Posts Tagged ‘Malcolm Young’

Prolific rock writer Jeff Apter has recently published the first biography to focus exclusively on Angus Young. If you dig AC/DC and are a fan of Australian rock, ‘High Voltage’ is an essential book to add to your rock n roll library. Jeff joins us on episode 84 of The Australian Rock Show to talk about the book, the recent passing of Malcolm and George Young, AC/DC and a whole lot more. Tune in and play loud.  Listen here


Malcolm Young – a rock n roll hero to so many, passed away yesterday and his loss is immense. Yet his monster riffs – the core of AC/DC’s music can never be silenced. His Gretsch guitar and Marshall amp may be switched off, yet the loud rock n roll they helped to create will live forever. He inspired countless others to puck up a guitar and on episode 83 of The Australian Rock Show, we remember Mal by airing some of our most favourite songs. Play very loud. Listen here

8521d6_ac1187ffe978438e9609187579ff7d28The sun has almost set on 2016, and one of the highlights of the year has been the reformation of the Ted Mulry Gang (TMG). The fact that TMG are playing out live, 40 years after their halcyon days is quite incredible – and something we should all be thankful for. Not just playing out though – for if you’ve seen them live on any of their handful of dates in the latter part of this year on their ‘This Ones For Ted’ tour – you will be all too aware that live, they are more than delivering the goods – and are killing it as a live unit. If you told me a few years back that TMG would be out and about playing live in 2016 sans Ted, I would have told you, “Not a snowball’s chance in hell, never in a million years”. Yet with Ted’s younger brother Steve Mulry out front – it all makes perfect sense.

I think the last time I saw TMG was at Promises at Sylvania, or somewhere in Sydney’s south in 1995 or 96 supporting Suzi Quatro. I remember thinking that Quatro was boring and TMG blew her away. Twenty years later, TMG are kicking major ass, and are one of the hottest live tickets doing the rounds right now.  Vocalist Steve Mulry  is certainly doing justice to the TMG material, and is singing his absolute heart out. I’m sure Ted is looking down on his brother and old band mates with a smiling nod of approval. Yep – they are more than doing justice to the TMG legacy – and with Steve out front – are adding to it. In fact, after seeing the band a couple of times on this current tour, I can say hand-on-heart that Steve is making the material well and truly his own. With Steve coming from a heavy rock background, TMG in 2016 are tougher sounding, more muscled up, and a tighter rocking unit. Part of that is due also to having rock solid Mark Evans of AC/DC on bass.


TMG – carving it up at Dee Why RSL 9/12/16 – photo (c) D. Gray

It is short sighted to pigeonhole or stereotype TMG as a ‘Countdown band’ or a band known for only ‘that song’. For some people, I’m sure the revival or nostalgia tag is a reason that gets them along to see the band, yet take my word for it – TMG have a depth and quality to their songs that have seen their material endure incredibly well over time. It’s the aforementioned reason though, (a misguided opinion shared by the mainstream who see the band as a one hit 70s teen band), that has precluded TMG from being inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame. It’s an injustice, and no doubt political, as to why TMG have not been inducted into the Hall Of Fame. It would be a just acknowledgement, yet at the end of the day who really cares. Who gives credence to this two-bit, self-serving organisation anyway? As someone who likes to think I know a little bit about rock ‘n’ roll, take my word for it instead when I tell you that TMG have several albums worth of memorable, original, catchy rock that has stood the test of time – and still sound killer. Great melodies, great choruses, great songs. Some of their best material in fact is off their last couple of albums, ‘Disturbing The Peace’ and ‘Locked In’.

Many of Australian biggest bands of the 70’s had a second bite of the cherry in the 90s (including John Paul Young via ‘Strictly Ballroom’ and Skyhooks in 1983 and 1990/91). Those that didn’t have this second run were given their dues as part of the Countdown concerts in the mid 2000s, with bands like Supernaut, Cheetah, Hush and of course Sherbet (arguably the biggest Australian band of the 70’s), reforming with both Clive Shakespeare and Harvey James on guitars. Ted’s passing in 2001 precluded TMG from taking part in the Countdown Concert series.  In the early part of the 90s though, TMG did do a bunch of shows and TV appearances a part of a short lived 70’s revival – including Hey Hey Its Saturday and 70’s themed nights. Yet to me, this early 1990’s revival of the Seventies music and culture, was more about having a swipe at the music and fashion of that period – and was taking the piss out of it. It was ‘daggy’, it was uncool – so that made it cool right?  Which really missed the point.  I dig Australian rock ‘n’ roll – it’s the best in the world. From AC/DC to Rose Tattoo, Skyhooks, The Angels, Screaming Jets, Screaming Tribesmen, Radio Birdman, Easybeats, Saints and all points in between – In my opinion, TMG are one of the best band’s this country has ever produced and in a just world, should have/could have been as big as AC/DC.

Mr Rockbrat and I have a connection with TMG rock n roll that still resonates to this day. I have fond memories of sitting in my brother’s bedroom playing the TMG Greatest Hits LP over and over again. Man, they sounded better than Slade, better than Quo. Listen to those killer riffs. A lot like AC/DC……AND they were a Sydney band, unlike Skyhooks or Taste (in those days friends, there was still a Sydney Melbourne rivalry). They lived in the suburb next to where I grew up. As kids, my brother and I used to see the TMG band truck everywhere (with Ronnie Roadie no doubt at the wheel). They were a hard rocking, hardworking band playing memorable, original hard edged rock n roll. What was not to like?


Rare West German & US TMG LP’s

Yet let’s get back to the present. Highlights from the current TMG show are many. ‘My Little Girl’ ‘Crazy’ ‘Wanted Man’, ‘Heart Of Stone’, ‘Lazy Eyes’, and ‘I’m Free’ to name a few of the highlights. Les Hall, as well as being one of this country’s most underrated guitar players, also wrote many TMG staples that have gone on to become Oz rock standards – people forget that fact. To see Les spitting out blistering solos in 2016 at stage left is a sight (and sound) to savour.  To hear Gary Dixon run through spot-on acoustic versions of ‘Julia’ and ‘Falling In Love Again’ is another highlight of the show, reminding you just how great these songs are, what an outstanding songwriter Ted was, and what an appealing voice Gary possesses. As guitar players who have had a major impact on Australian rock ‘n’ roll – both Gary Dixon and Les Hall are deserving of way more respect. They are rock ‘n’ roll personified. Drummer Herm Kovac, the backbone of TMG, keeps the beat and hits hard as he always does – Mr Reliable behind the kit. It’s always a joy to see Herm belting out the songs and keeping time. Unrelenting, no frills. The band deliver a ball busting rendition of AC/DC’s ‘It’s a Long Way To The Top’ that sends shivers down your spine. This is as close as you are gonna get to the vintage AC/DC sound- and as I’ve said before, these guys are Australian hard rock royalty – and deserve all the successes and accolades owed to them – more in fact.

TMG have a lineage that is entwined with AC/DC and what became known as the “Albert sound”.  They are the only ‘Alberts Band’ out there today playing with any real conviction.  Consider also that in 2016, other seventies band  like Sherbet, Hush, the original Angels, original Tatts etc will never ever be back – with so many of their key members now having sadly passed on. The starkness that TMG are the ONLY band of this ilk still out there doing it – and doing it bloody well, cannot be understated. When I saw TMG last weekend, Angry Anderson got up and belted out ‘Bad Boy For Love’ as an encore. Does it get any cooler than that in 2016? I think not. Rock fans in Europe would kill to see this kind of event. (Way more needs to be done in Australia to honour the legacy of Australia’s great hard rock bands from the 70s, bands that are revered overseas. There exists an ambivalence amongst the music industry, Government’s and the population at large towards bands from this era of Oz rock. Melbourne has AC/DC Lane? And Sydney ? The HOME of AC/DC and the Young’s. Why is Chequers a Chinese owned massage parlour? Why can’t Chequers revert to a rock venue akin to Melbourne ‘Cherry Bar?  Where is the statue to Thorpie? To Tattoo’s legacy? The attitude, the apathy at large is pretty apparent. Yet I’ve digressed. These are issues for another time).

TMG in 2016 are one lean, hard rocking band firing on all cylinders – playing material from the 1970s that sounds relevant and vital, and one can only hope that this recharged line up of TMG enter the studio to release some new material. TMG in 2016 is not revivalism. This is not nostalgia. This is a kick ass rock ‘n’ roll band – the last of their kind. Get out there and see them whilst you can.  If you only see one show in 2017 –make it TMG. Satisfaction guaranteed.  Go to the band’s web site for details of upcoming shows in 2017.

Check out Episode 62 of the Australian Rock Show – An interview with Steve Mulry, Rick Lum from Hush and TMG fans conducted at the Ted Mulry Memorial Day 3/9/16 here

Check out Episode 42 of the Australian Rock Show – An interview with Ronald Clayton  – TMG’s long time roadie (you can meet Ronnie at any of the current TMG shows at the merch table). Listen here

Rockbrat Wonders – Why TMG Are not in the ARIA Hall Of Fame

Whilst I’m in an AC/DC mood – and why wouldn’t you not be, I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the Young family tree and pen a few words about two relatives of the famous Young brothers – being nephew Stevie Young. This is particularly relevant to yesterday’s post on Alex Young, as Stevie is Alex’s son. During the 1988 U.S. tour for AC/DC’s album Blow Up Your Video, (which started on May 3, 1988)  Stevie famously filled in for Malcolm on rhythm guitar, while Malcolm was off addressing his issues with the bottle. Apparently, many fans were not even aware that Malcolm had been replaced, as Stevie bore a close physical resemblance to him. His first show with AC/DC was at Portland, Oregon on May 3, 1988, and he was essentially with the band from May to November 1988. Stevie grew up in the Scottish town of Hawick, and by the late 70s, was in his first bands, The Stabbers, Prowler and Tantrum – yet it is with The Starfighters that he his most well-known. The Starfighters made two albums, the self titled effort in 1981, and the second album ‘In Flight Movie’ that came out in 1983. Both were released on Jive Records. Starfighters also played several support shows on AC/DC’s Back in Black UK Tour in 1980. The band split in 1983 before reforming again in 1987 for another shot at the big time. After Stevie’s stint playing Malcolm,  he formed Little Big Horn, whose demo tape was produced by Malcolm Young. They soon broke up after a lack of success in signing a record deal, although not before they had recorded a session for Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1. Stevie later formed Up Rising, again, with limited success. Anyway, several bootlegs exist from his time with AC/DC on that North American Tour, and it goes without saying that both Starfighters albums are essential AC/DC styled albums. I used to have an album by Sydney’s BB Steal (ex Boss) called ‘On The Edge’ that featured James Young on drums (he also later went on to be in The Poor – who in turn supported AC/DC in 96). Not sure if he was related to the famous Young clan though. Anyway here is the video for their tune ‘ Hot Shot’ (sorry – no videos of the band I can find)



Amongst four Young brothers (and one sister Margaret), its well-known that three of those brothers went on to phenomenal music careers. Easybeat George, Malcolm and Angus to AC/DC (obviously) – but what do you know about the other brother, the one that stayed behind in Scotland, Alexander Young ?  The Young’s parents, William (1911–85) and Margaret (1913–88), emigrated from the Cranhill area of Glasgow, Scotland, to Sydney, Australia, in May 1963 with their children George, Margaret, Malcolm, and Angus  (eventually settling in the suburb of Burwood where Malcolm and Angus attended Ashfield Boys High School). When The Young family emigrated in 1963, Alexander would have been 25 years of age, 8 years older than George, 15 years senior to Malcolm and 17 years older than Angus. He chose to remain in Britain to pursue musical interests. Can’t help but wonder whether he would have had success with George as part of The Easybeats. Anyway, as time showed he took a different path – and counted the Beatles as his peers. In the early 60’s he was in a band called the Bobby Patrick Big Six and spent some time touring in Germany, before forming the band he became most famous for – Grapefruit. In 1967, at 29 years of age, Alexander was playing bass in the London based outfit, who also included three former members of Tony Rivers and the Castaways. Young was signed as songwriter with Apple Music Publishing Ltd. by Terry Doran, managing director of Apple, (friend of the Beatles and Lennon in particular), and later manager of Grapefruit, during the summer of 1967. The song writing contract was based on the strength of the song “Lullaby for a Lazy Day”, which John Lennon liked (he and McCartney also produced it). A tape with this song was found in Lennon’s personal belongings after his death. The song was originally called “Sgt. Pepper Circus”. Released on Apple , it sounds very trippy and very much of its period – with lyrics about dreaming and colours – its 67 era LSD fare. Grapefruit were named by John Lennon after his future wife, Yoko Ono’s book ‘Grapefruit’. Terry Doran saw some commercial potential in them. It certainly helped having heavyweights like the Beatles pushing your wagon – as Grapefruit received much support from The Beatles from 68- 69. The group was launched by the Beatles with a press conference in 1968, on 17 January, with the first single “Dear Delilah”.  As well as Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Donovan, and Cilla Black attended the press launch and all were photographed with the band. Jimi Hendrix was also reportedly also in attendance. Grapefruit were also, apparently, part of the Hey Jude Recording sessions.  Interestingly, Grapefruit were also signed to a US label Equinox, run by Terry Melcher, who had produced ‘Dear Delilah’. That song went on to be their most well-known, and most successful. It went to number 21 in the UK single chart in February 1968. Paul McCartney directed a promo film (never released) for the single “Elevator”.  John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison attended and helped in their recording sessions for the singles, as Grapefruit didn’t have a producer at the time.  As evidenced by all this support –  the Beatles must have been fairly confident that Grapefruit were headed for bigger things and no doubt thought that crossing Apple and Grapefruit spelt dollars and not fruit salad. However, after only two years, the group broke up in late 1969, leaving a handful of singles and two albums, Around Grapefruit (1968) and Deep Water (1969). The hard rocking “Deep Water” did crack the German Top 20, peaking at No. 19. Toward the end of their career, following the new material being written by Alexander, Grapefruit shifted from melodic pop to more of a rock-based sound. In 1969 Alexander joined forces with his brother, George Young, and his Easybeats partner Harry Vanda and, in 1970, they recorded for the Young Blood label as Paintbox and Tramp. He also participated in sessions for Vanda and Young’s Marcus Hook Roll Band. Alexander, along with George Young and Harry Vanda, revived the Grapefruit name in 1971 issuing, “Universal Party” / “Sha Sha”, but the reunion was short-lived. (Check out the catchy ‘Universal Party’ here). A song written by Alex Young,  “I’m a Rebel”, was recorded in 1976 by AC/DC but was never released. The song remains in Albert Productions vaults, being almost impossible to find (not included in ‘rare track’ box sets either). The song was later covered by Accept in 1979 for their 2nd album, 1980s ‘Im A Rebel’ , and is apparently, very close sounding to the original. Accept guitarist Wolf Hoffmann recalled the circumstances that led Alex Young to work with Accept: “He got involved with Accept through the producer, Dieter Dirks. Everybody after the first record said we have to have a radio hit. ‘Guys,  you need a radio hit and we have just the song for you. Why don’t you try this here?'”  If you think how good it sounds with Udo, one can only imagine how great it sounds with Bon on vocals. From 1995 till August 1997, Alex Young worked as a music manager with “Proud and Loud Management”, based in Hamburg. He sadly died of lung cancer in Hamburg-Sasel on 4 August 1997.  Go check out some of Alex Young’s music – and remember that the senior Young brother also made killer rock n roll, particularly if you dig stuff from the mid to late 60s, like the Easybeats / Small Faces etc.  Both Grapefruit albums (as well as a BBC Sessions CD) are available on CD here. What an amazingly talented set of brothers.     

Who: AC/DC
When: Donington Park, UK – August 17, 1991
Always great to see Angus and Malcolm live – and this gig is memorable. In the early hours of a cool August morning in 1991, the Rockbrat began making his way from the capital to Leicestershire. Donington Park to be more accurate, as that was the day of the Monsters of Rock Festival – headlined by Australia’s favourite sons. If you’ve never been to this venue, image a large open grass area with a massive stage and amps ! The line-up that day was Black Crowes, Queensryche, Motley Crud, Metallica and AC/DC – headlining for their 3rd time.  It was tedious at times (ie sitting through the whining Vince Neil) but eventually  dusk hit and Angus was up on stage riffing away to ‘Thunderstruck’. Released as a video/DVD/Blue Ray the set-list is well-known, but boy, being there to see this set was truly great and the band cooked. I do recall that by the time the final cannon had been blasted in ‘For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)’ that the temperature had dropped somewhat and several fires were lit for warmth. I made my way to the bus for the return trip to London. From the bus window I could see posters advertising the debut Screaming Jets album…..Newcastle’s finest who trod the same path as today’s headliners.  ‘Interesting’ I thought.  It was a long day and although tired with ringing Rockbrat-ears, I allowed myself a smile – because it ain’t every day you get to experience rock n roll magic with 100’000 strangers – in the shape of AC/DC.

Winning Bid AU $5611 Date: March 2009
If you are an AC/DC collector, this really would be the crown of your collection.This ‘Best Of’ LP was planned for release in 197 and ultimately shelved.Some LP and Cassette covers were subsequently printed with a few reaching the public domain.Super rare is accurate – and explains why this auction ended at a whopping five and a half grand !! Just for the album jacket !!! So keep your eyes peeled next time you are in a recycle or 2nd hand store in Sydney or Melbourne !!! You never know what you might unearth.


” The ultimate rarity in any AC/DC collection. This album was in preparation by Alberts in 1978 but was never released. No record or test-pressing was actually ever manufactured, but a very small quantity of sleeves were printed. Certainly one of the rarest AC/DC item ever, due to the small print run and the fact that all copies remained in the Albert/EMI vaults, Only a handful of collectors are known to posses this gem “