What do the videos for AC/DC’s “Can I Sit Next To You, Girl?” and Rabbit’s “Lady La Di Da” have in common? Australian lead singer/frontman Dave Evans and High Voltage got a few minutes of his time.
Dave: Hello to the fans and lovers of rock music everywhere from DAVE EVANS aka KING OF ALL BADASSES!!!!
HV: Thanks for taking a minute to chat with us Dave. It seems most of your life you’ve been drawn to hard rock, when did you first discover that style? And when did you know it was going to become your career?
Dave: Music was always a major part of my childhood as my father sang at local concerts and we all listened to music and sang at home. In fact my little sister and I would sing as we walked the mile and a half to school and back every day; it made the long journey for our little legs pass more enjoyably.
My father didn’t have a television in the house until I was 15, so we listened to the radio or we played records and had to read and study at home. When I was 12 or 13, I started to discover other music rather than my father’s and soon I started saving my pocket money to buy The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, etc. much to my fathers great annoyance and chagrin as he detested rock music.
The music and social revolution of the sixties had begun and I, along with millions of young kids, was swept up in it. Eventually at the age of 16 I had a huge quarrel with my father for having long hair and was given an ultimatum – “Get my hair cut or piss off !!” I can still hear those words ringing in my ears after all this time. So, I left home the next afternoon. Life was hard but exciting and sometimes dangerous – I had to grow up in a hurry. It wasn’t too long before I was invited to join a rock band looking for a singer and it gave me a new purpose and gave me the outlet for my creativity and passion for performing the music I loved; and luckily the audiences approved of me.
Once a performer hears the applause and strangers come up, slap your back, and shake your hand it becomes an irresistible force. It just made me work harder and want to be more successful. My style of rock music is a powerfully emotional genre of music (the roots is the blues combined with classical music power chords). A musical feel from the sensitive to the maniacal and everything in between. It never stops.
HV: How’d you first get connected with AC/DC?
Dave: I had been the singer for VELVET UNDERGROUND, the Sydney [Australia] high profile cover band and we played a lot of Rolling Stones, Free, Rod Stewart, and Humble Pie covers. During my time with them they would sometimes speak of a former member, guitarist Malcolm Young, who had left shortly before I joined them along with their singer. They spoke highly of Malcolm and told me that he was the younger brother of the famous George Young of the famous 60s band, The Easybeats. When VELVET UNDERGROND split up, I answered an advertisement for a singer/frontman for a rock band that was into FREE, ROLLING STONES, etc and naturally I answered it. Malcolm Young was on the other end of the phone and he recognized my name straight away as he had kept in touch with my former bandmates. He told me that he and two other guys were jamming and looking for a singer to complete a new band and asked me to come over to an unused office building in Newtown, an inner suburb of Sydney, that afternoon to audition for them.
I arrived and met Malcolm, Colin Burgess and Larry Van Kriedt. Colin was famous as the drummer for the great Australian band, THE MASTER’S APPRENTICES, who had split but were huge. Larry was a friend of Malcolm’s. We jammed and it rocked. After a half dozen songs we had a break and I was asked to join as well. We shook hands and declared that we had a band.
At the next rehearsals Malcolm asked us if his younger brother, Angus, could also audition as his band, KENTUCKEE, had split up. Angus then came to jam with us and we agreed to let Angus join; and then we were five! Finally we decided on a name for the band – AC/DC – and went on to play the Sydney circuit, record songs for our first album, record a film clip for our first single, “CAN I SIT NEXT TO YOU, GIRL?” which was an instant hit for us. We then toured interstate with our single racing up the charts.
12 months past from our first meeting to my split with the band and at that time we were onto our third bass player and drummer and third manager. It was a hectic, exciting and volatile 12 months but AC/DC was now firmly established and destined for international greatness.
HV: After AC/DC, you fronted another group called Rabbit (a widely
overlooked band here in the states). What’s your favorite memory from
Dave: Being mobbed wherever we went and the wild parties after each show! There were so many great parties and a lot of them are a bit of a blur with everyone just having the time of their lives. I organized indoor tag wrestling matches with the band members at a couple of wild parties which included myself and the roadies while the crowd partied and cheered us on. Also there was the usual jumping from the balcony into the swimming pool during parties (we checked that it was the deep end
first) plus the girls!! As we used to say – “I’ll never forget whats-her-name!!”
HV: And what about getting mobbed? When did that first happen?
Dave: The first time it got really serious and dangerous with the crowd mobbing us was after we had become a national act and had just performed at a huge outdoor concert and had left the stage into the tour bus. The crowd converged and surrounded the bus which had the window blinds down so that no-one could see in. The crowd started to scream RABBIT, RABBIT and then proceeded to rock the bus as we would not come out. The crowd at the concert was estimated to be around 15,000. The bus was lurching and we were hanging on to whatever would keep us from falling over. At last the police arrived and escorted us to waiting cars where we were driven away to our hotel where a crowd also gathered but could not get in thankfully. This was the beginning of what Rabbit was to expect.
HV: What are you up to today?
Dave: After living in Munich, Germany and touring in Europe, I am currently based in Dallas, Texas with my backing band, The Badasses, and my album SINNER has only recently been released in the USA and Canada on DA Records. I have also just signed with a new management agency called Breakthrough Entertainmenat and they are working on a national US and Canada tour. I will be returning to Australia in February to perform at the unveiling ceremony of the Bon Scott statue in Fremantle, Western Australia as I previously performed there last February with the cream of Australia rock to raise the money for this historic project. Then I will be returning to the USA from a short break visiting family and friends.
HV: Do you have any words of wisdom for inspiring rock musicians?
Dave: Do it because you love it and never give up if success does not come in the short term.
HV: Good advice! And last but not least, what are your top five albums of all-time?
Dave: (1) Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band – the Beatles, (2) High Tide and Green Grass – the Rolling Stones, (3) Bad Company – Bad Company, (4) Deep Purple in Rock – Deep Purple, (5) The Babys – The Babys