When my roommate and I were drinking our way through Community College in the early 90’s, our tenement in downtown Rochester became a hotbed for after hours alcoholism. One particular Friday what was originally just a couple friends meeting up at our house turned into a full blown hold your hair back while you puke party. Awaking the next morning (afternoon) said party had already attained legendary status. Passed out bodies and empty beer cans throughout our apartment reminded one of an aftermath scene from a tornado. The mysterious Schmidt Big Mouth on the floor in my car. (Where the hell did I DRIVE last night?) And phone calls from those who made it home. Just calling to say “Duuuuuude!” in that lazy slobber tone that comes with a hangover.
While time would eventually give us the proper perspective of how improbable such a night was, my roomie and I immediately started planning to do it again. That night. But it wasn’t the same. Almost no one was un hungover enough from the night before to even attend. Those of us who did give er a go had none of vigor and energy. As awesome as it the previous night was it couldn’t be replicated. We were young fools to think it was even attainable.
Recently it was announced the AC/DC guitarist Malcom Young had suffered a pretty major medical setback and would not be able to perform his duties in the band. Speculation as to what AC/DC would and should do flooded the internet shortly after with band officially announcing they would continue with a new record and tour sans Angus’ brother. My initial reaction was largely indifferent. But as I thought more it reminded of the mess KISS has become and I began to question. When we like something. Why do we feel entitled to more?
I reached this same crossroad with KISS. They were my band. For me a big part of it was not wanting to let go of something that had been a huge part of most of my life. But as I grew older it was harder to convince myself it was something worth holding onto. What was once something that kept me afloat was slowly starting to feel like it was now pulling me under. The reality is AC/DC, like many bands, have already given us the best they got. Instead of comparing it to 1980 why not compare it to current formations of bands like Judas Priest. Down to 3 original members. Are you really that excited to hear new music from them? How about Queensryche. Firing their singer of 30 years. Also down to 3 members? Ratt? While Judas Priest is one of the greatest metal bands of all time and Ratt and Queensryche maybe some of the best from the 80’s, AC/DC is one of the greatest BANDS of all time. If you’re a fan of Judas Priest, Ratt, Queensryche, KISS, Springsteen, U2 and almost anyone, there’s a good chance you also like AC/DC. I tried to hate them for a while but it’s just too hard. They are too fucking awesome. The point being if Ratt and Queensryche want to make a mockery of their legacy who fucking cares. It’s not like they’re AC/DC. And like KISS. Haven’t AC/DC given us enough?
They’ve taken us down the Highway to Hell. They let us know it’s ok to fuck fat chicks named Rosie. They’ve flicked the switch and given us a 21 gun salute. They play 2 ½ hours knowing that everyone is going to leave not hearing every song they wanted to. They have played everywhere multiple times year after year. If you haven’t found time to see them yet, buy a DVD. And while people taking their kids to see the band they grew up with may seem harmless, is that really the role of a parent. Think of the first time you got into AC/DC. Sitting in a buddy’s older brothers bedroom smoking pot while he puts on Let There Be Rock. Now imagine your dad in the room with you playing air guitar. Did that make it better? (If you’re saying yes then fuck you.) Discovery was one of the coolest parts of rock n roll and parents who make things cooler are failing as parents. AC/DC made it ok for the pretty girls at school to hang out at the same farm kegger as you. Because of AC/DC I am always about to rock. And I salute them. I can honestly say that my life is better because of AC/DC. They don’t owe me anything more.
So in my expert opinion I don’t think they should go on. Malcolm means too much to their sound and their song writing. It’s not the same as when Bon died over 30 years ago. The band was still very young. Still relevant. Still current. They aren’t and haven’t been for well over a decade. It’s just different. They may still be one of the 5 best live bands on the planet. But even if they were to write their greatest album it wouldn’t matter. When you’ve been as big as them for as long as them people put you in a time capsule. And that’s not a bad thing. Also they don’t have to. They have played enough shows. Recorded enough music and made enough money. Why tarnish it? Why drag it out? For the fans?
But the decision isn’t mine anymore than the million’s chiming in around the world. The bottom line is if they want to they are going to. As a musician I understand the desire to carry on against common sense. So while I may disagree with it, who am I to be against it. But to those of you who feel you need it. Those of you who want it. I ask why? Because the party will never be as good as last night.