Who was the first guitarist who blew you away?
Chuck Berry. There was a lot of rock & roll in our house, from Little Richard to Chuck, then the Beatles and the Stones. Chuck’s chops were bigger than the songs. He was the first with a guitar signature.
You’ve always played a Gibson SG. Was there a magical feeling the first time you picked one up?
Pretty much. I always liked the double cutaway. It looked like two horns. It’s like a red devil. So I went to the guitar shop, saw an SG that was sitting there looking rather lonely and said, “Hey, that’s for me.”
How did you establish yourself as AC/DC’s lead-guitar player?
Kind of by accident. Malcolm also used to do solo stuff. Then he said to me, “It gets in the way of my drinkin’ arm.”
What can the guitar do that no other instrument can?
The guitar can go at a scream. It can yell at you. It can be a bitch sometimes, too [laughs]. You have to talk nicely to them.
Did you sleep with your SG?
I put it next to my bed. If I heard a noise at night I’d think there was a burglar sneaking around; the first thing I’d do was check on my guitar.
Did you name the guitar?
If it was happening, I’d call it the Heavenly Beast. If it wasn’t happening, I’d usually call it Asshole.