BLOG: Piss Off Glastonbury, AC/DC are OURS!

So, UK bookmakers William Hill have installed AC/DC as joint second favourites (alongside Muse) to headline 2015's Glastonbury Festival. In truth, rumours that the Aussie rock behemoths could close the festival had been swirling around long before the final riffs of Seek and Destroy brought Metallica's summer 2014 headline set at Worthy Farm to a close, but with Malcolm Young's enforced exit from 'DC surely signalling the beginning of the end for the iconic rock legends, the notion that AC/DC might say goodbye with a final bow at the UK's most prestigious festival has only gathered strength. And there's no doubt that such a show would be spectacular, a farewell party to end them all, and a genuine moment in musical history. It would, undoubtedly, be an event to underline 'DC's status as one of the greatest rock 'n' roll bands of all time.

But here’s the thing: Glastonbury can fuck right off.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should confess to not being the most rational human being when it comes to AC/DC. ‘DC were the band that changed my life, from the moment I heard It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) on a badly worn copy of High Voltage borrowed from a local library at age 13. Twenty-odd years later I booked an AC/DC tribute band (the fabulous Dirty DC, since you didn’t ask) to play my wedding. Some years later, when I was in charge of a certain weekly rock and metal magazine (the one that put Angus Young on the cover of its very first issue in 1981) I insisted that Angus was the only possible choice to receive the magazine’s first ever Legend award. I saw ‘DC six times on the Black Ice tour, and might possibly have shed a mini, manly tear on at least one of these occasions. You get the idea.

And I’ve been to Worthy Farm. It’s shit. Even with all the drugs. All that stuff about Glastonbury being a mystical, magical, spiritual place full of love and healing vibes? That’s all balls. That’s country people laughing at you big city folk, royally taking the piss even as they trouser fistfuls of fivers for massaging your Third Eye, or re-adjusting your chakras or hoovering your yoni or whatever other hippy-dippy nonsense you mugs fall for. It’s just a field, just another festival. Which is fine, Michael Eavis has as much right to put on a gig as anyone else, but really, these days Glastonbury isn’t even really about the music anymore: it’s An Event, An Experience, A Destination On A Journey of Middle Class Self-Realisation. Which is why tickets for the event go on sale before a single act on the bill has been announced and sell out in seconds. Excellent marketing, and a promoter’s dream, but let’s not kid ourselves. There’ll be AC/DC fans at Glastonbury 2015, of course, but they won’t be there for AC/DC: the band’s presence would merely be the icing on the (hash) cake of what has become just another Great British Weekend.

Metallica at Glastonbury made sense for one simple reason: because Lars Ulrich wanted it to. Since The Black Album established Metallica as The Biggest Metal Band In The World (not an opinion, a statement of fact based on global album sales), Lars Ulrich has spent the past two decades ticking boxes on his personal bucket list. Lars wants a Metallica feature film? Lars gets a Metallica feature film. Lars wants an art-project to delight his ultra-hip, actress-and-model squiring Hollywood buddies? Lars gets Lulu. Lars wants to follow in his hero Bono’s dinky footsteps by trudging through cow shit in Somerset? Of course he does. Of course he does.

AC/DC are different. From day one, the only people who AC/DC have cared about pleasing are AC/DC. Those trinkets and baubles and accolades and credible reviews other bands crave, Legend awards included? The computer has not yet been invented to calculate the number of fucks that Angus and Malcolm Young do not give. AC/DC do not need a coronation, they do not need a victory lap, they don’t care if Fearne Cotton and Jo Whiley and Zane Lowe want to flick themselves into a sodden orgasmic mess in the BBC’s bespoke hill-top platform as For Those About To Rock echoes off Glastonbury Tor. They’re better than that.

So here’s a suggestion: how about Glastonbury takes Muse and Fleetwood Mac and U2, and oh, Cliff Richard, say, and AC/DC park their jumbo jet in an airport rather further north? How about they cheerfully thrust two fingers at cultural tourists, and Curious of Kent, and a BBC audience in the millions, and roll up to Glasgow’s Hampden Park, and rock the city Angus and Malcolm left as kids instead? For the diehards that were teased for decades for liking this ‘neanderthal’ band, for the problem children that get mocked for having that iconic logo painted on their schoolbags, for Bon and for Malcolm and for us, not ‘them’.

For one last time, There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’. Do the right thing boys.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.