Think AC/DC is old school? Talk to this guy
Take a look at the photo to the left. Dave Evans probably doesn't look too familiar, but he should be. He was once the lead vocalist for a band that would become one of the hardest rocking acts on the planet -- AC/DC.
Long before current singer Brian Johnson and before the legendary rock icon Bon Scott, Evans was the original vocalist for the Australian band. Recruited by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young in 1973, Evans sang in the band for a year before being replaced by the hard-living, harder-drinking Scott, who died in 1980. Evans went on to a solo rock career with bands including Rabbit and Hot Cockerel.
Today he still performs with his band, The Badasses. In late February, he'll return to Australia to play in a Bon Scott tribute concert. Evans took timeout recently to answer a few questions about his career.
Stuck in the 80s: Wow, not only were you the lead singer before Bon Scott and then Brian Johnson, but you also share the real name of U2's guitarist. Talk about a lucky -- or unlucky -- star.
Dave Evans: Because of Dave Evans having the same name as myself and as he calls himself The Edge, it has been necessary to differentiate myself from him and I am now known as "Dave Evans a.k.a. King Of All Badasses."
Stuck in the 80s: Catchy title, and unlikely to be copied anytime soon. How did you first meet the guys who would form AC/DC?
Dave Evans: I was visited at my Bondi home by Angus Young, who had a band called Kentuckee and who had heard of me and was looking for a new singer. He had very long curly hair and was a tiny guy but very nice and polite. A month later I answered an advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald for a rock singer with a strong voice and found Malcolm Young on the other end of the line.
Stuck in the 80s: What sort of reaction do you get back in the old days when people suggested that AC/DC meant something other than power -- either sexually or satanic? I noticed Joan Jett, who is openly homosexual, has a song on her new CD called "AC/DC" and it's definitely about bisexuality.
Dave Evans: Joan Jett a lesbian? Well what do I know? We did not know about AC/DC being bisexual but did find out shortly afterwards. No one ever put any sexual aspersions about the band. It was just power and electicity and that was all. As far as the satanic thing is concerned, well, that surfaced in America some years later and I have no idea where that came from.
Stuck in the 80s: How was the band different back in your days?
Dave Evans: The band always had a strong, heavy rock sound and was full of energy right from the very start. Malcolm always had that driving rhythm guitar even though at first the lead guitar was shared between Malcolm and Angus. Our show stopper was "Baby Please Don't Go" when I got Angus up on my shoulders and we did a vocal/guitar duel together, which really got the crowds going. I did write a couple of songs with the band that we performed live but Bon Scott re-wrote the lyrics after my split and recorded them with the band.
Stuck in the 80s: How did you meet Bon Scott? What was your impression of him?
Dave Evans: I met Bon when we were performing in Adelaide. He was living there at the time and looking to reform his old band Fraternity. He loved the band and I would see him out the front at a couple of our performances rocking along in the audience. Bon was always joking and was a real larrakin, as we say in Australia, and was liked by everyone.
Stuck in the 80s: Any hard feelings after being replaced by Bon?
Dave Evans: I had nothing against Malcolm or Angus or anyone else for that matter as I was having the time of my life and doing my job as far as I could see. As we all know, Bon wrote some of the greatest rock songs ever and, to most AC/DC fans, his era with the band is the most loved. I met with Bon after he had joined AC/DC and we had a private conversation -- man to man -- and we shook hands and wished each other the best of luck.
Stuck in the 80s: How did you find out about his death?
Dave Evans: I heard it on the radio after I had moved to Melbourne. I was shocked like everyone else but also not surprised with too many soldiers of rock falling this way.
Stuck in the 80s: Have you ever performed any of the band's material?
Dave Evans: I was invited to perform with Melbourne's AC/DC tribute band, Thunderstruck, a few years ago at the 20th anniversarry of Bon's death. I performed songs that I had sung and recorded with AC/DC plus four of my favorite Bon Scott songs that summed up his life in a snapshot: "It's A Long Way To The Top," "T.N.T.," "Ride On" and "Highway to Hell."
Stuck in the 80s: Tell us about the Bon Scott memorial concert planned for February.
Dave Evans: This is a concert to raise money for a statue of Bon Scott to be erected in Fremantle, his hometown in Australia -- he emigrated there as a child from Scotland with his family. The cream of Australia's rock will be performing there and it will be the biggest rock event in Australia for many years. It is an honor to be invited and there will be one hell of a party afterwards, I can assure you.