"They were everything I wanted to hear at that moment. I fell in love with them": Kings X frontman Dug Pinnick on the moment he discovered AC/DC

Dug Pinnick and the cover of AC/DC's If You Want Blood You've Got It
(Image credit: Dug Pinnick: Rat Pack Records)

“I remember going into a music store where I lived in the late seventies, and there were two records there: AC/DC’s first album and The Police’s first album. I said to my friend: ‘What’s this AC/DC band? What are they like?’ And he said: ‘Oh they’re a punk band.’ So I bought the Police record instead. But right after that I saw AC/DC on [US music TV show] Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. They did Sin City and my jaw just dropped. They were everything I wanted to hear at that moment. I fell in love with them. 

“I remember getting the cassette of If You Want Blood when it came out. I put the cassette in and laid in my bed waiting for it start. The crowd noise is perfect, it just starts to build to this crescendo. Then ‘pow-pow-pow’, they go into Riff Raff and my brain is just getting pounded. I remember getting the chills. There’s so much power to their music, but so much emotion and nuance as well. They emphasise certain key things that give them a kind of hypnotic presence. 

“The thing about live albums back then was that they could be the only chance you got to experience these bands in that situation. Bands didn’t come around like they do now, and if they did we didn’t always know they were playing. There was no MTV or internet, so unless someone told you they were coming to town you wouldn’t have seen them. A live record made your dreams come true in a way. It let you imagine what was going on on stage, and feel the emotion that was happening in that room." 

“King’s X got to play with AC/DC in the early 1990s, and it was the most wonderful time. I felt like we’d stepped into a Rolls-Royce and were being driven around for four months. Those crowds were tough though. If they like you they like you, if they don’t they let you know about it. It was really brutal in Northern Germany – fifteen thousand people with their middle fingers in the air. 

"We’d finish a song and all you’d hear from the crowd would be: ‘Angus! Angus!’ like on the If You Want Blood album. So we’d start the next song and they’d just throw stuff at us: lighters, coins, toilet bowl cleaner… I have no idea where they got this shit. But then you’d look at these people who were giving us the hardest time, and they’d give you a little smile and a thumbs up. 

“The band were kind enough to take us out to dinner a couple of times, and we got to hang out with them a little. I remember one time, a couple of the AC/DC guys couldn’t make their sound-check, so me and Jerry [Gaskill, King’s X drummer] did their sound-check with Brian Johnson singing and a couple of their techs. We ended up playing a few old rock’n’roll tunes. 

“Brian used to tell a lot of jokes, and I could never understand what he was saying. I’d ask Angus: ‘What did he say?’ And Angus said: ‘Just laugh, we don’t know either.’ There was never a serious word that came out of their mouths.

Dave Everley

Dave Everley has been writing about and occasionally humming along to music since the early 90s. During that time, he has been Deputy Editor on Kerrang! and Classic Rock, Associate Editor on Q magazine and staff writer/tea boy on Raw, not necessarily in that order. He has written for Metal Hammer, Louder, Prog, the Observer, Select, Mojo, the Evening Standard and the totally legendary Ultrakill. He is still waiting for Billy Gibbons to send him a bottle of hot sauce he was promised several years ago.