Sunday, August 15, 2010

The album cover that made me look up "obstreperousness"

One of my favorite examples of album packaging comes from my vinyl-collecting days in high school.
I loved gazing at the back cover of the American debut for AC/DC, "HIGH VOLTAGE."
I was reminded of the back cover yesterday, exploring the background to the album (a compilation of the band's first two Australian releases) while reading "AC/DC: MAXIMUM ROCK & ROLL" by Murray Engleheart and Arnaud Dureiux in preparation for my upcoming trip to SYDNEY.

The back cover consists of snapshots of the band members and (one hopes) fictitious letters concerning Bon Scott, Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd and Mark Evans.

I spent many a day looking over that cover and laughing, thinking: "What a great way to introduce America to this band from Down Under."

Here's what the letters said:

1. Dear Mark;

Thank you for your letter of the 24th. We are in full sympathy with your request, but unfortunately must refuse permission for you to perform at the Shakedown Club next month.The last time you were here, you will remember, you were not a member of AC/DC, but a member of the public and your behaviour caused no little concern among both patrons and staff. I understand your antics have only become worse.
Rocky Mungo, Manager
P.S.: The bouncer thanks you for the pansies you sent him. He should be out of hospital in another month or so.


2. Dear Mr. Rudd;

Enclosed please find the remains of the drum sticks you broke over my daughter's head last Friday. Or was it a billiard cue? She's still a little uncertain. My solicitors will be in touch with you concerning the charges I am filling [obscured by drum stick] you on her behalf.
Thomas Barton


3. Dear Bon;

My dad says that under your leather trousers there lurks something mean and terrible. I'm sure it's only a ["hard" is crossed out] heart of gold. My dad also says if he ever sees you face to face he will erase your tattoos by pulling off your arms. But don't worry, he's the Mayor of our town, so he won't do anything that will lose him votes.
Love, Helen XXX


4. Dear Mrs. Young;

I am writing to you yet again to complain about your sons' behaviour at school. All of their teachers have come to me with a range of complaints from abusive language to obscene gestures to obstreperousness verging on violence.
Malcolm is a certainly old enough to know that his constant humming is neither amusing nor impressive. The few times a day he puts pen to paper it turns out he is writing what appears to be poetry of some vile sort.
Angus does not stop eating chocolate bars and Smarties long enough to pay attention to his teachers and his work. His uniform is filthy, his knees are constantly bruised, his eyes blackened, his nose running.
Won't you please, Mrs. Young, have a talk with Malcolm and Angus to help us try to make them into responsible citizens.
Yours very sincerely,
R.K. Lanning, Headmaster