AC/DC rock star Brian Johnson tells all in autobiography
08:33 06 September 2010
When legendary AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson was asked to write his autobiography, he decided to concentrate on the auto more than the biography.
The result is an automotive autobiography that tells the ups, down and roundabouts of his life through the cars that he has loved and lost (sometimes in a blaze of glory).
Johnson, from Dunston in Gateshead, joined the band - the biggest selling in history no less - in 1980 and has been the leader of the pack ever since. He has just returned from their latest sell-out world tour, which saw them playing their first UK gigs for eight years, to begin a tour of a very different kind - a literary one.
His book, Rockers And Rollers (9.99, Michael Joseph), might not win him any high-falutin prizes but it is sure to win many heartfelt plaudits from other incurable, certifiable petrolheads, of which there are many (otherwise Top Gear wouldnt be streamed into our homes 24 hours a day, seven days a week).
This surprisingly joyful jaunt begins with Johnson as a young boy growing up in Tyneside with little more than an old steering wheel and his imagination. It then takes us through cramped teenage fumbles in an old Mini to grubby groupie action in hygienically-challenged tour vans. Andends in chauffeur-driven, leather-trimmed limos and slick racing cars.
It is, in the main, a no-holds-barred rollercoaster ride of sex, drugs, rock and rollers, but Johnson does occasionally let us get a glimpse of the man behind the mayhem.
My father seemed to know that I was destined for something other than working down a mine, but he was a tough, hard man and couldnt show his affection, said Johnson in a chapter entitled My Dad and Mam in which his father gives him a 1959 Ford Popular.
The car was nothing to most men. To me it was freedom. To him it was all he had and it was all his love.
This is a rare poignant moment in an otherwise bawdy collection of tales providing an often hilarious Spinal Tap-style account of life in a rock and roll band from the point of view of a complete car nut given the keys to some of the best motors in the world.
It is also a love story, a paean even, to raw, petrol-guzzling, automotive power at a time when many peoples thoughts are turning to greener alternatives.
We are one of the last generations to drive cars, real cars, said Johnson. We are the ones who could watch cars and motorcycles racing against each other and not feel like criminals. We are the ones who could get speeding fines and impress girls with our cars.
Someone picking up my journal - my exercise in fun and self-indulgence - in 2050 might be being transported in God knows what, some grass-powered hybrid. We have been among the lucky generations.
And thats why every new car, every turn of the ignition key, is a new baby to me. Its what mans made out of nature. Its rock n roll.