Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Devine Intervention

By Darryl Mason

It took almost a decade before conservative pundits turned on prime minister John Howard and helped hound him out of the Lodge.

PM Tony Abbott hasn't even clocked up one year, and the knives are out, the wolves at his door. 

Here's Miranda Devine, of Murdoch's Telegraph, with nothing but praise for Abbott just before the election:

I won't quote her talking about Abbott's musky odour and brutish manliness as reasons why she thought Australia had to make him prime minister. It might still be breakfast time where you're reading this.

And here's Miranda Devine blasting 'lefties' for being mean and horrible for calling Abbott distrustful and a liar who would do anything to get elected:

 But when news breaks that her and her six-figure and seven-figure earning colleagues and friends may have to pay more tax to help Australia cope with the "budget emergency" treasurer Joe Hockey has been fretting over, LOOK OUT TONY!

So soon, Miranda? He's only just getting started.

This is too good not to quote at length:
NO wonder Tony Abbott fled to Melbourne straight after his pre-Budget speech to the Sydney Institute on Tuesday night. He would have been cold-shouldered if he’d stuck around.

The income tax hike he has proposed on workers earning over $80,000 cast a sour note in The Star casino ballroom. It was widely condemned as “moronic” by business people, journalists and politicians in heated discussions into the night.

The Prime Minister who promised no new taxes, and whose campaign was based on the deceit of Julia Gillard’s carbon tax, has scored the most inexplicable own goal on the eve of the May 13 budget which will define this term in office.

No one expects instant miracles from Abbott and Joe Hockey but nor did we expect extra spending and strategic leaks about a “great big new tax” in their first budget.
Of course Abbott calls it a “deficit levy”, is coy about whether it will be in the Budget, and claims he hasn’t broken a promise because it will last only last four years. And after letting speculation run for three days about the new tax, late yesterday the hoses came out. Now the tax isn’t even a “levy”, the government has told Simon Benson. “It’s a temporary change to the two top income tax thresholds”.
Good grief. Voters are sick of that kind of rank sophistry from politicians. We overdosed on it during the Gillard years.

Let’s hope that the public outcry has put the kybosh on the whole idea.

But it’s disturbing to have a supposedly conservative government even considering playing Labor’s tax and spend game.

The problem with the economy is not too little tax. It’s too much government spending. Abbott understood that before the election. It was the basis of his campaign.

This proposed “deficit levy”, in its latest incarnation, equates to a one percent hike in income tax for those earning over $80,000 and 2 percent for those earning above $180,000.

If your income is over $180,000, you currently pay 45 cents in the dollar, plus the 1.5 percent Medicare levy. The new tax hikes your tax rate up to 48.5 percent.

The potential harm to an already fragile economy of increased taxation is obvious. You are reducing discretionary spending, which is the amount of extra cash the biggest spenders have to spend.

Unlike the government, real people don’t keep spending when their income goes down. They tighten their belts, maybe give up a restaurant meal, stop buying takeaway, postpone the family holiday, spend less on the child’s birthday party, buy fewer clothes, cut back on grocery bills.

When they went into the voting booth last September and ticked the box to put Tony Abbott into office, they weren’t voting for an income tax hike. The Coalition won the election because voters knew spending was out of control and had to be reined in.
A temporary new tax is just a lazy fix. It’s easier to tax people more than do the grunt work of running the red pen over every government program, line by line.

Who hurts most from this thriftiness? Small business. The engine room, the people who depended on the ­Coalition to rescue them from Labor.
When they went into the voting booth last September and ticked the box to put Abbott into office, they weren’t voting for an income tax rise.

The Coalition won the election ­because voters knew spending was out of control and had to be reined in.

Most people would consider a workplace right is being able to take your hard-earned salary home without the government snatching it.
Devine was so filled with rage, the online version of this column had paragraphs doubled up, so blinded with betrayal she barely edited it.

Well, she can't say she wasn't warned Tony Abbott might not be entirely trustful.

Maybe it's worth while remembering that Tony Abbott used to be a Labor Party man, and pretty much switched to the Liberal Party because he believed he'd have a better run at getting somewhere. not being in with the unions. Well, that, of course, is just a crazy conspiracy theory.

It's still two weeks until the budget is delivered, and Abbott's conservative cheerleaders are already preparing effigies of him to burn on Budget Night.

'One Term Tony' doesn't sound such a crazy nickname anymore. Not when it's already been shouted from the offices of Liberal MPs as they fend off raw fury from constituents and Liberal Party donors over Abbott's Great Big Huge New Tax.

There's these remarkable quotes from today's Sydney Morning Herald, just for starters:
Senior Liberals have described plans for a possible deficit tax in the budget as "electoral suicide".

Some talked of a party-room revolt and one warned the Prime Minister Tony Abbott would wear the broken promise as "a crown of thorns" if the government decided to go through with it.
"I worry that this is Tony's Gillard moment, when she announced the carbon tax," said the senior Liberal.
Several other Liberals also expressed dismay at the prospect of a government, elected to restore trust to politics, overturning a "crystal-clear" policy commitment of no new taxes, in its first budget.
Incredulous Liberals contacted by Fairfax Media said they had been given nothing to tell voters who were beginning to call electorate offices to complain.

The mood in government-held marginal seats was particularly febrile. One MP revealed that neither he nor his colleagues had been warned about the tax.

One Liberal MP said he woke on Tuesday morning to the news of the tax.
"It's just shock," the MP said. "There was no communication from the leader's office. We're all just scratching our heads. It's the biggest f----up we've had in a long time."

"I can't say anything on the record because it's just too stupid," he said. "If it's wrong, then it's bulls--t, because why would you scare the electorate? And if it's right, then it's even worse because we said before the election there'd be no new taxes."

Another branded Mr Abbott's attempts to recategorise the tax as a levy as "sophistry", calling it "an offence to voters" that was "worse than Gillard's claim that the carbon tax was not a tax".


Panic stations.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Doc Neeson's Brain Tumour May Prove Fatal In Next 3 To 6 Months

Image via ABC's Australian Story
 By Darryl Mason

The legendary Doc Neeson, frontman for The Angels for nearly four decades until 2011, has revealed the brain tumour that saw him leave the road has returned and he's been told it may prove fatal in the next 3 to 6 months. He has vowed to keep fighting.
"It was a shock of course when somebody puts a use by date on me," he said of the initial diagnosis, that predicted he might not live 18 months without surgery, "but I still hung on to a shred of hope that I'd get back on the stage at some point,"
Neeson was first diagnosed in late 2012. He had brain surgery, a long period of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and recovery followed, through 2013. His health was looking good. He was hoping to get back on the road. But an MRI in February this year revealed the brain tumour had returned and Doc Neeson has now been told to expect the worst:
"The news is grim, but some people can get through this, and that's the way I try to think about things. So I'm looking forward optimistically to the future."
 Profiled on ABC's Australian Story, Doc Neeson has opened up his battle against brain cancer, his addictions and what he believes were his failings as a father, during the busiest days of The Angels,
when the band would play more than 150 shows a year.
Image via ABC's Australian Story
Here's a great tale, from Australian Story, from Australia's now governor-general, Peter Cosgrove, on Doc Neeson's performance for Australian troops in East Timor in 1999:
"I'm sitting up there with people like Jose Ramos Horta (East Timorese spokesman at the time) and Roman Catholic Bishop Belo of East Timor, overlooking the crowd and they had some alternative lyrics to Am I Ever Going to See Your Face Again," Mr Cosgrove said.

"I'll call them ribald lyrics.

"Bishop Belo leaned forward and said to me, 'Mr General, what are they singing?' And I said, 'Well Lord Bishop I really can't quite make it out'.

"Then Ramos Horta looked at me and I could tell that he could make it out!"
I wrote a piece for The Guardian here on that song, Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again? and the infamous "No Way, Get Fucked, Fuck Off!" crowd chant that so surprised Ramos Horta.

Doc Neeson's last live appearances were at the Rock For Doc concerts in April 2013, and the Rockwiz live tribute to Vanda and Young, last December, where he performed his new single, a Vanda and Young cover, Walking In The Rain.

The Rock For Doc concerts, at Sydney's Enmore Theatre in April 2013, included friends like Peter Garrett, Jimmy Barnes, Angry Anderson and former members of The Angels. But founding members of the band, Rick and John Brewster, were not invited to play or pay tribute to their friend and former frontman.

Rock For Doc was a fundraiser. There's no superannuation in Australian rock.
"When The Angels were big, we invested a lot of the money that we made into the band itself to try and go overseas again. So there was no kind of money salted away somewhere to fall back on," Neeson said.

"It's a pretty lean time at the moment."
A few weeks after Rock For Doc, which raised more than $200,000, Doc Neeson was presented with an Order of Australia medal by NSW Governor Marie Bashir, who has confessed she is also fan of The Angels.

In January 2014, Doc was profiled in the Sydney Morning Herald, the cancer was in remission, he was hopeful, it had been a hard year, but picking up where he'd left off in December 2012 and taking a lineup of The Angels back on the road was looking like a reality. It had been a difficult journey since his first diagnosis.
It was at Christmas dinner that Doc Neeson's family realised something was wrong with the enigmatic former frontman of veteran Australian rock band The Angels.
"You could see in his face and how he was talking that something wasn't quite right," recalls Neeson's son Keiran.

An ambulance rushed Neeson to Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital where the 65-year-old singer had a seizure.

After a CAT scan, he was diagnosed with a high grade brain tumour and told that statistically, he had 18 months to live.

Plans for a national tour were put aside. Neeson's tumour was surgically removed and he began intensive rounds of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
That radiotherapy and chemotherapy did not destroy the tumours completely, it would seem. They have returned, and Doc Neeson is now both preparing for his end, and fighting to extend his life as long as possible.

Very sad news.

I'll follow up once the episode of Australian Story has aired.

This is a video I shot of Doc Neeson leading a protest march through Newtown, Sydney, against the closure of iconic inner city rock venue The Sandringham Hotel.

More To Come....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

PM's Office Spent 36 Hours Discussing 'Replace Abbott With Kitty' App

Good to know the prime minister's staff are spending their taxpayer-funded time on important things. Like writing more than 130 pages of correspondence and spending more than 36 hours discussing what to do about a popular app that replaced PM Abbott's face with a cute kitty in news stories.

From The Age:
Developers Dan Nolan and Ben Taylor made the "Stop Tony Meow" browser extension in January. Downloaded more than 50,000 times, it automatically swaps any picture of Mr Abbott encountered online with pictures of cats.
Curious as to what the Prime Minister and his staff thought of the extension, Mr Nolan submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for any correspondence that mentioned the words "Stop Tony Meow".

‘‘There was an issue where the Liberal party website and other sites were slightly modified so the extension didn’t apply there,’’ Mr Nolan said.

‘‘I had a gut feeling that maybe someone had sent an email internally saying that we need to stop this thing from working on our site, what can we do?

‘‘I don’t think there’s going to be any high-level stuff ... but it would be really interesting to see how a government department reacts to these weird new kinds of technology and culture jamming stuff, which previously they wouldn’t have had to deal with.’’

However once the Department had approved the release of 137 pages of correspondence relating to the Stop Tony Meow request, it charged Mr Nolan $720.30 in fees for access.

Charging such huge fees for Freedom On Information replies is obviously an attempt to dissuade the public from making them.

So much for "transparent government."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

AC/DC's Future Still In Doubt

In an interview with UK Daily Mirror, AC/DC's lead singer Brian Johnson makes it clear that the band's future is still in doubt, and that even a new album is not a locked-in possibility:
“I don’t know what happens next. We are just going to take it one day at a time.

"I think we are going to into the studio again anyway just to get together again after four years.
"It’ll feel nice to sit in the same room and knock a few tunes out. We’ll see where we go from there.”
 A curious comment from Johnson on the leaking of Malcolm Young's illness to Australian media. 
“I didn’t know they were going to do that because Malcolm is a very proud man. It is a debilitating disease, it’s fucking horrible and I hate it!"
 The band didn't end up holding a media conference on their future, but friends and some family members were talking about Malcolm's condition, and what might or might not happen next with the band, within hours of the news being leaked to a Perth radio station via an anonymous email. It was like a dam of emotions bursting, people who love him dearly had been living with the secret for many months, unable to discuss Malcolm or how they were feeling. Once the news got out, some wanted to talk, needed to talk.

And so they did.

On the likelihood of a new AC/DC album, if sessions do go ahead, if AC/DC members do reunite in the studio next month, and that's if, they will go in without new songs already written by Malcolm and Angus Young to work on. Malcolm is, some say, not in any condition to join the rest of AC/DC in the studio, or to even write songs anymore.

A new world for AC/DC.

AC/DC: 1973 - 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Okay, Now That's Old - Australia's Most Ancient Trees

Australia has some of the oldest living trees still left on Planet Earth.

Artist Rachel Sussman spent almost a decade journeying across the world and photographing 'The Oldest Living Things In The World' and has now published the results in a remarkable book.

Here's two of the world's oldest living trees, both in Australia.

The first is an eucalypt, it's location is secret, but it's somewhere in New South Wales. The tree system is believed to be an extraordinary 13,000 years old.

This is a 6000 year old Antarctic Beech, in Lamington National Park, Queensland:
'The Oldest Living Things In The World' book is here

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

AC/DC Confirms Malcolm Young Taking A Break Due To Ill Health, But Rest Of The Band Will Make New Music

Malcolm Young, Photo By Bob King

By Darryl Mason

AC/DC's lead singer Brian Johnson has said members of the band will still reunite in Canada next month to try and write songs for a new album, while founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young is recovering in Sydney, but plans for a 40th anniversary tour "are still up in the air at the moment."
"We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver," he said.

"We're going to pick up some guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens, we'll record it." 
In the interview, Johnson denied Malcolm Young's ill health will be the end of the road for the band, but with the caveat:
"I wouldn't like to say anything either way about the future. I'm not ruling anything out. '
The idea of 40 concerts in 40 different venues, to celebrate 40 years of AC/DC, before the end of the year would be, "a wonderful way to say bye bye."
"We've stuck to our guns through the Eighties and Nineties when people were saying we should change our clothes and our style. But we didn't and people got it that we are the real deal."
That might be all we'll hear from anyone in AC/DC on the proposed new album and tour, or Malcolm Young's illness, for now.

UPDATE: Okay, cancel that. AC/DC have released an official statement on Malcolm Young and the future of AC/DC:
"After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group’s diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support.

"In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family’s privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music."
So it sounds like AC/DC will work on new music, towards a new album, and presumably do the 40th anniversary tour, possibly with Stevie King (who filled in for Malcolm on the 1988 Blow Up Your Video tour), or another guitarist playing Malcolm's parts live.

Just to clarify, information about Malcolm Young's illness reported here in earlier posts did come from a family member, and friends of the band. At the time it was published, there was a belief that AC/DC would not continue without Malcolm Young, that they couldn't continue. Obviously, the remaining members of AC/DC have decided to try and go forward, at least for now.

Here's a brilliantly simple explanation from Malcolm Young on why AC/DC have remained so successful, for so long:
“If you look at The Beatles, they started out as a rock & roll band, playing in Hamburg. They became really successful. And then they started doing things like Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour...

“But eventually they came back to playing straightforward rock & roll like ‘Get Back’. The Stones did much the same. We’ve learned from bands like that that it’s best just to stay where you’re at; you’re going to come back there anyway, so why leave in the first place? Why not simply work better and harder at what you’ve got?”

More To Come

The Angels - "No Way, Get Fucked, Fuck Off!"

By Darryl Mason

A story I wrote for The Guardian's 'Australian Anthems' section on The Angels and one of the most famous, legendary songs in all Australian rock - "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?" The story includes a bit of an explainer on the origins of the NWGFFO crowd chant.

Excerpts from The Guardian:
It’s a song about grief, mourning, loss and the afterlife. It’s played at funerals, 21st birthdays, retirement parties – even weddings. It’s popped up in a spectrum of Australian TV shows and movies over the decades, and with the 1980s addition of an expletive-laden audience chant, this failed debut single from the Angels is now one of the most famous in Australian rock history.

Back in the 80s, Neeson told me the song began its life as a slow, acoustic ballad. The inspiration for the lyrics, he said, came from hearing a friend describe his grief following the death of a girlfriend in a motorcycle accident.

Not all Angels fans were happy with “No way, get fucked, fuck off!” becoming attached to See Your Face Again. The ones moved because the lyrics were about the death of a girlfriend to this day insist on fan forums that the chant cheapens the song and robs it of its powerful, nostalgic strength.
Leave a comment at The Guardian on what this songs means to you after you read the full story there. All comments appreciated.

The Full Story Is Here

More Rock Writing From Darryl Mason Here - Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Buckley, Silverchair, Kyuss

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Brothers Malcolm Young, George Young and Angus Young, 2012 (photo from Facebook)
By Darryl Mason

UPDATE: DEC 12, 2017: This page will be updated soon with a piece on the deaths of George and Malcolm Young, and what they both meant to Australia rock, but for now, it's time to hear George, Angus and Malcolm Young back in 1973, recording as the Marcus Hook Band. This was the first big project for George Young and Harry Vanda after The Easybeats, and the first studio recordings for teenagers Angus and Malcolm.

Working from a heavily scratched vinyl, I've remixed some of the songs to highlight the guitar playing of the brothers Young. All the Marcus Hook Band songs are worth hearing in full. As well as being a test-run for Vanda and Young's Flash And The Pan, the month of late night 1973 studio recordings also revealed how incredible Malcolm and Angus sounded playing together, just how talented they were. And they could get it down in the studio, and do it fast..

AC/DC were born in these sessions - the swinging hard blues is already there, the boozy, chant-friendly pop, some of that AC/DC pummelling attitude, and the tone of the guitars. Oh, Boom. There's that sound.

I'll do a separate post for the rest of the remixes, but here's two for now, to remember the time in 1973, when George Young invited his younger brothers into a recording studio and created the sound of Australian pub rock, or at least, the Australian pub rock sound that would soon take on the world.

If you think that sounds like Malcolm Young on slide guitar, it probably is. The Angus Young solos are already signature. He was 17.

Remix of 'Watch Her Do It Now'

Remix of 'Goodbye Jane'

More To Come. The story of AC/DC is not yet done.

NOV 15, 2014: Angus Young Reveals Brother Malcolm Has Been Suffering Symptoms Of Dementia Since 2008, Kept Touring, Co-Wrote Riffs On New Album

SEPT 26, 2014 LATEST NEWS: Malcolm Young Officially Retires From AC/DC, New AC/DC Album 'Rock Or Bust' Announced For Late Nov Release, Track Listing Here

AC/DC Latest News, April 19: Brian Johnson Confirms AC/DC Future Still In Doubt - "I Don't Know What Happens Next" 

By Darryl Mason

UPDATE: April 13, 2015 - Very happy to acknowledge, one year later, I was wrong in the below story in stating AC/DC would come to an end without Malcolm Young. AC/DC have now debuted their new first new live show in five years to mostly positive responses at Coachella, have sold more than 2 million tickets to concerts across Europe and the US and tickets are about to go on sale for stadium and arena shows Australia later this year.

Here's a few more predictions that may, or may not, turn out to be wrong:

- By the time AC/DC's 2015 tour winds down, they will have sold more than 4 million tickets, making it the Biggest Tour Of 2015.

- AC/DC have lots on open dates on their Australian tour (between the announced capital city shows), which means if tickets sell well, they could keep announcing more shows. Predicting this will happen, and AC/DC will play to more than 500,000 Australians by Christmas.

- AC/DC's new 'Rock Or Bust' album will be either the biggest selling album of 2015, or within the Top 3 best-selling.



AC/DC are ending their 41 year career on a terribly sad note.

Plans were underway for a new studio album, their first since 2008's monumental Black Ice, and a '40th Anniversary' world tour, 40 huge shows across the globe.

More than a month ago, founding member, rhythm guitarist, co-producer and co-songwriter Malcolm Young had a stroke, which left a blood clot on his brain.

When AC/DC reunited at the start of April to begin a month of rehearsals, in the lead-up to new album recording sessions, Malcolm discovered he couldn't play. At least, he couldn't play like he used to play.

Nothing has been officially confirmed, as of this writing, but friends and family members have been discussing what happened to Malcolm for the past couple of weeks. The blood clot, resulting from the stroke, is believed to be why Malcolm couldn't keep working.

Although friends have described Malcolm's condition as serious, it doesn't mean he won't recover. People do get better after strokes, and people do recover lost skills.

But friends and family of band members believe the decision was made last week to call it quits.

Media in Australia have gone ballistic today on rumours of The End Of AC/DC, and it appears the news got out ahead of a planned official announcement from the band and management.

Right now, that announcement is expected Wednesday, April 16, and a press conference has been scheduled.

Angus, Malcolm and George Young working on AC/DC songs in the mid-1970s, on piano

AC/DC won't continue playing and recording without Malcolm. It can't be done.

While Angus Young is the more famous, and more recognisable, AC/DC is most definitely Malcolm Young's band, he started AC/DC, under the guidance of big brother George Young (ex-Easybeats, and co-producer) and encouraged his younger brother Angus to join him, and take on the world.

Malcolm Young has been the quiet motivator and boss of the band for four decades, co-writing nearly all of AC/DC's classics, and making sure nothing happened to harm or damage the band's reputation, or disappoint the fans who've stuck by them for decades.

His passion for the band and its music, and integrity, were so intense, back in the 1970s he used to have fistfights with his younger brother, Angus, in the studio, when disagreements about a sound or riff couldn't be resolved. Proper punch-ups, teeth were lost, blood was drawn.

So that's it. AC/DC are coming to an end.

But what a career. AC/DC set out to conquer the world, and they did it, multiple times. Even the death of singer Bon Scott barely slowed them down, and only slightly delayed recording sessions for Back In Black.

Back In Black is still one of the biggest-selling albums in rock history, and AC/DC have easily sold more than 180 million albums, and probably half as many singles and DVDs and videos and special edition packages. They've influenced pretty much every hard rock, heavy rock and heavy metal band that has followed in their wake, including Nirvana, Metallica, you name them, they probably grew up loving AC/DC. And AC/DC are still in the record books for one of the biggest live audiences in rock history, playing to more than 1.6 million people in Moscow, in 1991. They were invited to play by the youth of Russia, who grew up on AC/DC bootlegs, after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The band have been written off by critics, numerous times, but they stuck to their guns and beliefs and never compromised their sound. They were rarely, almost never, tempted by the musical fads that came and went over the decades. They dabbled in glam rock at the start of their career, but that barely lasted through the recording sessions of their debut album. Their fans wanted rock n roll, heavy rock, they could rely on, and that's what AC/DC delivered, across more than 14 albums, and numerous live-in-concert releases.

Malcolm Young never gave up on his belief that 1950s and 1960s rock n roll was rarely bettered, and he used the riffs and rhythms of black blues players as the basis for AC/DC's sound. He's also cited The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards as a key influence, and talks about that influence in the below interview.

The secret to Malcolm's playing, as Guitar Magazine explained, was open chords with the amps turned down, not up, and mics shoved right up close to capture all the details. He didn't churn out huge rock riffs through blasting amplifiers, his playing, and magic, is much more subtle than that, despite the rawness of the early studio albums.

I still reckon AC/DC's 2008 album Black Ice was amongst the best they made, right up their with Back In Back and Highway To Hell (their last album with Bon Scott), it's absolutely killer, and filled with excellent playing, classic AC/DC songs about rock n roll and some of Brian Johnson's better vocal performances. It's also pretty much a live-in-the-studio album, with minimal overdubs, just like they did it back in the Alberts Studio days in the mid-1970s.

Malcolm's work on Black Ice, in particular, is superb, not just the detail of his playing, but also his songwriting with brother Angus. They worked on the writing of the Black Ice songs for five years, and gave themselves the time to get it right. They nailed every single one, and Black Ice became the 2nd highest selling album of 2008.

 Rock N Roll Dream, from Black Ice, is everything AC/DC was about. They wanted the rock n' roll dream, they got it, then they lived it.

"And it could be the very last time..."

Malcolm Young and his family have now returned to Australia. Everyone is hoping he makes a recovery, but close friends are saying the situation is not looking good, right now. Things may change. We can hope they change, and Malcolm recovers.

Instead of linking to an AC/DC classic, most of which you've probably heard a thousand times already, here's a rare treat instead - Malcolm Young's rhythm guitar from Let There Be Rock, way back in 1976.

Updates to follow


Mark Gable, from The Choirboys, provides another confirmation on the sad news about Malcolm Young:
"That is true, Malcolm is sick.

"From what I understand, and it's even been confirmed in part by his son Ross (Young), that it would appear Malcolm is unable to perform anymore.

"It's not just that he is unwell, it's that it is quite serious. It will constitute that he definitely won't be able to perform live.

"He will probably not be able to record."
An official comment/announcement from AC/DC management is still expected today.

Fairfax media claims the following is from a "family source":
It is understood Young returned to Sydney with his family before Christmas and was having in-home care at his house in East Balmain. He is now said to be having difficulty remembering familiar faces and having increasing problems communicating.

"His memory loss is so bad it is consistent with Alzheimers or dementia although we do not know that is what it is. There has been talk about cancer too."

The response online, and on radio, to news of Malcolm's illness has been massive. If AC/DC were in any doubt that millions of people around the world still love and respect their music, and their skills and talent at songwriting, they should wonder no more.

AC/DC are still the biggest rock band in the world, with devoted fans across three generations and from just about about country. Nobody can really believe it.

UPDATE: Brian Johnson has spoken to the UK Telegraph. He said members of the band are still planning to meet in the studio in May, "and have a plonk." On the future of AC/DC, he said:
"I wouldn't like to say anything either way about the future. I'm not ruling anything out. '
That might be the last we hear from anyone in AC/DC for now about a new album, or tour, or Malcolm Young's illness, for now. Sounds like there won't be a media conference, and the studio sessions will be to see if anyone comes up with new songs and if they're worth recording. We can only hope.

UPDATE: AC/DC have officially confirmed Malcolm Young will have to "take a break" from the band due to ill health, rest of the band will try to "make new music." Click for the full story

More Rock Writing From Darryl Mason Here - Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Buckley, Silverchair, Kyuss

From The Orstrahyun archive:

When AC/DC Were Glam

AC/DC: The Product

AC/DC: Kings Of Father's Day

2008: AC/DC - The Musical?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cyclone Ita Prepares To Smash Far North Queensland

Cyclone Ita is now expected to hit Far North Queensland as a Category 5 storm, winds of 280kmh predicted, with a predicted path of destruction that could spread from Cooktown to Cairns.

Still a chance it can blow out a bit, and reduce, before making landfall Friday night, April 11, or lose some of its power when it starts crossing the coast. Maybe. Hopefully. But it's looking like it's going to wreak some terrible destruction and kill people before it's done.

Here's how the storm looked from satellites on Thursday afternoon:

This is the predicted path of Cyclone Ita late Thursday afternoon.

And the infrared view:

Updates to follow.