Bon Scott, the late AC/DC singer who fronted the band from 1974 to 1980, vents about financial struggles, hard drinking and the band’s grueling tour schedule in a handwritten August 1978 letter headed to auction. The note, addressed to Valerie Dalli, his girlfriend at the time, is set to start at a $6,000 bid and will be sold January 31st via Nate D. Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles, California.
Scott wrote the letter during a stop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the U.S. tour promoting their fifth LP, Powerage. He details the Australian hard rock band’s whirlwind live run – including a spot on the TV show The Midnight Special and recording the live LP If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It) – and alludes to the mental health struggles of “Phil.” (While the note doesn’t specify “Phil”‘s last name, the band’s drummer at the time was Phil Rudd.)
“I’ve just come over from the west coast where I spent a couple of days in L.A. doing Midnight Special,” he writes. “I went to see Doug’s new band the other night playing a place called La Cantino El Paso which is down Long Beach & boy he had me in stitches. He’s playing really well & singing like a bird. Don’t know if he told you but I rang him a few weeks ago to see if he would fill in for Phillip for a while as Phil had a bit of a nervous breakdown & had to spend a lot of time with a shrink. It was really bad but luckily he got over it quickly enough not to upset the band. We had to treat him with kid gloves for a bit but he’s ok now.”
The singer apologizes for being “pretty slack when it comes to letters & phone calls,” admitting, “I’m always travelling or drunk or hungover or…or…today I’m shaking so much I can hardly write.” He also reveals he had to stop making calls “when I got too much in the red with the money situation,” adding, “I’m already about $130 into this weeks wages but about two weeks ago I owed the band about $70 on pay day & that’s crazy.”
“But being crazy is about the only way to keep my sanity if you know what I mean,” continues Scott, who fronted AC/DC for six studio albums and one live LP before his death in February 1980. “We’ve worked so much since I saw you last that it’s all one hell of a blur. Must have been across the country & up & down it a million times & I’m beggining [sic] to feel & look just a little haggard. I’d love to check myself in to a sanitarium for a month but after this tour it’s straight to Europe & England for a month & then back here for the winter-end of the year so the next time you see me it might be in a geriatric ward. My hair looks like a busby but I’m just going to let it go on growing & be a hippy again for a while.”
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Scott acknowledges that he’s happy, despite the hardships. “I’m not complaining cause there’s always good times & we’re selling lots of records & making people happy so it can’t be all that bad. I’m going to go home to Mums at the end of the year & spend a month on the beach before tearing into it all again. Oh we finished our live album a few weeks ago in New York. I had to re-record about five concerts cause the vocals were not as good sound wise as the[y] had to be from all the michrophone [sic] spill from the guitars & things. I was allright (ahem) it sounds great & it’ll look good hanging on the Xmas trees.”
Additional information about the letter is available at the Nate D. Sanders website.