Jesse Fink – The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC
'One of the few genuinely good books about a hard rock band'
(Black & White)
From 1974 to 1980, AC/DC were sly, funny and feral. But when frontman and self-described author of 'toilet poetry' Bon Scott died, and was replaced by the diligent but charisma-impaired Brian Johnson, the band began the slow process of rigidification into the corporate merch-beast that it is today. It's no surprise that their later music has been weaponised by the US military.
Jesse Fink's decision to focus on the Young brothers – former producer and rock-business guru George, bandleader and rhythm guitarist Malcolm, and showboating lead guitarist Angus – skilfully illuminates the dour, defensive blokeism that has ensured the band's longevity but drastically limited their scope.
He's good on the music too, pointing out the seeds of AC/DC's music in older Australian rock such as George's former band the Easybeats, and provocatively arguing that their finest work is not the platinum Back in Black but 1978's relatively subtle Powerage. With the sad news of Malcolm Young's retirement due to chronic dementia, it's fitting that this once-great outfit should be the subject of one of the few genuinely good books about a hard rock band.