Salon.com Interview with Susan Masino

Susan Masino, author of AC/DC FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the World’s True Rock ‘N’ Roll Band, recently sat down for an awesome interview with Jamie Blaine!

SIMPLE IS BEST: THE SECRET OF

AC/DC’S SUCCESS — A CONVERSATION WITH BIOGRAPHER SUSAN MASINO

AC/DC biographer Susan Masino, also a longtime band friend, is perhaps the only writer to enjoy the honor of an actual shout-out in one of the band’s early tunes. (See below.) If that doesn’t give a biographer cred, nothing does.

Masino’s Let There Be Rock: The Story of AC/DC is the band’s definitive biography, but there’s always more to tell with AC/DC. Her stellar, brand new AC/DC FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the World’s True Rock ‘N’ Roll Band is jam-packed with even more stories, behind-the-scenes hi-jinx, and tasty bits from the band’s long way to the top. We caught up with Masino to get her take on the secret of AC/DC’s forty-years-and-counting success.

The Weeklings: Dirty Deeds is my favorite AC/DC record. What’s yours?

Susan Masino: Mine is Powerage for several reasons, aside from how brilliant all the songs are. I was in constant contact with Barry Taylor (roadie for the band), while they were in the studio. I actually mailed them copies of the interview I did with them prior December (1977), when they played in Milwaukee, WI. My friend Barry kept bringing up the fact that he “helped” Bon with some of the lyrics. I thought that was nice, but it wasn’t until much later that I realized Bon used my name in the song, “Down Payment Blues.”

The Weeklings: Whoa! You’re Suzy baby?

Susan Masino: Well, I’d like to think I was one of them. I’m sure Bon knew other Suzys, but he also liked to tease Barry about his affection toward me. If he was referring to me, that is the most awesome thing an AC/DC fan can achieve, along with making it onto the Jumbo Tron when they played Milwaukee in 2010.

The Weeklings: You go back with the band over thirty years. Give us a quick primer to your history with AC/DC.

Susan Masino: I was lucky enough to meet AC/DC on the first leg of their first U.S. It was August 16, 1977, and I was writing for a local paper here in Madison, WI. I was sent to the club to help out the promoter, and fell in love with the band. I became friends with Barry and he wrote and called me every week for the next three years. He left the band in 1980, right before Bon’s death, and I stayed in touch with the band over the past 38 years, seeing them on tour and writing two books about them.

The Weeklings: Some lumped AC/DC in as punk when they first began and you mention that Bon might have been influential to the early punk movement.

Susan Masino: I know during their first tour of the UK, the Sex Pistols were on their way up and the band claimed that once they (the Pistols) saw AC/DC, they started dressing like Bon with the cut off denim jackets. AC/DC hated being called a punk band, and didn’t care for the music themselves at all.

The Weeklings: Is there any band that AC/DC didn’t blow off the stage?

Susan Masino: Absolutely not! To be fair, when they were opening for bands like Aerosmith, UFO, and Cheap Trick, I chose to stay backstage after the band was done playing. Once you saw AC/DC live, you were good.

Read the rest of the interview here!

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Listen: Susan Masino on WXRX with Stone & Double T

Susan Masino, author of AC/DC FAQ, talks with Stone and Double T if WXRX about AC/DC and her new book!

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00120817AC/DC FAQ spans AC/DC’s 40-year career, starting from the band’s inception in 1973. This book covers everything form their early days in Australia to their first tour of England and the United States. It also includes personal experiences, stories, conversations, and interviews by author Susan Masino, who has known the band since 1977.

Featuring 37 chapters, AC/DC FAQ chronicles the personal history of each of the band members, all their albums, tours, and various anecdotes. Rebounding from the tragic loss of their singer Bon Scott in 1980, AC/DC hired Brian Johnson and went on to record Back in Black, which is now one of the top five biggest-selling albums in music history. Taking a seven-year break after their album Stiff Upper Lip, the band came back in the fall of 2008 with a new album, Black Ice, and a tour that ran from 2008 through the summer of 2010. Once again breaking records, AC/DC saw the Black Ice Tour become the second-highest grossing tour in history. True rockers from the very beginning, AC/DC will continue to be heralded as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time.

 

Happy Birthday, Angus Young!

Angus Young turns 60 today, and — not coincidentally — today is the official pub date of the latest addition to the Backbeat Books FAQ series: AC/DC FAQ by Susan Masino.  Here’s a tribute to Angus from Susan, who first met AC/DC nearly forty years ago and remains today the biggest fan of “the world’s true rock ‘n’ roll band!”

00120817AC/DC’s diminutive schoolboy guitar player, Angus Young, turns 60 years old today, a milestone birthday for anyone, but, as Angus proved to the world with his performance on the Grammys this year, in his case at least, 60 must be the new 40.

Blazing through the single, “Rock or Bust,” from their new album of the same name, AC/DC flawlessly segued into their classic hit, “Highway To Hell,” with everyone from Katy Perry and Paul McCartney to Blake Shelton and Lady Gaga singing along. Some sporting glowing devil horns, no less!

Joining his big brother Malcolm’s band over 41 years ago, Angus used to run home from class and take off for band rehearsal still dressed in his schoolboy outfit. After trying several wardrobe options in the seventies, the band settled on jeans and black t-shirts, but Angus kept his schoolboy uniform and, armed with his trusty Gibson SG, magically became a force to be reckoned with.

Recording a brand new album in the spring of this year, appearing live on the Grammys for the first time ever, and launching a European summer tour, AC/DC showsno signs of slowing down. When they hit the United Kingdom for the first time back in 1976, a journalist marveled at Angus’ unbridled ability to play his guitar, never missing a note, while in perpetual motion. The writer remarked that seeing the then 21-year-old Angus maintain that pace once he turned 25 would be something to see. What an understatement that was!

It brings to mind one of my all-time favorite Angus Young quotes. Asked back in 1990, after turning 35, if he was getting too old to rock and roll, Angus quickly shot back, “The name’s Young, always has been, always will be.” With that sentiment in mind, I’d like to wish Angus Young the happiest of birthdays, filled with high octane rock and roll. It’s the only kind of music AC/DC will ever play, which will continue to be celebrated by millions of fans for many more birthdays to come.

 

 

 

Now Available from Backbeat Books: AC/DC FAQ!

AC/DC FAQ spans AC/DC’s 40-year career, starting from the band’s inception in 1973. This book covers everything from their early days in Australia to their first tour of England and the United States. It also includes personal experiences, stories, conversations, and interviews by author Susan Masino, who has known the band since 1977.

Featuring 37 chapters, AC/DC FAQ chronicles the personal history of each of the band members, all their albums, tours, and various anecdotes. Rebounding from the tragic loss of their singer Bon Scott in 1980, AC/DC hired Brian Johnson and went on to record Back in Black, which is now one of the top five biggest-selling albums in music history. Taking a seven-year break after their album Stiff Upper Lip, the band came back in the fall of 2008 with a new album,Black Ice, and a tour that ran from 2008 through the summer of 2010. Once again breaking records, AC/DC saw the Black Ice Tour become the second-highest-grossing tour in history. True rockers from the very beginning, AC/DC will continue to be heralded as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time.

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Happy Birthday, Hank III!

Shelton Hank Williams, also known as Hank III, is 41 today! We’re celebrating with an excerpt from Susan Masino’s Family Tradition – Three Generations of Hank Williams.

Hank III signed with Curb Records in 1999, and his debut solo album, Risin’ Outlaw, spawned acidic tunes like “Trashville” and “Dick in Dixie.” Definitely not your run-of-the-mill country. This was Hank III’s country, and when he attempted to name his next record This Ain’t Country, Curb refused to release it and stopped him from issuing it on another label, the situation resulting in Hank III’s “Fuck Curb” campaign. Attitude goes a long way in the Williams family, and Hank III sold T-shirts with “Fuck Curb” emblazoned on them at all his shows. After he won in court, he came to an agreement with Curb Records and dropped his campaign.

To keep busy during his legal battles with his record label, Hank III switched to bass guitar and played in the band Superjoint Ritual with Pantera’s former lead singer, Phil Anselmo. Working with Anselmo was a dream come true for Hank III. He said, “Oh, it was awesome, just the energy of the show. He was a hero – I was workin’ for one of my heroes. So it was a great opportunity. I’ll never forget it, I gave it my all. I approached every show like it was the last. It was full-on being part of that. It went by pretty quick.

“Hats off to him for showing me all the behind-the-scenes at Ozzfest [the annual summer rock tour that was created by Sharon Osbourne to feature her husband, Ozzy]. The rock bands that I met out there. Philip is definitely one of the most interesting guys I’ve ever been around. There will never be another Philip Anselmo. It’s just kind of strange when you get to meet your heroes like that. It was a big deal for me, and in the country world and the rock world, I try to gather a little bit of their wisdom. What they have to say about it.”

Joe Fazzio, the drummer from Superjoint Ritual, toured with Hank III and played on his second album for Curb, Lovesick, Broke and Driftin’, which was released in 2002. One of the reviews declared that Hank III was “one of the few living saviors of country music.”

Two years later, Curb again refused to release his next collection of songs, called Thrown Out of the Bar, and Hank III went back to court, this time winning the right to release the album, retitled Straight to Hell. It was issued in two formats on Curb’s new rock label, Bruc. One was a censored version for sale at Wal-Mart, and the uncensored version was the first country album on a major label to have a Parental Advisory warning. One of the album’s songs, “Pills I Took,” was written by Those Poor Bastards, a Wisconsin band that Hank III has embraced. Music lover and author Stephen King endorsed the new album by saying, “I no longer drink, but I love songs about boozing, and these are beauts. The Hank III album is called Straight to Hell, and I imagine the Nashville establishment wishes young Mr. Williams would go there, posthaste. Me, I hope he sticks around. This is the real country: hollow of eye, pale of face, and bursting with the rhythm of the damned.”

Covering three generations of Hank Williams, Family Tradition is both unique and vast in scope. Beginning in the present day with Hank III – who gave the author unprecedented access – and time-traveling across the years, this examines just what kind of rebel mojo inspired this crazed family of country music, from Hank Sr. – often regarded as one of the most influential of American musicians – to Hank Jr., to this year’s model, Hank III, who has somehow found a way to reconcile his legacy’s deep-rooted twang and high-lonesome sound with particularly searing strains of punk and heavy metal, launching an all-out war with traditional Nashville in the process.

Listen to Susan Masino live at Book Expo America on the BEA Podcast.

Susan Masino at the Country Music Hall of Fame

Guest Blogger: Susan Masino is the author of Family Tradition: Three Generations of Hank Williams (Backbeat Books)

Read an excerpt of the book

Listen to interview with Susan Masino at Book Expo America 2011

Backbeat Books | Amazon | BN.com

Little did I imagine that when I flew to Nashville back in July of 2009 to do research for my book, Family Tradition-Three Generations of Hank Williams, that I would be returning two years later to do a book signing at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. When I visited there in 2009, I was overwhelmed by all the amazing items that the Family Tradition Exhibit had on display. Featured were personal items of Hank Sr.’s including several of his stage costumes, his Bible, and the simple leather suitcase that was in the backseat of the car with him on the night he died. There were also dozens of personal items belonging to Audrey Williams, Hank Jr. and Hank III.

When my book was released in May 2011, I went to the BookExpo in New York City to do a book signing and several interviews. During my interview on NPR News, I was joined over the phone by Michael McCall, the curator of the Family Tradition Exhibit. During our interview, he was so impressed with my knowledge of Hank Sr., that he invited me to come to Nashville to do a book signing at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Keep reading on Susan Masino’s blog…