AC/DC was formed in Sidney, Australia back in 1973 by the brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, becoming one of the most successful bands of all time with an estimated amount of more than 200 million records sold worldwide. Their sound is instantly recognizable and was a huge inspiration to countless musicians over the decades.
As every band that ever existed, they were influenced by artists who came before, but there is one famos Classic Rock band that Angus Young said he didn’t like back in the 80s.
The Classic Rock band that Angus Young didn’t like in the 80s
Back in 1984, AC/DC already was one of the biggest bands on the planet, since they had already released their two best-selling albums: “Highway To Hell” (1979) and “Back In Black” (1980). Both records sold more than 60 million copies around the world, which is much more than the entire discography of many other famous groups like ZZ Top and Jethro Tull.
It was in that same year, when Angus celebrated his 29th birthday, that he talked with Guitar World magazine and revealed that he didn’t like Deep Purple. The musician recalled that he had seen them playing live in concert but thought they were ridiculous.
“I saw Deep Purple live once and I paid money for it and I thought, ‘Geez, this is ridiculous.’ You just see through all that sort of stuff. I never liked those Deep Purples or those sort of things. I always hated it. So I always thought it was a poor man’s Led Zeppelin,” Angus Young said.
In the early days of AC/DC they had an incident with Deep Purple during a festival
Almost a decade before that interview, AC/DC had a bad experience with Purple when they were sharing the bill of a festival called Sunbury. At the time the Australian group had only their first record out and the British group had already released their most famous albums. The problem started after some fights happened between AC/DC and the Deep Purple roadies.
Young recalled that story in an interview with ABC (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). “We were playing on this pub on saturday and this manager got ahold of us and said ‘listen, can you guys (go) to Sunbury? Because the guy promoting was a bit worried, because he thought that Deep Purple doesn’t look like they’re gonna go on stage. So he was a bit worried that no one was going to show. He didn’t want the kids to riot. So he wanted something as a safety. He though, well ‘I’ll get AC/DC’. Maybe they can keep them at bay. Anyway, we got out there and we didn’t have gear, we didn’t even had a bass player. My brother George Young he filled in on bass, you know.”
“There was a guy who drove us in, he got there and took one look at the festival and saw all these people with all this madness going and said ‘You’re on your own guys, I ain’t going no further’. He didn’t want his cab in the mud. So we got out, we walked through most of the kids, the audience, we must have walked about a mile and a half to get where the stage was. Then as just as we got there all these cars and these Rolls-Royces all come pulling down with Deep Purple.”
Angus Young continued:
“They decided that they were gonna go on (on stage). We got out there and we were told that we were gonna go on at nine o’clock. Anyhow, everything was cool as far as we knew and then at the last minute something happened. I think it was our manager, somebody said that somebody threw a punch at our manager. (It) was one of the Deep Purple tour guys, so that was it. We were all bunched up in this caravan changing”.
“I remember we all came running out and it was quite funny in a way. Because we arrived there and we got a guy who was like a forklift truck driver, just a working guy. I remember him coming and saying ‘I’ll help. So we got on stage, there was this big security people. But I remember he dropped some equipment on some big guy and knocked him out. Then Bon (Scott) had someone like in a headlock and this guy was sort of spinning him (in the air). Bon was yelling out ‘Don’t worry, guys. I got him’ (laughs).”
“I suppose all chaos broke out and then I got on, on the microphone and I said (to the kids) in front ‘Hey, we need a bit of a hand up here. So they started come over the fence and we had like a standoff. The promoter said: ‘Deep Purple go on, then you can go on after’. So we thought ‘All right, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt’. So Deep Purple got on and they played their set. I think they cut their set short and they walked off.”
“Then they started stripping the gear and the promoter started fighting with them, because he said ‘It’s a continuous festival and the kids had been waiting to see this band (AC/DC) all day, you know. Then again, (the fight) started up again. We never got to play in the end, but the next day was all you read about: ‘AC/DC in brawl with Deep Purple’. So in the end, it actually elevated us and more people came to see us,” Angus Young said.
At the time, Deep Purple was fronted by David Coverdale, who recalled later that he became a good friend of the AC/DC members and they laughed about all that together. The Australian band even took Whitesnake as their opening act on tour back in the early 80s.