A Certain Rock and Roll Band
Who would have thought that A/C D/C and B & C (Beany and Cecil that is) would have any connection at all?
Well they do.
Seems Angus and Malcolm Young saw Beany and Cecil on television as kids in their native Australia.
Angus Young, the lead guitar player in the English Schoolboy uniform, remembered it vividly.
In fact in 1976 when A/C D/C was preparing their first album to release in the United States, they titled it, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” The inspiration for this clever title was one of the Beany and Cecil cartoons where the villain Dishonest John flashed his business card and that line was printed on the card.
The Clampett family got wind of this history from several items that intersected in late 2008 and early 2009. Clampett’s son Rob read about the origins of “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap on Wickipedia as he was researching material during the production of Beany and Cecil The Special Edition Volume 2. Rob later came upon an audio tape of his dad Bob Clampett on the phone with an executive at Atlantic Records in 1976. The executive explained A/C D/C’s love of the Beany and Cecil cartoons and how they were interested to put the characters on the cover of the release that became, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” It was particularly funny to hear the elder Clampett’s pause when the executive replied to his question, “What type of music does the band play?” “Heavy Metal.” Clampett obviously didn’t ultimately approve the use of the characters and the band had to settle for people disguised by black bars across their eye area outside of a Hollywood motel.
Daughter Cheri had long been a big fan of A/C D/C. She first heard them live on the “For Those About To Rock” tour.” Cheri’s husband Victor is an avid guitar player. He happened to read an interview with Angus Young in Guitar Player Magazine where Young talked about Beany and Cecil as an inspiration.
The night of the final show at the Forum in December 2008, all three of Bob Clampett’s kids and their families were at an Xmas party in the old studio on Seward Street in Hollywood. This location was where the cartoons were originally made. The family no longer owns the building and were only there at the invitation of the new owners showing off their remodel of the space. One of the hosts wearing an A/C D/C T-shirt left the party early to go off to the concert. Rob commiserated about how he had wanted to include A/C D/C on Beany and Cecil The Special Edition Volume 2 but couldn’t reach the band. Cheri suddenly realized that a friend of hers had a connection to the band. Although it was too late for the Los Angeles show, the Clampett’s vowed to travel to see and meet the band no matter the distance. As it turned out A/C D/C rolled through town again only nine months later and this time it was at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
Angus and the band graciously invited the Clampett’s to their show.
Tickets and Earplugs.
In turn the Clampett’s brought an original Beany and Cecil Cartoon cell and a set of the DVD Volume 1 and 2. On the cell Dishonest John holds a bag that reads, “Dirty Deeds.” Cecil comes up behind D.J. holding a Granny Award. Considering the fact that the band had been shut out for so many years having never won a Grammy Award, the irreverence of the Beany and Cecil cartoons comes through loud and clear on that cell. Bob Clampett and his animators actually tease the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences by calling the award a Granny and giving the statue the appearance of Whistler’s mother.
Angus Young admired the cell and carefully looked at the DVD’s. It was a link to his childhood on display that evening. As he recounted his reaction to seeing D.J.’s business card the first time, it was no wonder he was inspired years later to use the phrase in one of their hit songs. He had indelible memories of the show and that character, Dishonest John. Angus even gave Cheri, Victor, Rob and his wife and son a few Nya ha ha’s! The Clampett’s were thrilled to get some photos with Angus including the shot seen here. On the way out the Clampett’s said goodbye to singer Brian Johnson and met bassist Cliff Williams and gave him a DVD.
Left to right: Rob Clampett, Victor Borda, Angus Young, Cheri Clampett Borda, Sean Clampett, Keiko Clampett.
A great time was had with A/C D/C.
Close up from the cell the Clampett family presented to Angus Young backstage at Honda Center.
A/C D/C’s show has locked in over time. Cheri remembered the cannons firing during T.N.T. from the “For Those About To Rock, We Salute You” tour. The giant Bell was used in conjunction with the song “Hells Bells” is featured in the video “No Bull” from Spain twelve years earlier. The big busted inflatable Rosie had been there a while. One of the new elements was the “Runaway Train” giant locomotive with devil horns crowding the stage.
A/C D/C has a great sense of theatricality exemplified by the aforementioned concert moments plus Angus being raised on the hydraulic lift as confetti streams out of a tube while he floats in the air all over the arena. There are a couple of terrific animated segments in the show. The first animated sequence that features a drawn version of Angus, two sexy gals and the runaway train gets the show off to a rousing start.
And then of course there is the straight ahead rock’n’roll guitar sound that A/C D/C made famous. A/C D/C’s sound is unmistakable. The music grabs you by the ears and doesn’t let go. In fact, it was a really good idea to bring earplugs (particularly for the loud explosions). At the end of the concert when the band finally left the stage for the last time, there was still this deafening roar from the crowd. Even without the layers of Brian’s voice, the instruments and the pyrotechnics.
On stage the band reflects many of the long held traditions of rock including a powerful beat from the rhythm section, a demonic sounding singer and a live wire of tasty licks for lead guitar. The most identifiable and iconic image of an A/C D/C concert takes place when Angus Young steps on stage in his English Schoolboy uniform, and plays like a demon in perpetual motion. The group always had a hook and the audience loves them for it.
The irony is that the end of the evening didn’t unfold at all like we thought it would. We were ushered into the hospitality suite and later learned that Angus wasn’t shlepping down to the hospitality suite. We were then led through the bowels of the building until finally after a few minute wait Angus graced us with his presence in a small lounge.
Angus’ appearance was akin to the climax of the Wizard of Oz. We had just seen Angus perform an extended solo in front of giant monitors.
The masterful solo.
He looked like he was thirty feet tall and without question an absolute master musician. Larger than life, Angus Young was a rock’n’roll god. The man that walked in to greet us was a quiet and polite man. Cheri recalled that when she met Michael Jackson just before he was accidently burned during the shoot for the Pepsi commercial, Jackson had that same duality. To meet him one on one Jackson was a very shy lilting flower. On stage Jackson was one of the greatest performers of our generation.
Angus had that interesting dual personality seen only in great performers. Joe Perry of Aerosmith once described how much Angus’ virtuosity impressed him. Aerosmith was on a tour with AC/DC. Perry got to watch Angus every night for several weeks. Perry said that it was jaw dropping how Angus Young never missed a note. Now away from the theatre lights he appeared much more the man pulling the levers behind the velvet curtain. It was fascinating to see that dichotomy of a performer that had 18,000 people in the palm of his hand for over two hours and then barely a half hour after the show looked like a regular guy you could share a beer with.
That is the funny thing about great performers, they bring it when it counts.
That voice for 29 years with the band.
Thank you to Angus Young, Cliff Williams, Brian Johnson, A/C D/C and tour manager Tim Brockman for a very special evening.