Despite the fact I am blogging about my experiences with the above AC/DC album Blow Up Your Video, this entry is actually about my discovery of this band and its stellar catalog. I picked Blow Up Your Video, not for its weaker link among the chain of AC/DC albums (true), but because it was my first vinyl AC/DC record owned. And of course, there is actually a story to that. So here goes a whole lotta rosie… I mean nothing.
I did not get into AC/DC until I met Jennie and Carol. Jennie is my other best friend. She is the yin to Heidi’s yang. She is the polar opposite. Heidi and I have so many things in common it’s downright frightening; whereas Jen and I are so different it works in a different dynamic. Not all of us are lucky enough to have two best friends in life; I am blessed to be one who does.
Anyway, Jen and I started hanging out in earnest in 1988. That’s the same year that Blow Up Your Video was released. I didn’t meet Carol and Don, Jen’s mom and her stepfather, until 1990. That was the start of some crazy times, right there. I used to go out there and stay a day/night here or there in Blue Island whenever I could manage a day off. How Carol, Jen, and Don managed to introduce me to so many great bands during those visits, as well as the joys of innumerable Cheez-It’s, coffee by the potful, and fried bologna, as well as Beggar’s Pizza, are times that will never be forgotten, and they helped shape my love of heavy music, in ways that are hard to express in a blog post, but I am going to attempt to do so.
Carol was a rock n’ roller. Seriously, the first 40 year old mom I had met who listened to rock music- the louder, the better. She was a huge Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, and AC/DC fan. One weekend while we were discussing “Prince Chucky” and how he was a royal ass to Diana (Carol was great to talk about English history with, and she is to blame for my obsession with Russian history), she popped another record onto the player, and blasted it. I had no idea what this “Hell’s Bells“ song was, but the driving guitar riff, the rhythm of that bass guitar, and that voice, instantly got me. Who did that amazing voice belong to? My first introduction to AC/DC was that song. I still tell people that’s why I am a bigger Brian Johnson fan than Bon Scott (RIP, Bon, no disrespect, you ruled). Regardless, I was hooked. Carol was stunned that I had not heard AC/DC in full, so out came every album. Jen buried her head in the couch and said “Mom, not Mouse too.” (PS- Mouse was Carol and Don’s nickname for me). Jen was terrified Carol was about to induct me into the AC/DC army. And indeed, she did. As much as Jen loved AC/DC, she had grown up with it. Every day. Every year. Her first year of Catholic school, she got expelled because she was walking down the hall and was overheard singing “working double time on the seduction line.” True story, made better by the fact that she had no idea what it meant. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall in the principal’s office for Carol having to explain that one. Anyway, I got a little off track there. Jen was heartily sick of AC/DC by the time Carol inducted me into the Hall. The match was lit for me.
Jen and I were at Beautiful Day in Lagrange one day and I was at a loss as to what to get on vinyl. I was still going through my heavy metal/classic rock phase, so I was looking for that genre of music instead of my usual 80’s new wave stuff. I found Blow Up Your Video, and since AC/DC was my newfound love, I had to have it. Jen winced and tried, to no avail, to talk me into buying the Accept album that was placed behind AC/DC. Let’s talk about that argument- I was, and still am, highly influenced by the cover of a book, or the cover of an album. There was no way that awesome Angus Young bursting through a television was going to NOT win over the cover of Accept’s “Balls To The Wall”. No way was the awesome Mr. Young going to be put back into that bin for an album cover which featured a hairy Danish man’s ball sack, clad in leather underwear. I did not listen, and while I was glad to have my first AC/DC on vinyl, I was instantly regretful that it was not a different album.
At this blogging post, we make a point of telling the good, the bad, and the even worse. This would go into that category- the even worse. I did not care for this album much at all. With the exception of “That’s the Way I Wanna Rock N’ Roll“, “Heatseeker”, and “Meanstreak” (which I was inexplicably obsessed with forever. Now I listen and cringe), I did not care a whit for this AC/DC album. As per usual with me, that didn’t keep me from playing it over and over, in the fervent hope that it would grow on me like fruit fungus, and I would enjoy it.
I still own it, and it’s in pretty decent shape. Likely, because I did not and do not, play it that much. I remember telling Carol several years before she passed that the album never quite did it for me. She didn’t look disappointed; in fact, she agreed that it wasn’t their strongest card in the deck. She did, however, advise me to not let one album of not-so-great deter you from listening to new product from them. I think she would be proud that I am still a card-carrying AC/DC fanatic to this day.