It’s tough to think of a stage outfit as immediately recognizable as that of AC/DC guitarist Angus Young. Watching someone play a killer party riff is cool, but watching them do so dressed as a schoolboy lends a certain gleeful mischief to the whole picture. Now, in a recently-unearthed, never-before-published interview, late AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young reveals the origin of his brother’s signature look.
The 2003 interview comes from Amazon Prime’s Coda Collection, which hosts documentaries and concert films. In it, interviewer Greg Kot asks Malcolm how he began playing alongside his brother, and how Angus’ world-famous get-up came about.
“It just happened at one point when I was putting together a band,” explains Malcolm. “We were going to get a keyboard player, but I got Angus instead (laughs). Angus had his own band, a little rock outfit, but they just packed it in. He told me they were finished, and I said, ‘Come down tomorrow and have a bash.’ We were going to play rock ‘n’ roll, it was simple as that.”
“He hadn’t come into his stage act yet. George [Young, Malcolm and Angus’ producer and brother] and my sister helped him a lot with that. They said, ‘You gotta have a gimmick, Angus.’ They thought a good act always had something people could relate to…My sister said, ‘Why don’t you get your school uniform with the shorts?'”
“She knocked that up for him and this little guy became larger than life,” adds Malcolm. “Believe me, he can fire up. It’s not an act. He takes it on full. I don’t think anyone could become that intense method acting. That’s what people expect and he does it. Even I don’t know how he gets himself into that state.”
AC/DC’s latest album, Power Up, is out now on Columbia Records.
Words by Chris Krovatin