How well do you think you know your AC/DC singers? Of course there’s current vocalist Brian Johnson, who recently revealed he’s spent the last thirty years being burnt by cannon fire. Then there’s the long-told rumour that Jimmy Barnes was to front the Aussie rock legends following Bon Scott’s death, but did you know of pre-Scott singer Dave Evans?
Don’t worry if it doesn’t ring any (hell’s) bells, Evans himself has come forward saying that not too many people do and that he considers he’s being excluded from AC/DC’s history.
Speaking to Norwegian radio station NRK, Evans says “There would be no AC/DC without me,” claiming that he, alongside original drummer Colin Burgess, have been unfairly forgotten from the band’s early days as a struggling live act. “They try to pretend the first history of the band never existed,” he adds, “in most of the interviews it’s like Bon was there from the very beginning.”
The 58-year-old singer is currently on tour in Norway backed by his group, Barbed Wire, and first became a part of the AC/DC legacy nearly forty years ago when Evans answered a news listing from Malcolm Young advertising for a singer. Though only with the Young brothers for about a year before Bon Scott arrived, Evans was a key part of the band’s initial development. Including their first recorded single, “Baby Please Don’t Go”.
In 1974 Evans was booted from the band following an argument with then-manager Dennis Laughlin, who the singer insists was causing more harm than good. “The manager was ripping us off blind,” claims Evans. “Nothing has been proved, but we were starving while doing the best gigs in the country. We’ve got a hit record and we’re trying to pull money at table to buy a fucking hamburger – and at the same time he’s flying across the country, getting his hair permed, buying new clothes and all that stuff.”
Not only that but Laughlin, who was originally the lead singer for Sherbert, would ocassionally replace Evans when he was absent from gig commitments, but Evans his absenteeism was “bullshit” instead saying his voice gave in, “I couldn’t sing, I could hardly talk. But instead of cancelling a few shows, the manager… got up with the band and did those couple of gigs… and people walked out. It was crap.”
Eventually Evans was dismissed, along with several line-up changes, replaced by Bon Scott, going on to become one of the group’s biggest and most successful rock acts. But it’s a history that Evans claims forgets his early contribution.
Evans also says that he’s not the only one miffed by his omission from the history books, “It annoys me and it annoys the fans too… the fans really wanna know. So when they didn’t include [me] on the Family Jewels (DVD release of 2005), many fans saw that as spite and got disappointed in them,” says the singer. “It’s part of the history and everybody knows.”
Following his departure from the group, Evans replaced Greg Douglas as the new singer for Australian rock band Rabbit, who had five hit singles during his tenure; but never got a chance to perform with his former bandmates. “Unfortunately I never got to play on the same stage as them” remembers Evans, “I wanted to blow them off the stage – and we would have.”
Despite this, Evan is still satisfied with his role in the Australian rock legends, “AC/DC will always be my legacy. I can celebrate that I am one of the founding members, and I’m proud of that.”