Dave Evans is one of the original founding members of AC/DC along with Angus and Malcolm Young, Colin Burgess and Larry Van Kriedt. He was the lead vocalist of the band for a year before being replaced by Bon Scott around October 1974. During his time with AC/DC, Dave Evans recorded one single, “Can I Sit Next To You, Girl” / “Rocking In The Parlour“, which was released in Australia and New Zealand on 22nd July 1974.
After AC/DC, Dave Evans joined Newcastle band Rabbit, releasing 6 singles and 2 albums between 1975 and 1977. He has since released 3 solo albums: “A Hell Of A Night” recorded live on the 20th anniversary of Bon Scott’s death in 2000 with AC/DC tribute band Thunderstruck, studio album “Sinner” recorded in 2006 and more recently “Judgement Day” in 2010.
TBFM’s Mucka Jay chatted to Dave Evans over Skype ahead of his brand new EP release “Nothing To Prove“, due out on 3rd March 2014.
So let’s chat about what’s going on in the world of Dave Evans. It’s been 4 years since you released the album “Judgement Day” and you’re back now with a 4 track EP called “Nothing To Prove…
Well last year I also released an album with John Nitzinger which I recorded in Texas, an album called “Revenge”. It’s had brilliant reviews all around the world, quite a lot of 5 star reviews, one 10 out of 10 review which you can’t get better than that. John’s a former Alice Cooper guitarist and also a Texas rock blues legend. So that album was finished recording early last year and released last year. The new EP that’s coming up, “Nothing To Prove”, was recorded at the end of my England and Wales tour last year for Rocksector Records in the UK there, and that’s about to be released March 3rd.
Is the first track off the EP, “Put Up Or Shut Up” aimed at anyone in particular?
Well it’s for all of us really because everybody’s got detractors, everybody’s got back stabbers it’s just a fact of life. Everybody’s got haters, every single one of us, and most stuff that gets spread about people is not the truth. In fact, it’s a huge problem at the moment with the internet, Facebook and Twitter and that kind of thing. People are spreading all kinds of rumours and there have been kids indeed who have committed suicide over this kind of thing so it’s a serious problem! Me, I get them, everybody gets them, so I say ‘I ain’t gonna turn the other cheek no more, it’s about time to stand up and tell people to put up or shut up’. We’ve all had enough of this crap from people and as I say it’s a badass attitude and I want all my friends and my badass mates out there to stand up for themselves coz most of these people as you know are cowards and once you stand up to them… like I did at school, the bullies, stood up to them, gave em a hiding and never got any problems from them again.
And then you became the king of all baddasses!
Well that’s what Texas called me when I was living over there. They’ve had their share of badasses as you know, Texas, I guess it’s just my attitude in a good way you know, its all positive. You dont take any crap from people and be straight with everyone else around you.
So this is a song lots of people can relate to in their own life…
Absolutely, you and I too I bet. You know, everyone that listens to it goes ‘yeah’ you know, reminds them of somebody sometime, either now or in the past and as I say these days with the internet… you see it on Facebook, some of the crap you see on there, some terrible things that people are saying about each other for the public, the whole world to see. It causes a lot of strife and problems, most of these people as you know are just cowards and they’re just haters you know. They are just usually people who are losers themselves, jealous of you, or your friends or me or whoever and as I said its about time to weed these people out.
Let’s talk about the cover, “Baby Please Don’t Go”. It’s been covered by some absolutely amazing artists: Bob Dylan, The Doors, Aerosmith, Budgie, UK Subs and of course AC/DC. Why did you decide to cover this track in particular?
That was suggested by Rocksector Records coz I’ve been touring there in Britain for quite a few years now, year after year, and of course you’ve seen it Mucka, it’s an absolute killer! I did it originally with AC/DC and it was one of our show stoppers way back then. That’s when I got Angus (Young) on my shoulders and used to do it with him there and of course you know Bon Scott copied that and Brian (Johnson)’s copied that too. That’s when I used to do the question and answer thing with the guitar, I’d sing and Angus would do the answer on my shoulders and I’ve been doing it ever since, for many many years, I still do it as you know. I was about to record it with AC/DC when I split with the band. Bon Scott, he used to come and see us, he was a big fan of the band and he loved that one especially, you know especially with Angus on my shoulders. He ended up recording it fairly faithfully to the way I did it originally with the band. I’ve got quite a few different live performances out there on Youtube with “Baby Please Don’t Go” but this was the first time really I had a chance to get into the studio and get it down as a studio track with the other boys, the UK Badasses, who are a great band as you know. You’ve seen them many occasions and it was just a great privilege to work with the boys and just put it down. And of course the other three tracks are all originals.
On the “Judgement Day” album you covered “House Of The Rising Sun” by The Animals. How important do you feel it is to cover a song on a release?
“The House Of The Rising Sun” is the song that was made famous and popular by The Animals but nobody actually knows who actually wrote it in the first place! It’s an old, old song and so anybody that does their own version of that song gets the writing royalties. When I did that particular album, “Judgement Day”, the producer asked me to pick a song that wasn’t one of mine to do and of course if you’re going to do a song that somebody else has recorded or written then make sure you make it your own, don’t just do a copy! I’ve been doing that song since my very first band in the 60s, and I love that song, it means a lot to me, and it’s another one of those songs that brings the house down when I do my version of it. So it was easy to pick a song, I just went, ‘House of the rising sun!’ and he went, ‘Ah, but you know, everybody’s done that one’. I said ‘Yeah, but not the way I do it!’. We were in the studio so he said ‘OK do it for me’ and so one of the boys had an acoustic guitar, I went into the booth, put the headphones on, and just did it live and blew it out and he just went ‘Yeah, you’re right, we gotta do that one!’. So that’s how it came to be on the album. As I say, if you’re going to do a song that’s not yours, make sure you nail it and own it, own the song, and I love that song.
Could you name a top 3 songs that you would cover from any genre at all?
Gosh, erm, I’d like to do Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, I like that song. There’s a couple around, I guess some of the songs from The Kinks, some of the 60s bands had some really great songs. ‘You Really Got Me’ but thats been done by Van Halen of course. But yeah some of their songs are just great songs.
Now you’ve got a 4 track EP coming out, are you planning a full album sometime soon?
I’m not sure. Rocksector did say they’d put out the 4 track first up and maybe look to do a full album so that’s up to them, I’m just behold to what they think. I wrote the 3 original tracks in collaboration with Chris Appleton, one of my guitarists in the UK Badasses. He’s also the lead singer and guitarist for English metal band Absolva. I wrote in collaboration with Chris and he sort of put a bit of a metal feel to my hard Aussie rock sound, so that was interesting and great to work with and also to record in England. Like I said, I worked with John Nitzinger in the USA, in Texas, and put my style with his Texas rock blues, so this time it’s sort of matching my style with English metal. It’s been a great experience and I really enjoyed it.
I hear you’re planning another UK tour in 2014?
I’ll be going Europe hopefully late April; I’ll be there probably May and June. In June, I’ve only got a very short tour apparently in the UK this time. Rocksector said I’ll only have about a week which is sort of disappointing really especially with the CD coming out and the great reviews. I mean the reviews I’ve had already Mucka have been over the top! I’ve been so, so rapt with them. We’ll just see, I think they’re planning to try and extend it into July as well. I hope so coz I’m gonna be in Europe at that time. I’m in the USA for August for a month, then for the first time I’ll be touring in Brazil, Argentina and Chile in September and October. I’ve had two of my albums released there on Hellion Records, my “Sinner” album and “Judgement Day” has just been released last year in South America. So I’ll be heading there which I’m really looking forward to, then back in Australia at the end of the year to tour Australia and New Zealand so it’s a pretty busy year coming up for me, and maybe I’ll get a chance to do some more recording too.
What is it like working with different backing bands in each country compared to one dedicated band?
It’s great, I really enjoy it. The boys always look forward to me either coming back to work with them or in the South American situation I’ve got a brand new lot of boys there, the South American Badasses, who are all fired up and keen and they’re into my music, already learning it for the tour there. I guess with the musicians I work with, it’s great to renew great friendships and that kind of thing. Keeps the music fresh and exciting and I get to work with lots of great musicians all around the world so for me it’s very rewarding.
Does your overall sound come out differently with each backing band, you know with each country’s ‘Badasses’ that you use?
Slightly different. It depends on the strengths of the musicians I use. The UK Badasses are strong, very strong all over and of course the guitar work you know, I’ve had two top guitarists with the last line up, Chris Appleton and Chris Needham, are both fantastic guitarists competing with each other in a friendly way, they grew up together anyway those boys. And the Norwegian boys that I work with, Barbed Wire, their rhythm section is really powerful! Really powerful rhythm section, really boots out there so slightly different sound but they play the music faithfully. It’s slightly different but the message is exactly the same with each band I work with and the songs are exactly the same as well, and I’m the same!
A couple of AC/DC related questions for you now. TBFM spearheaded a campaign to get AC/DC to number 1 at Christmas with Highway To Hell. It got to number 4, the bands highest ever UK chart position throughout their career. Why do think it’s so hard for rock bands to chart high in the UK?
I dont know to tell you the truth about in the UK, but I know that rock is virtually dead in America. The major radios over there, they’re catering to rap, hip-hop and dance music. They’ve ignored rock for 20 years or more, since the 90’s, a long long time and that’s unfortunate, but people love rock. If they’re not getting it on radio, they’re not getting it on MTV this kind of thing, they dont get it. They have to get it from their parents you know. The major labels have got a monopoly with the radio stations so whatever they produce gets played. And Australia’s followed suit pretty much and so Rock, it’s still pretty big in Europe as you probably know, a lot of metal stuff really, but it’s just that the major labels in America are just not signing rock bands and the bands like AC/DC and some of the other bands that have been around a long time they’ve got a big fan base still, huge fan base so they can still tour without radio airplay really and they still draw massive crowds. AC/DC for instance have got 3 generations of people who love the music so they’re healthy doing it that way. Bon Jovi’s another band that can tour in America, anywhere, and still bring in huge crowds, they’ve got a huge fan base. But yeah, Rock is being ignored by the major labels unfortunately.
Yeah it’s a sad state of affairs when a band of AC/DC’s calibre only just get a top ten, forty years on.
Well I don’t think AC/DC worry too much about it mate. They’re the biggest band in the world all over the world. I’ve been all over the world as you know touring, and even the smallest villages in the middle of nowhere, anywhere, there’s kids walking around with AC/DC t-shirts on so it doesn’t affect them at all, they dont care if they get airplay or not. They can bring out any record they like right now and they’ll sell millions and millions of records all around the world without the help of the radio stations.
Say AC/DC are looking at touring again. If the opportunity arose to come and join them and celebrate 40 years of rock, would you?
Of course I would. I’m one of the original founding members of the band you know. That would be fantastic. I don’t know whether they will tour or not really, and I know that Malcolm (Young)’s not feeling too well at the moment but I hope he gets out of that. They’ve got to be healthy to tour. It would be great for the fans of course if they could tour but I’ve got my doubts on that. But yeah course I’d love to get up there with the boys. I’m sure Colin Burgess, the original drummer; he’d like to get up too. There’s only 5 men on this planet who are the original founding members of AC/DC and the 5 of us are still alive and rockin’. I’m sure Larry Van Kriedt, the original bass player who lives in England, I’m sure he’d love to get up there too so it’s a celebration of the whole band from when we first started in 1973 to now.
Thanks for chatting to us Dave, looking forward to seeing you in the UK in the summer!
Looking forward to getting back and seeing you too. I class you as a mate and you know I’m from Wales originally so the UK is my former home and it’ll always be my home anyway you know that. I’ll see you when I’m back there mate.