Original AC/DC Singer DAVE EVANS Says He Wasn’t Surprised To Hear About BON SCOTT’s Death: He Was An ‘Alcoholic’

Original AC/DC singer Dave Evans says that he was not surprised to hear about Bon Scott‘s death after a night of heavy drinking. The coroner’s report listed “acute alcohol poisoning” as Bon cause of death, the official finding “death by misadventure.”

Dave recorded AC/DC‘s first two singles, “Can I Sit Next To You Girl” and “Baby, Please Don’t Go”. But in October 1974, less than a year after AC/DC‘s first gig, Evans was out of the band. He was replaced by Scott, who sang on AC/DC‘s first six studio albums and became a legend himself after his death in 1980.

Evans discussed his time with AC/DC in a new interview with Brazil’s Guarda Volume podcast. Speaking about the way his time with the band ended, Dave said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “We were very young — we were all very, very young. And our ambitions were forever. I didn’t go, ‘Oh, I’m gonna be in a band.’ No. I had my whole career, my whole life to sing. I’ve been singing since I can remember. It ain’t gonna stop because of a band I was with, I split from. I was in bands before AC/DC, of course. I was with bands before AC/DC. I split. VELVET UNDERGROUND [not to be confused with Lou Reed‘s group] I was with, a top band. AC/DC, Okay, I kept going. RABBIT, my own career. I never thought about splitting or stopping to sing. It was just another band I was with, but a very successful band. We had a hit record, ‘Can I Sit Next To You Girl’ was named as the best Australian group record of the year. First up. Great. Fantastic. It was a hit record. And to have a young band, first record, against all the other bands in Australia, [named] the best Australian group record of the year. That was fantastic. But there were different reasons why I split from the band, mostly because I wasn’t getting paid any money.”

He continued: “The manager was the third manager at that time. We weren’t getting paid for the shows, and we were doing the biggest shows in Australia. The Sydney Opera House, the famous Sydney Opera House, Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, Festival Hall down in Melbourne, all the shows. Where’s the money? Show me the money. No money. We toured with Lou Reed from the USA. [We played] the biggest venues, sold out — all sold out. How about some money? No money. So in the end, I couldn’t stay with the band, because I was paying off my car in Sydney, paying my car off, my flat, and I’m working hard. So we had a bit of a meeting one night and had a few drinks and stuff. And the manager was there. And he was making money because he was getting money off the top. The rest of the money, I don’t know what happened to it. We didn’t have any. So, the manager, nice new permed hair, new jeans, bell bottom jeans, leather valise, flying around the country, us in trucks. He had the money. We had no money. So at, I said to him, ‘What’s happening here?’ I confronted him. We were all bitching about it. And he got up and smart-mouthed to me. So I got up and bang, knocked him down. And the other boys got me and pulled me off the manager. So it was decided that when that tour we were on finished that this had to be resolved. This had to be resolved. I said, ‘If I’m not getting paid, I am not gonna go on tour again.’ So I said, ‘I’m not going.’ Who would? I’m not stupid. So at the end of the tour, no resolution. They weren’t gonna give me what I wanted. So I split from the band. I said, ‘Well, that’s it.’ I said, ‘Okay. See you later.’ I wasn’t gonna take it.”

Elaborating on his reasons for walking away from AC/DC, Evans said: “It’s like any job. If you’re a carpenter or you’re a teacher or something, and they don’t pay you, what are you gonna do? ‘Oh, it’s okay.’ No. How are you gonna feed your children? No children for me, but if you had children, how would you feed your children? How would you pay your car off? You can’t. And you’re working hard. [AC/DC founders] Malcolm and Angus Young lived at home with their parents. They lived at home with their parents. They didn’t have to pay any money. I did. I had my apartment in Sydney, so I had to pay. Otherwise I was gonna lose it. My car, they’d come and take it away. But Malcolm and Angus, [they had] no car. And they lived at home with their parents. So it didn’t matter so much to them, but it mattered to me. And I wasn’t gonna take it. So I stood up for myself.”

Regarding the iconic singer who replaced him, Dave said: “Poor Bon Scott. Bon Scott joined the band and he went through a lot of crap too. And he ended up dead. He was working, working, working, working, working, working. And he was depressed, sad. He looked happy, ’cause he was drunk all the time. Bon Scott drank all the time. Alcoholic. You see photographs of Bon Scott, he’s always got a bottle or a drink all the time. Sad. Sad. But it killed him in the end. But he was going through a lot of hell, too, with the band.

“I spoke to Bon Scott after he joined [AC/DC],” Evans revealed. “We had a private conversation about things, which will remain private. And so when I found out what happened to Bon Scott, when I read about it, and I spoke to his wife about it too — I saw his wife who told me what happened and stuff — I wasn’t surprised. I was not surprised.”

Evans previously talked about his exit from AC/DC in a 2021 interview with DJ Grant from New Zealand’s Galaxy 107 FM. At the time, he said: “You’ve gotta remember that Bon Scott did a lot of the songs that I already did, like ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’, we already did that. That’s the song that I got Angus up on my shoulders, and, of course, he used to watch us doing our show, so he copied that. I understand that he copied what I was doing. And the songs too, and re-recorded them and re-wrote the lyrics to some of the songs that I had already put down. But he was told to do that. I know that he was under instructions to do this, so I don’t really hold it against Bon Scott for that, because when he joined the band, he was washed up at the time, and he got a great chance to do something, and he did too. He did a great job, but his lifestyle just let him down.”

Evans also talked about the enduring popularity of “Can I Sit Next To You Girl”, which was originally released as a single in July 1974 and featured drums by Colin Burgess and bass by George Young (older brother of AC/DC co-founders Malcolm and Angus Young).

“It’s one of those songs, I play it around the world — I still do, of course, every show I do — and people love the song,” he said. “And it’s amazing how many people say to me that’s their favorite AC/DC song. I can’t believe it. [AC/DC has] ‘T.N.T.’ and all those great songs, ‘Highway To Hell’ and all these other great songs, and fans come up to me and say that that’s their favorite song.”

Earlier in 2021, Dave was asked in an interview with The Rocker Diaries if he thought “that would be it” for AC/DC after Bon‘s death in 1980. He responded: “No, not at all. I mean, we all keep going. And AC/DC has had that many players through [the history of] the band. I don’t know how many. 20? And three singers, plus a stand-in singer as well.

“We were always ambitious when we first started,” he continued. “We always wanted to be the best in the world — all of us. And after me, Bon Scott got his chance. He did great with the band. And when he died, I just thought, ‘Who are they gonna get?’ I never thought [I would be approached about it] myself, because that’s water under the bridge. And I was busy with bands as well at the time, and doing my own music and recording. I was just wondering who it would be. I had heard of [Brian Johnson‘s pre-AC/DC band] GEORDIE — just the name GEORDIE. I’d never heard of Brian. And then Brian popped up and, of course, the ‘Back In Black’ album came out, which was a massive album around the world, and they were off and running with Brian. But if Brian quit, they’d get another singer, and another singer. [They’ve gone through] different bass players [and] different drummers.

“The drive was always Malcolm Young,” Dave added. “I remember Malcolm when I first met him. He was such a driving force. Just a tiny little guy — just a little touch over five foot tall — but, boy, he had a big heart and a big personality. And he was tough, too — Malcolm was very tough. And no matter what, he was AC/DC through and through. And, of course, once he passed away, which is very sad, AC/DC, of course, will never, ever be the same without Malcolm. How can it be?”

In May 2021, Evans released a new compilation album called “BADASS Greatest Hits”. The effort contains “20 massive hits on one album,” including Dave‘s version of “Rockin’ In The Parlour”, the song that originally appeared as the B-side of the “Can I Sit Next to You Girl” single.

In an interview with The Coda Collection, Malcolm reflected on how Bon fit in with AC/DC when he first joined the band as the replacement for Evans. “Bon basically took charge, to be honest,” the guitarist said. “He was older and he’d been around in another band. He was the man of experience. We’d written one or two songs, and he encouraged us to write more. He’d say, ‘I’ve got an idea about that motherfucking wife I’ve left: ‘She’s Got Balls’.’ We’d already written some tracks, but when he came in, we had the voice of experience. We kept our ears wide open. He pushed us a little further. The first singer [Dave Evans], people cheered when he left, so we could jam. He was so bad. Bon was in a week later. He had songs, ideas, motivation. He’s serious. We were happy to be with someone like that. We were just happy to be playing. He had bigger plans.”

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