posted by NoMich at 2:05 PM on November 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


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posted by Coaticass at 2:21 PM on November 18, 2017


Is there another band that's had to replace its front man--its FRONT MAN!--and been every bit as distinctive, if not (arguably) more so, afterwards?


pink floyd - although some will violently disagree that the band was ever as good after syd left

the guess who - yes, chad allen was the original front man - who? - my point exactly

the james gang went through tons of people and joe walsh was not an original member

the original line ups of jefferson airplane, fleetwood mac and fairport convention weren't the classic lineups

king crimson - i'd argue that greg lake's crimson wasn't anything like john wetton's or adrian belew's and they were much more interesting
posted by pyramid termite at 2:46 PM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


Christian rock band Petra replaced lead singer Greg X Volz with John Schlitt. The two eras are quite distinct, and fans of one aren't necessarily fans of the other. A bit like Van Halen, actually.
posted by hippybear at 2:59 PM on November 18, 2017


Is there another band that's had to replace its front man--its FRONT MAN!--and been every bit as distinctive, if not (arguably) more so, afterwards?

Dropkick Murphys
posted by East14thTaco at 3:50 PM on November 18, 2017


Oh, what a weird derail. Bon Scott left some huge shoes to fill, but I thought this post was about Malcolm Young.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:09 PM on November 18, 2017 [7 favorites]


Good point. God bless Malcolm and the huge impact he had on the band and rock music overall.
posted by yhbc at 4:50 PM on November 18, 2017


You will be missed by many, Malcolm.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 4:56 PM on November 18, 2017


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posted by Joey Michaels at 5:15 PM on November 18, 2017


In an interview in Guitar World from 1984 with Angus, he spent much of it talking about Malcolm's influence on him. My favorite gem: "..Malcolm always said that playing lead interfered with his drinkin' and so he said I should do it."
posted by Redhush at 5:16 PM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


It wasn't the chords, like sometimes in the case of Richards, it wasn't the amp or the guitar. It was simple straightforward chords with a simple sound.

Well he did have his distinctive style of playing power chords open instead of barred. Like everything else very simple but effective.
posted by atoxyl at 5:16 PM on November 18, 2017




Right hand on Jailbreak. It was all in there.

More right hand.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:06 PM on November 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


nice style analysis
posted by thelonius at 6:39 PM on November 18, 2017 [8 favorites]


nice style analysis

Ahhh... downstrokes. It’s funny what little things will drive you crazy... when we played Highway To Hell, one of our guitarists did it down/up/down, & the other one did it backwards, up/down/up, & I had to stand between the two of them & it made me fucking dizzy. Turns out, it was supposed to be down/down/down. Not easy at that speed. It’s subtle, but it’s important.

Right hand (strumming, picking) technique is certainly overlooked - all the truly great guitarists had stumming down. Stevie, for all his fast lead licks, had one hell of a right hand, Carlos Santana, back when he could be bothered to play rhythm (that first album!) had some serious pocket, & man, that article is right about Malcolm.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:34 PM on November 18, 2017 [7 favorites]


Highway To Hell On German TV from ‘79. Pretty amusing editing, but still not bad for its age.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:40 PM on November 18, 2017


One of my happy music memories is of the last night a favorite San Francisco bar was open. My spouse and I were there for karaoke. A gal in a slinky red dress and stompy black boots did a version of "Big Balls" that brought the house down. So good.

RIP, Malcolm. Thank you for (among other things) making that night possible.
posted by Lexica at 8:00 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


but [Stevie Nicks and/or Lindsey Buckingham, Steve Perry] wasn't the band's original lead singer!"

They first appeared on the tenth album by Fleetwood Mac, so it is not precisely a Ringo Starr situation. More a Billy Preston situation, really.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:04 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


i learned a lot about silencing ring of the chord on the beat from ac dc, the silences you have to play as much as the chord, and when you silence the chord, you can make that pop, like a drum sound
posted by eustatic at 9:16 PM on November 18, 2017 [7 favorites]


That article is right about “Shoot to Thrill” and “If You Want Blood (You Got it)”.
I don't know how many hours I spent trying to get the feel right on IYWB. And I've rarely seen anyone play it well.

But this is a pretty great example of what he did;
https://secondhandsongs.com/work/12870/versions
Go listen to the intro to "It's a Long Way To The Top" and the various cover versions. (scroll down to the list and click on the titles to open, not the band name)
And remember those are mostly good guitar players in a studio wanting to make a good impression.
posted by bongo_x at 9:20 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Is there another band that's had to replace its front man--its FRONT MAN!--and been every bit as distinctive, if not (arguably) more so, afterwards?

I'll mention Faith No More, if not just because RIP Chuck Mosley
posted by alex_skazat at 9:51 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Not a musician. I don't know how it's done, only how it feels.

Highway To Hell felt great the first time I heard it. Highway To Hell felt great in my pickup last month. Stomp down rock and roll music, it does exactly what rock and roll music is supposed to do* -- it makes me want to dance, it makes me want to fight, it makes me want to fuck, if I'm driving I mash the gas to the floor, cut off the mope driving like the Poindexter he is, and if he honks his little horn and waves his little hands flip him off because fuck him, and life is good.
*The archtype for this is Jumpin' Jack Flash, clearly the best rock and roll song ever.

I've only ever owned Highway To Hell. Obv I've heard it all but I've always felt that I've got the essence of AC/DC right there, in that one record.

Huge regret -- 1977 or 1978 they played at this scuzzball disgusting piece of shit rock-n-roll bar in Houston (Dome Shadows, close to the astrodome) and I didn't hear about it until the next day. Seeing them in that bar would have been absolutely perfect, one in a lifetime. I still can't believe it. The whole thing is a total wrist-slitter.

Thank you so much, Mr. Young, for what you gave us.

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posted by dancestoblue at 10:20 PM on November 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


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posted by monopas at 11:56 PM on November 18, 2017


I can't believe I didn't hear about George passing until today.
It's weird that even in articles about him they rarely mention all the work he did, besides producing the early AC/DC records, he also did many of the Rose Tattoo records, and the first album by The Angels. He also was the group Flash and the Pan (which was kind of mind blowing to me when I found out a few years ago) and wrote "Love Is In The Air"


Anybody interested in these connections would probably enjoy Blood & Thunder - The Sound of Alberts (via YouTube Movies; via iTunes). There's a cut-down edit that might stay available on YouTube for a bit but the original is twice as long and better.
posted by flabdablet at 1:34 AM on November 19, 2017


It's been a said so many times in the thread already, but I'm going to go ahead and repeat it anyway: Malcolm Young was one of the all time great rhythm guitar players, a skill that's often overlooked. Unmatched feel and finesse which is what brought the comparatively basic rock of AC/DC alive. It's really hard to do more with less, but that was Malcolm's "thing".
posted by Dysk at 3:12 AM on November 19, 2017 [4 favorites]


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posted by doctornemo at 8:06 AM on November 19, 2017


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posted by filtergik at 11:05 AM on November 19, 2017


In 1979, while visiting Miami from Caracas, I saw their live album "If You Want Blood You've Got It" in a record store, and bought it based on nothing more than the cover. I loved it from the very first spin on my record player. Talk about a consistent approach to electric guitar - pretty much instrument directly into amp, as pure as it gets. RIP, Malcolm.

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posted by dbiedny at 2:34 PM on November 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


I walked down the aisle to the Latin jazz band playing "You Shook Me All Night Long," which I didn't expect and caused me to crack up. As a further surprise, the newly minted Mr Corpse sang it to me at the reception. He didn't know the words by heart (and this was in an era when one couldn't simply look such things up) but luckily during the dinner some friends had worked them out for him.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:44 PM on November 19, 2017 [5 favorites]


Good job, Mal. You did good.

Brian Johnson said, on XM Radio after Mal retired, that Malcolm was not given to fist-pumping displays of ooh-rah when they played well; he expected it. But if they killed - really killed something, Brian would look back and sometimes catch him cracking a grin and nodding, "Yeah. That's how to do it."

Malcolm's 1959 Gretsch White Falcon, because nothing says balls-out rock like a fat jazz box. Now. It's not as big as all that actually - and Angus' Gibson SG isn't really hip-to-shoulder wide; those Young boys are wee lads.

Lastly, if you're a rhythm king, rip out the neck pickup - the less magnetic pull will give it more sustain, and you didn't really use it anyway, didja.
posted by petebest at 4:23 PM on November 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


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