Posted: January 13th, 2008
"I love seeing beers flying and drunks singing choruses to AC/DC songs."
Interview by Shea | Photos by Schmitty
They would totally argue otherwise (and maybe violently), but AC/DShe are way cooler than what AC/DC have become–though you can’t really blame legendary rock ’n’ roll pioneers for becoming old without sounding like a dick. So let’s just say that aside from millions of dollars in Australian accounts, AC/DShe currently have more going for them than AC/DC. They’ve got their youth, sharper hooks, better looks, fragrant roadies and a denim-clad she-demon of a singer who truly channels the spirit of the late, great Bon Scott. That’s right, AC/DShe aren’t some shit-ass cover act hired for your mom’s office party–they’re a block-busting, club-packing, brew swilling, rock and rolling tribute band to pre-Brian Johnson AC/DC. And if they ever come to your town, do yourself a favor and go see them by any means necessary. AC/DShe play (and look) like 1979 never ended. They’re like the hot stoner chicks that you were too afraid to talk to in high school even though you totally wanted to make out with them in the autoshop. But these chicks will rock your stupid face off and lead you up the golden pathway to Party Mountain. They don’t just play it, they live it.
Rock ’n’ roll-call! Who is in AC/DShe and what do they each bring to the table?
Bonny Scott: I bring you fine table manners and a case of Jack Daniels to accompany these extremely exquisite dishes.
Mallory: I’m Mallory Young and I bring Malcolm hair, a Gretsch and a beer holster.
Riff: Riff Williams here. I channel Cliff’s spirit with my incredible beer guzzling skills.
Agnes Young (aka Pamela Ausejo): Sheer volume, crazy jumps and dives! Oh and don’t forget my oxygen tank between songs.
Philomena: I am Phil Rudd’s cosmic clone, summoned by the rock gods when I got my first LP ever, Highway to Hell. Phil spoke to me–I was called upon to bang my head and sweat like a beast.
When did the band start and how did it come together?
Riff: Bonny and I started the band back in ’97 solely driven by our love for AC/DC. There have been a lot of trials and tribulations through the years trying to get it just right. And it’s still coming together because “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll).”
Bonny: That, and our mutual love of small, dirty yobbos.
Whose idea was it to only play Bon Scott era songs and why do you all prefer to not play anything after 1979?
Bonny: There’s no one else I’d rather be.
Riff: We love all AC/DC, but we chose to focus on the Bon Scott era because Bon is the epitome of cool and nobody in rock has or will ever come close to him. It’s our tribute to Bon. Agnes: Don’t know and didn’t ask because Bon Scott is the best!
What’s the difference between a tribute band and a cover band?
Riff: A tribute band’s ultimate goal is to be as close as possible in every way to the band of their admiration. A cover band is simply playing the music of other bands.
Philomena: Covers are casual, tribute’s a commitment.
Agnes: I believe a tribute band actually loves and has passion when they get together to pay tribute to a kick-ass group. A cover band is just that–it covers a tune.
While most tribute bands prefer to play shows with other tribute bands, you gals are known for getting non-tribute bands to open for you, which is totally rad since it gives local acts exposure to your huge audience. Who are some of your favorite bands that have supported AC/DShe? AC/DShe: Hightower, Ride the Blinds, Elegantly Wasted, Hot Lunch, Night After Night, Drunk Horse, Trigger Renegade, The Flakes, Slough Feg, and many many more...
What are some of the bigger bands AC/DShe has supported? Didn’t you get to open for KISS? What was that like?
Riff: Kick Ass! KISS, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, Girlschool, Joan Jett, umm Marilyn Manson. Highlights include hanging with Cheap Trick, Steven Tyler pulling Bonny’s hair, and eating ribs with The Nuge. We are so damn lucky.
Bonny: Adding to Riff’s list: Y&T, Dave Evans (first singer of AC/DC), Pat Benatar, B-52s… My faves were the Bon stories we got to hear from the Y&T and Cheap Trick guys–both bands toured with early AC/DC back in the day. Oh! and Steven Tyler pulling my hair, haha! Philomena: All of the bands we’ve gotten to play with have been awesome, but what really matters is that we will one day meet AC/DC.
Agnes: With all those bands Riff mentioned, absolutely the most amazing experience ever! I remember watching KISS for the first time when I was as a kid–I was driven in by the dark forces of their persona and Gene’s long tongue and all the blood. I was hooked!
Are any members of AC/DC aware of AC/DShe? Have any of you ever met any of them?
Bonny: They know about us and have been asked about us in the press. Plus we recently did an interview with Hustler the day before they were scheduled to interview Cliff Williams. We gave Hustler a shirt to give to him. They told us he was stoked and he has since been seen wearing it!
Mallory: Before I even knew these girls I pushed my way into the 2000 NYC filming of AC/DC’s “Stiff Upper Lip” video. The producers let me dance in the background and when they cut I just walked right over to Angus Young with a sharpie and a napkin. He was smoking a cigarette in the back of a truck wearing his school boy uniform, super cute, but I became numb and speechless. Literally it seemed like 10 minutes before I could muster the words, “So how are you doing?” to which he replied, “Ahhlright!” At some point a security guard picked me up by the shoulders and shoved me along. I’m pretty sure Cliff Williams winked at me on my way out from the fire escape, but who knows, maybe there was something in his eye. All I know is if I could travel back in time I would know EXACTLY what to say to those boys!
Riff: When we were in Holland we went to Angus’ house, but he wasn’t home. Rumor has it AC/DC are going to be touring next year and we’ll be there with them!
Philomena: Phil Rudd writes me love letters all the time. Once in a while I get a text message. We’re MySpace friends.
Is AC/DShe friends with Hell’s Belles or can we expect an onstage rumble in the future?
Riff: Depends how much whiskey we’ve had!
Philomena: I openly challenge the drummer of Hell’s Belles to an arm wrestling match...
What was it like playing Tony Trujillo’s Skater of the Year party back in 2002?
Mallory: That was like riding a unicorn through In-n-Out Burger–seriously. I was obsessed with Thrasher growing up so I was in skater heaven with a Nikki Sixx bonus.
Riff: TNT is dynamite!
Aside from musing on the dudes in early AC/DC, are there any female rockers of yore who inspire you as well?
AC/DShe: Girlschool, The Runaways, Suzi Quatro, Joan Jett, Tina Turner, The Ronettes, The Shangri-las, Wanda Jackson, Cindy Blackman, Maureen Tucker, The Dishrags, TNT, The Glamour Pussies, Squat, The Spider Cunts, The Trashwomen...
Does your merch guy wear a fragrance for men?
Philomena: Hoyt always smells like last night’s last call! The rockers make it rock, the roadies make it roll.
Mallory: He looks like a Mitchem Man with a hint of Marlboro!
Riff: He doesn’t need it. If we could bottle his pheromones we’d be rich.
What does an AC/DShe band rider look like boozewise? Do you ever ask for weird shit like M&Ms with all the green ones taken out?
Riff: Give us a case of Bud and a fifth of Maker’s Mark and we’re usually happy. And when we’re happy we just ask for more brew.
Agnes: Whenever I can get away with it I order Patron and some Heinekin!
Philomena: I appreciate cold beer delivery mid-set.
Where are some of the craziest places touring has taken your band?
Riff: Riding a unicorn through In-n-Out Burger, drunk on the floor, an AC/DC convention in Wales, getting kicked out of a strip club in Indiana…
Philomena: Hanging out with Ted Nugent at the Rib Fest in Indiana, then going to a three-story leather-daddy gay-disco (with Ted’s driver) was pretty bitchin’.
Agnes: Europe. The tour van had a back that seat that resembled a torture device! Then we arrived at the Royal Dutch Army Base, played a show, hung out with a gal who totally had the hots for us and a guy that’s name was Major Payne! Gotta love Holland for all the nonstop excitement!
Does AC/DShe have any recorded stuff available? Seems like your rad versions of AC/DC songs would make killer soundtracks for skate videos.
Riff: Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.
What’s the most challenging thing about playing in this band? Obviously there has to be some ardent AC/DC fans scrutinizing solos note for note Comic Book Guy-style.
Mallory: Trying to play open chords and drink beer simultaneously is always a challenge.
Riff: Staying sober.
Bonny: I don’t think there’s anyone out there who can really do Bon justice. All I do is try to keep my head above water–well bourbon in our case.
Philomena: Hitting the 16th notes on the hi-hat on “Let There Be Rock!”
Agnes: The most challenging yet fun thing is trying to find an outfit at moment’s notice when somehow I forgot it back at the studio. I find this rather entertaining as everyone else in the band is fuckin pulling their hair out. Luckily I usually follow a note for note style of playing for this band. I prefer it.
While auditioning members for this band did you happen to meet any kooks and weirdos on the way?
Mallory: Strangely they let me in the band anyway!
Riff: We had the freakiest chick audition for Angus. She showed up drunk and couldn’t play guitar. I’m not going to say too much because she might find us and kill us. And then there was Mallory...but we let her in because of her hair and her Harley tank top (that matched mine). Philomena: When AC/DShe wanted me to play drums for them, they pursued me like bitches in rock heat. There weren’t any auditions, they just came to the source. Me and Phil, we’re a lot alike. We have matching biceps.
Do you ever have to beat up any pervy creeps? Seems like girl bands can’t play shows without some dude occasionally blowing it.
Bonny: We had a guy get pulled out of a club in Folsom for jackin’ off in the balcony during our set. Our fans don’t take to kindly to that sorta thing and some of the nice fellers in the audience pulled him down the stairs, outside (pants still down, haha) and gave him a bit of an ass whoopin’!
Mallory: Like any bitchin’ fox on the run I had to file a police report to curb a very obnoxious online stalker. She (or he!) pretended to be Brian Johnson’s daughter and made up all sorts of stories about hanging out with me in my San Francisco mansion (ha!) with my enormous guitar collection (15+ guitars!).
Riff: We had a guy flash us driving down I-5. We tried to catch him to kick his ass, but our van wasn’t fast enough.
Philomena: Everyone loves AC/DC, pervy creeps love AC/DC too–bring ‘em on!
Agnes: Before or after the show?! Funny that you say that because the last show we had, some chick was trying to man handle our bass player, so this time it wasn’t a dude, but we had her set straight..she got a little too excited I think.
What’s your favorite place to play?
Riff: Maybe Hawaii, but Mallory and I don’t remember much about it. County fairs and biker rallies!
Philomena: Anywhere AC/DC fans get drunk and rowdy. I love seeing beers flying and drunks singing choruses to AC/DC songs. Warms my heart. We played this festival in Holland where crowds of people were swarming this huge tent, standing up on picnic tables, crowd surfing, going shitbag nuts, throwing beers at us, they got so worked up. The lighting was dim and smoke-hazey. It felt like we’d been transported to 1977. Agnes: That club in Belgium for my birthday one year where we had a surprise little Angus come up on stage via his dad’s shoulders and he had a guitar and the whole outfit! We let him play the solo to “Bad Boy Boogie” and Bonny lifted him up on her shoulders. That and the MGM Grand Arena with Aerosmith.
Since this is a skateboard magazine, have any of you ever skated or played any skateparks or have any good skate related stories?
Philomena: Yeah, I’m an old power slider from the ’80s! 11th Avenue run, dude! Fort Miley KEGS! Noe Valley Skate Rats! I had some shitty cracked deck with worse trucks that I’d bomb around on and fall off of, but I could power slide like a mofo.
Mallory: I built a launch ramp when I was 17 and ollied off my Honda into my mom’s geranium garden ’til my brother took his board back. Since then I’ve watched other people successfully skate while I drink beer.
Riff: We played a party for Osiris in Long Beach and a wasted Tony Alva got booted for fighting. That party ruled.
Agnes: I skated a lot when I was younger for sure and watched hot dudes skate the parks. There’s my story.
Got any shout outs? Shout it out loud!!!
Mallory: I’d like to shout out to the Sac Bros, the rowdiest mofos on the planet! We love you! Riff: Sacbroligious! Sacbrodacious! Sacbrohemian Rapshody! AC/DC 4-EVER. Long live Bon Scott!
Agnes: Thanks to all the crazy fans out there that are absolutely insane and make our shows that much more fun. Can someone buy me a wireless system so I can play guitar on Terry Sacbro’s shoulders ’til infinity? Killer! THANKS!
Philomena: Long live dirty rockers everywhere who believe in the power of rock. Let there be rock! P.S., we love you AC/DC.
Bonny: I’d like to give a shout out to AC/DC and to Animal Chin, wherever he may be...