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The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC' author Jesse Fink Interview

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Writer Jesse Fink recalls the epiphany that lifted him from the dark funk that had permeated his life since going through a painful divorce. 'I was missing my wife and feeling quite despondent,' he told me in a phone interview from his home in Sydney, Australia.

'Instead of doing something stupid, I put on Gimme a Bullet' from AC/DC's Powerage' album. There was something about that song that kind of saved my life that night. The next day, I wondered What was it about that music that lifted me up at that time?''

Fink has answered that question with his third book 'The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC' (St. Martin's Press). Since an initial publication in Australia in 2013 and its U.S. release this summer, 'The Youngs' has accumulated extraordinary acclaim. Former AC/DC bassist Mark Evans calls it 'The best book I've ever read about AC/DC.'

By interviewing many key players who had never previously spoken on record and delivering it all with a non-linear approach, Fink's book is far from a traditional rock bio, yet it succeeds by explaining who AC/DC really are and how they became one of the biggest bands in the world.

The timing for 'The Youngs' couldn't be better. AC/DC are about to issue a new album, 'Rock or Bust' their first without founding member and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young. Last week, the band announced that Malcolm has officially left AC/DC because of ongoing health problems. His replacement is Stevie Young, nephew of Angus, Malcolm and George Young.

The band has also promised a world tour for 2015. Fink believes it will be their last.

Dow: As you were researching the book, did you discover things about the Young brothers that surprised you?

Fink: Yes, and it wasn't an easy task. Angus and Malcolm do not cooperate with biographers and they certainly gave me no help with this book. I did, however, speak with Stevie Young. I also spoke with Mark Evans, bass player for the band between 1975 and 1977. Mark told me that Bon Scott (AC/DC's original lead singer) had overdosed on heroin in 1975. The new information that Mark shared is that the Young brothers had considered sacking Bon Scott. That's something that had never come up before and sort of cast the history of the band in a whole new light. It goes against the reverence with which Bon is spoken and celebrated within the band. You see Bon Scott's vision at their concerts. He is sort of held up as a demigod in the AC/DC pantheon and Mark's story goes against all of that.

Dow:What have you heard about the upcoming album recorded this past spring in Vancouver?

Fink: I've heard great things about the new record. I spoke with a person very close to the band who heard the final mixes and he said it was as good as 'Black Ice' (2008) or even better.

Dow: There seems to be a long rock tradition of band brother problems. I'm thinking of The Kinks, The Black Crowes and Oasis. How would you describe the relationship among the Young brothers?

Fink: They get along for the most part, but they're not afraid of a scrap. They have fairly combustible kind of personalities. Their drive and determination has taken them to the top. Along the way they've come to blows, but I think age has softened that a bit. They're certainly confronted with a different situation in regards to Malcolm.

Oldest brother George is playing a fairly significant role behind the scenes at the moment. I have a quote from a member of Albert Productions which was AC/DC's label in Australia. He said, effectively, 'George is the Chairman of the Board' regarding AC/DC activity and is still very much involved in the business affairs. Early on, George was in the studio writing with the guys, and I wouldn't be surprised if his involvement becomes more public now.

Dow: In regards to the upcoming AC/DC tour to support 'Rock Or Bust,' do you think it will be their last?

Fink: In my personal opinion - yes. I expect it to be the last tour. Phil Rudd (drummer) just released the first solo album from any member of AC/DC ('Head Job' was issued on Aug. 29). I'm hearing stories that Brian (Johnson lead singer) and Cliff (Williams bass) have been working together on something. Maybe they're already to all go in different directions. We might finally see Angus cut a jazz or blues album. I'm told on very reliable authority that he can play amazingly well in different styles of music.

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