Savoy Books 
AC/DC: Hell Ain’t No
Bad Place To Be


Richard Bunton


b/w & colour illustrated

254mm x 178mm

Soft cover

First publication

Packaged to Omnibus Press


ISBN 0 7119 0061 2


  Before Bob Wise, head of Omnibus Press and Music Sales, appropriated all Savoy's large format rock titles for his company, we packaged our Nugent and AC/DC titles to his offices through International Times editor and William Burroughs archivist (and Savoy supporter) Barry Miles. 'Miles' was for many years the main editor at Omnibus, and author of a thousand 'In Their Own Words' rock biopics. Contains a hilarious chapter on the cultural origins of Angus Young's 'schoolboy' persona. Hell Ain't no Bad Place to Be is dedicated to Michael Moorcock, whose "...Condition of Muzak and other Jerry Cornelius novels offer a credible synthesis of Rock'n'Roll and fiction...", and Linda Steele, for her "...appreciation of the form...".



"Richard Bunton's AC/DC: Hell Ain't No Bad Place to Be. is difficult to judge. The author certainly captures the power and ferocity of the band, with plenty of interesting quotes; but he laces his text with obvious admiration for these hard drinkin', livin' and womanisin' men. "The toughest of the tough" is his proud description of the band at one point, and after a couple of chapters all but their most dedicated fans are liable to find his constant glorification of their more unsociable habits rather tedious.

AC/DC's original lead singer, Bon Scott, drank himself to death in 1980; and Bunton does tone down his admiration for this stunt, although the rest of the book makes one think that secretly he regards Scott's sordid death as all part of the attraction of the band's wild image. It might not seem fair to judge the biography of a rock group on their own image of themselves; but when that image is presented as something to be admired, then it's impossible to divorce the subject from its treatment. AC/DC fans will no doubt find what they want here, which is obviously the reason for the book in the first place."



"Before Men at Work, Icehouse, and Birthday Party, was AC/DC. Australia's 'revenge of the terrible schoolboys...'. But wait—having a high regard for HOT PRESS readers' intelligence—are they expected to take all this enfant terrible stuff seriously? I ask Bunton (a writer of sound credibility) if his book is on the level, or just to pay the bills? "It started out as a strict commercial commission" he admits, "but the more I got into it, the more I appreciated AC/DC, until now I consider them the logical successors to Led Zeppelin". And persevering on such recommendation, there are bits to sink hooks into memorabilia freaks. Of the six Glasgow born Young brothers who migrated Down-Under in 1963, George founded the Easybeats (for the classic 60s pin-up Friday on my Mind), John Paul charted some years later with the tedious smoocheroonie Love is in the Air, while Malcolm's guitar twinned with Angus' school-uniform, shorts and satchel founded AC/DC. From there it's a short step to conceding that For those about to Rock was a ludicrously enjoyable single, and if 1812 cannons are OK then why not Angus' juves-drag? 'Dennis the Menace with an electric dildo!'—Mini-Pops he ain't! And flicking through this lavish profusely illustrated biog it becomes clear that this is Bunton's argument. The best Rock has always been absurd, irreverent, exaggerated, irresponsible and over-the-top. If it's subversive it's only so in the sense that it uncages lascivious and monstrous energies that polite conformity does its best to screw down tight. "There is a compelling sexual fascination about the absurdity of corrupt innocence" he offers as token psychology.

It's a recent journalistic conceit to expect significant sociological messages in Rock. So, I guess, no, we're not expected to take it seriously, because being serious ain't the point. With that compass bearing Bunton dons school-cap and hammerdown prose for some 90 pages of breathless narrative snaring the high-voltage saga to rights; indoctrinates the text with lots of unpretty paedophile pics of gurning, mooning, sweating, guitar-hero, nasty retarded school-kid antics; and then tamps it down with full Discography (including bootlegs). I mean, I'd still take ten minutes of Cabaret Voltaire, Box, or UV Pop over every grotesquerie in their Heavy Metal catalogue, but that's probably just a journalistic conceit. And, as a cautionary note, there are still two more Young brothers to go..."


Main Book Page | Author Index | Book Covers Index | Title Index | Articles | The Revenant Zone | Links