Latest release: Dave Tice and Mark Evans’ Brothers in Arms (MGM)
For many rock fans, Dirty Deeds – My Life Inside and Outside of AC/DC, the fascinating newly published autobiography of the band’s former bassist Mark Evans has two major selling points. One – people want to read as many tales as possible about enigmatic, mythical late frontman Bon Scott. And two – devotees also want to learn more about the band’s formative years. This was especially the case given that band linchpins Angus and Malcolm Young have always been such private people and no past or present member of the band has ever written such a tome. Renowned UK rock reporter Mick Wall even hinted in an interview with this very site that writing his own biography of AC/DC would likely be more difficult due to the Young’s non-cooperative nature when it comes to such matters.
Evans, the band’s bassist from 1975-77 and a key foundation member, understands this.
“Bon was a great motivator (for writing the book),” he explains. “So many people have come up to me, being very genuine and interested, and asked, ‘what was Bon like?’ I’ve got so much support over the years from the punters and those who love the band, so it was great to pay that back a little bit. It was cathartic recounting the loss of Bon. What would become tough while writing was that you’d go back…You’d recount the days in detail that you might not have thought about since that day actually happened. You’d remember all the minute details; everything comes flooding back so vividly. It comes back in technicolour and can be… Some people are probably like, ‘how could it be hard to write because of that? Grow a pair’. But I can see how people are affected in that way when they write about their lives. I found it very cleansing to write; it’s been very, very worthwhile.”
Loud surely won’t be the only press to ask this, but what is his favourite memory of Bon?
“Just what a good guy he was – great fun. Bon felt a great responsibility to the image of Bon Scott, (but) underneath the image he was a great guy, had great manners, (but) was a real live wire. He’d have his down days like the rest of us while the road, when he missed family and friends, but was a great guy. The guy’s heart was in the right place; a very pure soul.”
As recounted in Dirty Deeds, unfortunately in recent years Evans’ relationship with his former AC/DC band mates has soured. However, he’s extremely complimentary of what the Youngs have achieved during a nearly 40-year run as one of rock’s great institutions.
“They seem to be very private individuals. They’ve earned the right to do that; Angus and Malcolm were put on this earth to create that band. I have nothing but respect for what they’ve achieved; the change from Bon to Brian (Johnson) was done with such respect. They deserve a lot of respect; they’ve earned the right to do whatever they like.”
Evans also says that unfortunately a last minute emergency prevented him from catching the band during their latest mammoth stadium tour in support of 2008’s mega-selling Black Ice.
“There’s no painful memories; we had a very friendly and close relationship for some time afterwards. If I had one regret looking back to those times, it’s losing contact with the guys. The business stress has put an end to that… We move in very different circles anyway.”
Even after reading the book, the reader is still left a little puzzled as to the exact reasons for Evans’ dismissal from AC/DC. “I’ve got a fairly philosophical attitude to it. My memories of that time in the band, and it was a key time in its history, I believe if I was the right guy for the band, I’d still be there. That’s it in a nutshell. If I’d been a bit more mature and more plugged into what the opportunity I had been presented with, I would have made more of it. I was the youngest guy in the band in many ways and maybe didn’t realise what I had on the plate in front of me.”
Dirty Deeds has already been met with great reviews and according to Evans sales have been strong. It will be released in the US in late November and there are German, French and Spanish versions in the works. The book also covers Evans’ life following his departure from the legendary hard rockers, including stints with Contraband and Heaven, and the formation of an acoustic blues duo with long-time friend Dave Tice.
“I’ve been blown out by how the book has turned out and the reaction. It’s a humbling experience to put your life on paper. And when people tell you they enjoyed it, it’s also humbling because they’re basically saying, ‘hey, I enjoyed your life’.”
In addition to life as a musician, it also discusses his personal life, including the tragic death of his daughter. “It’s out of character for me to be so non-private; I’ve had people call me reclusive. It’s a strange thing for me to do, but it’s been very fulfilling and cathartic. During my life there’s been massive highs and corresponding lows.”