- TUNNEL VISION: (THRU THE EYES OF A TRANSIT COP).
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I lost count years ago. There used to be a little shop on the corner there where I bought a couple of SGs. And one of them was great. Why did you decide to work with someone new? GW Most people tend to think of the second phase of your career beginning with Brian Johnson coming in on vocals and recording Back in Black. For the band, and especially myself and Malcolm, George had guided us since we were young.
He knew it was such a big deal for us to go into a studio and see how everything worked, and to see people playing guitars. So it was strange to be going into a studio without him. We were very cagey about working with anyone new. At one point we thought, Is there someone out there, other than George and Harry, who can really do justice to our music?
So we were pretty nervous. Maybe he thought that a piano was an interesting thing for a rock and roll band. But that was the wrong word to use around us. Too classical sounding! But as I said, there were some very extravagant things going on at that time. GW Mutt is one person in particular who is known for making extravagant records. And we wound up going ahead of even that.
We went in and did all the backing tracks in about 13 days or something. In fact, I think that was probably the quickest album we did with him. And because Mutt realized that we were a good band who could play their instruments he just let us go for it. The freedom was there. And we gave him freedom as well—we would try anything he asked of us. Mutt fit in really well with the band. It was a shame we never got back together with him after For Those About to Rock. GW After Highway to Hell your sound got considerably darker and heavier.
What do you think? In fact, I was never able to do it exactly the way he had it on that tape. GW Probably one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding the band is that there are demos of Bon singing Back in Black songs. He was actually supposed to come in that same week he died. The old-style ones, without those preamp things. I remember at the time that was the new thing Marshall was trying to push. Just for some extra warmth. Were they worked out beforehand?
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GW Malcolm, have you done any solos over the years? But when we got onstage it was just obvious that I should sit in the back and keep time, because Angus, as soon as he put on that school uniform, he started going all over the place.
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It evolved very naturally. And I loved it because I always enjoyed the rhythm side, just keeping it tight and getting the groove going. GW Since its release, Back in Black has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. Why do you think that album in particular connected with so many people?
At the time I suppose there was a lot of curiosity.
The fans were buying it because they were eager to see how it would be different from what they knew. And then the songs themselves were special. When we were in the studio we were thinking it could be our last record, so that was a big push. GW And over the years those songs have appealed to a much wider audience than just your typical rock fans. We had worked with Mutt for three records in a row and we felt that we knew what we wanted and how to get it. So we decided to have a go ourselves.
It was a slap in the face to everything that was going at that time. We decided to knock out 10 tracks and put it out there. Even the album cover was very stripped down.
Walk around the band, do whatever the fuck you want. We just want it done today. So that was a bit of an interesting period.
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And that set the standard for that album. Also, during the tour before that [ for the Blow Up Your Video record ], my drinking had gotten really out of hand. So I decided to take a little breather from the band, and that gave me a bit more time there to mess around with ideas. I started using some keyboards, just sampling the guitar into it for the sake of trying something different. It was interesting, but after that album I decided I was done with keyboards. GW You worked with Bruce Fairbairn on that record and have since worked with Rick Rubin, another well-respected producer.
In the end, though, you always return to your brother George. All he worried about was the snare drum.
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap | On 'Fargo' | Bright Wall/Dark Room
We would never go back to him. We thought he was a phony, to be honest! But George and Harry are real rock and rollers. They just want to record good music. And George is great because he has a lot of experience.
He grasps new things instantly. He always manages to pull something new out of you, and I love that about him. We had to really twist his arm to do Stiff Upper Lip. Because the poor guy has spent most of his life in studios. GW Is it a big honor for you guys? Although initially angry, Walter accepts this.