Interview with Susan Masino

A little while ago Susan Masino (long time AC/DC chronicler) and I had a chat about Bon, his lyrics and AC/DC. Hope you enjoy.


James: When I was working on Bad Boy Boogie, I read your book The Story of AC/DC-Let There Be Rock, how many books have you written now?

Susan: I have written six books so far-

Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy-My Life and Time with AC/DC, Van Halen, Kiss…
Famous WI Musicians-Foreword by Les Paul
The Story of AC/DC-Let There Be Rock-now in 11 languages
Family Tradition-Three Generations of Hank Williams
The Secrets of the Universe-Universal Laws, Past Lives and Ghost Adventures
AC/DC FAQ-All That’s Left to Know About the World’s True Rock and Roll Band-Foreword by Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
James: Wow.

And you write heaps of articles for magazines?

Susan: I have, but not as much in the past few years. I did write a blog for my publisher for their Back Wing website, and I also wrote the introduction to the debut issue of Overdose Magazine.

Interview with Jesse Fink

The more you find out about Jesse Fink, the more you discover he’s got his shit together. From an outsiders point of view, the release of his 2013 The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC appears to have lifted his standing in the non-fiction genre, but in my discussion with him it becomes clear he’s been at it for a fair while.

James: When you were a teenager, were you writing? If not, what did you get up to?

Jesse: In all honesty, my major preoccupation as a teenager, like most teenagers, was getting laid. I did writing at UTS in Sydney, which was rubbish and a complete waste of time. Far too focused on the theoretical/academic side of writing rather than the practical – like, how to get published; how to write a story that people want to read, etc. The best writing education I ever had was simply from reading great writers – people like David Lodge, Richard Russo, Christopher Koch – and I was fortunate that one of my first jobs was working at Gleebooks’ secondhand bookshop in Sydney. I read a lot of books while working there and spent virtually my entire weekly pay on books. But it was good for my soul and my writing.

James: Were you interested in running and/or soccer at the time?

Click here to read the full interview.



Interview with Michael Browning

In October 2014 Michael Browning published his memoir Dog Eat Dog: A story of survival, struggle and triumph by the man who put AC/DC on the world stage. The book is available here through the publisher Allen and Unwin.

I met Michael in 2013 when I was researching my book Bad Boy Boogie: The Adventures of Bon Scott.

Michael was generous with his time and I spoke with him recently about Dog Eat Dog.

James: Your book Dog Eat Dog came out in October 2014 – what was your main motivation for writing it?

I was getting hassled by relatives and friends to share my experience.

James: There was a rush of memoirs and AC/DC related books in the last few years – in your own experience, what made you decide ‘bugger it I’m going to put one out’? Do you think it was age that prompted people to record their experiences? Or did it have more to do with the resurgence of AC/DC popularity?

I was not particularly motivated by the ACDC books other than to more mindful of conveying the feeling of what it was like actually being there and less obsessed with facts and timelines. I conducted no interviews. My book was entirely from my memories. Not to say that the other ACDC related books ain’t good . Mostly they are but the authors also had a lot of smoke blown up their arses

James: Okay. You credit Jeff Apter in the acknowledgements section at the back of Dog Eat Dog – what was his involvement? Did the manuscript get to a stage where you needed someone’s help? Did the experience of writing put you off?

I sent my script to Jeff and he was great at making me go further. Sometimes I would assume the reader would understand what I was saying. But Jeff would make me spell it out. He is a great writer and talent and I was very fortunate to have him bring out the best of my writing

James: Your account is actually quite personal and touching, in a good way. Did you mean for this to happen? Or did you realize half-way thru that in order for the book to work you’d need to allow yourself to be vulnerable?

I felt that I had to put myself out there. I am now at a point in my life where I don’t give a shit. So the great thing about speaking the truth is, it sets you free.

James: Have you been able to find long lost friends through the release of Dog Eat Dog?

Not really. I was hoping to reconnect with Malcolm. Sadly this appears to be no longer possible. I loved everything about our relationship and always longed to reconnect with him.

James: Being separated from AC/DC meant you could apply your skills and use your contacts with other bands tho, right? INXS would’ve missed out on your experience?

It was important to my self belief, post AC/DC to achieve something positive. So I came back to Australia with a view to discover a band that could also do well internationally. I just happened to sign INXS. But I signed them to my label Deluxe Records. For the record I didn’t manage them, I was their record company. Chris Murphy, managed them and he did a great job at it.

James: In Dog Eat Dog you say you felt guilty for not serving in Vietnam, but perhaps AC/DC and INXS wouldn’t exist if you did. Do you ever feel you served your country in a different way?

No, I always felt that it was a useless war. But my best mate was a victim. So I felt guilty for not being at his side. I was never going to be there.

James: I see. Big difference. If you were twenty-odd today, would you get involved in music?

Yes absolutely, the live music scene that I was involved with has now be taken over by the Internet which is equally exciting. All the old business models have gone and the possibilities are endless. A big day of social media hits is now the equivalent of playing to a huge live audience.

James: Great – and thank you for your time Michael. Last question: after Dog Eat Dog was published was there anything you thought about that you wished you included? Any subjects you might have come at differently?




Photographic tour of Riverbank Detention Centre – where Bon Scott spent nine months.

In 1962/1963, aged 16, Bon Scott was sentenced to nine months at Riverbank Detention Centre. He was charged and convicted for stealing petrol, giving a false name and unlawful carnal knowledge. Below is a series of images from Riverbank in Caversham, Perth Western Australia.

For a google map of where this is, click here. Riverbank is the square courtyard building if you zoom in.

The entrance and admin building:


The central courtyard:



Entrance to cells:


The cell block corridor:


Inside a cell:



A prisoners drawing:


The dark cell block corridor:


The courtyard under croft:


Dining room entrance:


The kitchen:


Bathroom entrance:

IMG_0738 (1)





The metalwork shop entrance:



The recreation room:


The cricket nets:



You can read about Bon Scott’s experiences at Riverbank here.

Any questions or comments? Please write below.

Bad Boy Boogie: The Adventures of Bon Scott novel available


Hello. Please check out my first novel Bad Boy Boogie: The Adventures of Bon Scott. Click here

If you don’t have a kindle, don’t worry. You can download the kindle app on any device and read it from there. You can read on your smartphone or computer or tablet.

Bad Boy Boogie — The Adventures of Bon Scott is an historical fiction on the life of Bon Scott. Scott was the singer in the Australian band AC/DC. He was 33, in 1980, when he died. The novel intentionally blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction. By drawing on available literature and interviews with people who knew Scott, the novel develops a picture and chronology of his life. The chronology of the narrative is distorted for dramatic effect. Some of the characters are based on real people, and some are fabricated. The objective is to bring Scott to life. The hope is that readers will get a sense of the context and circumstances that brought about his choices.

The intended style of the novel is the picaresque form. The rogue protagonist, Bon Scott, works his way through life moving from one injustice to another. Scott meets most challenges with wit and humour. He is barely able to hold his job and often flirts with the boundaries of criminality. When it appears the main character has finally achieved his goal, once again something or someone conspires to restrict his advance.

The novel is separated into six chapters, covering the most important periods in his life. The first chapter follows Scott’s juvenile delinquent phase. He is sentenced to nine months in detention and discovers his desire to be a rock and roll singer. Chapter two sees Scott in the pop group the Valentines. In chapter three Scott is in Adelaide-based band Fraternity. The chapter ends with Scott crashing a motorcycle and ending up in hospital. Chapter four follows Scott’s involvement in the early days of the band AC/DC. Chapter five traces AC/DC’s rise to success. Chapter six and seven details Scott’s health decline and simultaneous rise to the top of the music world.

M Ward

The first time I listened to and watched M Ward play was by accident. Mid-June 2003. Milkless Fridge were meant to rehearse, but Loui couldn’t do it for I reason I have now forgotten. Low Barlow was in town and Neil and I had decided to go the Rosemount on the Wednesday night. Since the rehearsal had been cancelled we decided to go on the Tuesday instead, at the Swan Basement.

Another context needs explaining. At the time I was very unhappy. The woman who I had fallen I love with, and invested the entirety of my hope for true romance in, went overseas with the resounding statement: ‘I’m going to London, I don’t want you to come with me, but I want us to stay together.’ Was I foolish? Indeed. The sacrifice was made and I was sad pretty much every waking moment for the six months she went away.

Except for the 40 odd minutes this guy, who turned out to be M Ward, played sweet freedom.

I remember the tires on Neil’s car were completely bald. In the rain we slid all over the road, the colours of the streets lights blurring on the windscreen.

We when we arrived the Guinness we ordered was crap.

Anyway. A dude in a baseball cap is working his way around the small stage. Getting his harmonica ready, back up guitars, a tune-up here and there. Unannounced, he works his way up onto the stall at the front of the stage, brings his head up to the microphone, curls his cap above the microphone, drawing a screen of shadow across his eyes.

He hadn’t even started playing and the audience were silenced. No one knew who this guy was, let alone the songs.

From memory I think he played Transfiguration #1 first. Now, this might sound completely corny, but I don’t give a shit: I certainly felt some kind of transformation, some kind of weight lifting off of my shoulders. The entire set was a blur.

I can only remember three things: he played Sad, Sad Song. He told the audience that he has only been in town two days, and I yelled out asked if he liked it, to which he responded: ‘So far’ (now I know he was lying, given Paul’s Song). And I said hello to him afterwards and told him how it made me feel.

Burning Brides Interview 26/9/2003

Melanie representing Burning Brides
James representing Pelican Newspaper.

Introduction: Burning Brides are a band from Philadelphia who have recently attracted a lot of attention after tours with Queens of the Stone Age and Audioslave.
Speaking to Melanie from the Burning Brides was really fun. She is the bass player in band, but she is also down to earth, warm, funny and enthusiastic.

J: I’m speaking to you from Perth.
M: Oh excellent! Where is Perth?
J: Perth is the most isolated city in the world on the west coast of Australia.
M: Cool.
J: Did you ever imagine that you’d be talking to someone in Perth about your music?
M: No, especially not about my band, no. How fucking cool is that?
J: Pretty fuckin cool. Burning Brides are pretty unknown here, tell us about yourselves.
M: We’re pretty unknown throughout the world, so don’t feel bad. We’re a band from Philadelphia. We’ve been together for about three years. We put out our first record a couple of years ago, printed it up, put it in the back of our van, toured for a couple of years, signed to V2, who re-released it around the world, now here we are coming to Australia in November. more here