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Let there be rock: Bon Fest want Bon Scott musical brought to Scotland

By Kirsty Topping


Bon Fest organisers would love to see the musical brought to Bon Scott’s hometown

MORE than 30 years after his death, a musical based on the life of AC/DC’s frontman could be on its way to Scotland.

Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be – The Bon Scott Story opened in Melbourne, Australia last week and organisers of a festival held annually in his hometown hope it will feature in next years’ line up.

The musical charts the rocker’s life from his early years in Kirriemuir through to his global stardom as part of rock group AC/DC.

Graham Galloway, chairman of DD8 music, a not-for-profit music organisation which stages Bon Fest every summer, said the show could feature in their plans for next year.

“I think the musical is a fantastic idea, I can see how Bon’s life would lend itself to the idea of a stage show similar to We Will Rock You,’ said Graham.

“We might have to investigate and see if we can get it to Kirriemuir. We’re just trying to figure out what we’re going to do for next year’s Bon Fest, and something like that sounds great.”

Graham added:

“It shows how strong his legacy is across the world.

“We’ve been running Bon Fest for five years now and it’s sold out for the last two years. Great music stands the test of time and people come from all over the world.

“I don’t know about the logistics of bringing it across the world but it would be fantastic to do a one-off show in Kirriemuir. “

Kevin Smith, drummer with leading Bon Scott tribute band Bon Balls, was also enthusiastic about the prospect of bringing the musical to Kirriemuir.

He said:

“It would be fantastic to bring it to Scotland. It should be in Scotland, it’s Bon Scott’s home.

“It’s just sad that he’s bigger in death than he was when he was alive.’The lead role in the musical is taken by Nick Barker, a singer-songwriter and long-time fan of the band.

Bon Scott would have been 65 this year

He said: “The impact that AC/DC had on me as a teenager was huge. Even growing up as a musician I spent a lot of my time playing in pubs and AC/DC was the benchmark.“Bon Scott is an Australian icon as much as Ned Kelly. We’re doing his show with the humility and truth that it deserves. We don’t have a lot of icons like him in this country.

He was a real rebel.”Bon Scott – real name Ronald Belford Scott – was born in Forfar and grew up in Kirriemuir where his parents ran a bakery.

The family emigrated to Freemantle in Western Australia when he was six and he acquired the nickname Bon as he was the

“Bonnie Scot.”

In 1974 Bon joined Glasgow-born brothers Angus andMalcolmYoung in AC/DC, replacing Dave Evans

He maintained a love of his birth country, sometimes wearing a Scotland top on stage and playing bagpipes, an instrument he learned from his father Chick.

In a nod to their use on the track It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll) the musical features a procession of pipers, mixed with live performances of early AC/DC songs.

The musical is the brainchild of Andrew Barker, who has also written a musical about the life of Johnny Cash and is narrated by a singer who used to support Scott’s former band, The Valentines, Doug Parkinson.

Bon’s ashes were scattered in Freemantle, Australia. His memorial is a shrine for fans from across the globe.

Scott died in 1980 at the age of 33, just months after recording the Highway To Hell album.

After a night of heavy drinking in London he fell asleep in a car and his lifeless body was discovered curled around the gearstick the next morning.

The coroner recorded the cause of death as

“acute alcohol poisoning.”

Rather than quitting the band decided replace Bon with Brian Johnson, lead singer of Geordie, whose singing had previously impressed Scott.

The band’s next album, Back in Black, went on to become the second biggest selling album after Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

AC/DC have sold more than 150 million records worldwide during their 35-year career. An exhibition about AC/DC will be held in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum this September.


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