Angus Young Still Suffers From Stage Fright
In a new interview with Guitar World, the last original member of the band recalled how his famous always-moving routine started out as a form of self-defense.
“That was the most frightened I’ve ever been onstage,” Young said of the moment in 1974 when he first appeared in his school uniform. "But thank God, I had no time to think. I just went straight out there. The crowd’s first reaction to the shorts and stuff was like a bunch of fish at feeding time – all mouths open. ... I had just one thing on my mind: I didn’t want to be a target for blokes throwing bottles. I thought if I stand still, I’m a target. So I never stopped moving. I reckoned if I stood still, I’d be dead.”
He recalled one show when he was so doubtful about performing that his late brother Malcolm had to “assist” in getting him onstage: “Suddenly I just felt a boot and I was on," Young noted. "And there’s this deathly silence. All you can do is play – and pray! You put your head down and hope a bottle doesn’t come your way. That became part of my stage act. I learnt to duck and keep moving.”
Asked if he still got nervous before performing, Young replied, “Sometimes it is frightening. But you’ve got to psych yourself up a bit, give yourself a good kick up the ass. Usually, once I’ve got the uniform on, I’m okay. I’m on edge, nervous, but I’m not in a panic.”
However, he went on to note that once he starts playing, it feels like he's on his “own little cloud. ... For me, the shows go so quick. You’re on and you’re off, and then you have to go back to how you are as a person. That’s the hard part, because once you go into being the Schoolboy, it’s pretty hard to come off it. I’m like two different people – sometimes three!
“I’ve been up there playing and thinking, What are those feet doing? I’m watching them to see which way they want to go. That’s all I ever do: follow the feet and the guitar. The duck-walk comes naturally.”
Young said it was still “the best feeling in the world.” “When I put the uniform on, and the legs start shaking," he said, "I’m ready.”