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Angus And Malcolm Young: Classic Songwriters

Diamond Head's Brian Tatler explains why the songwriting partnership between Malcolm Young and brother Angus was peerless

The reason the Young brothers are so great is simple: they possess the awesome power of The Riff. When it comes to leaving air between the chords, there’s nobody better. The notes they leave out are just as important as the ones they play.

I first saw AC/DC playing Problem Child on The Old Grey Whistle Test, and then went to see them in 1977 on the Let There Be Rock tour. They’ve come up with so many fantastic, simple riffs. They do what they do so well, and so uniquely that the minute you stray onto their turf you end up sounding like AC/DC.

That having been said, Angus and Malcolm have definitely affected the way that Diamond Head write songs. It’s Electric [from DH’s first album] was directly influenced by the Youngs – it’s basic, stripped right down to the bare bones, but incredibly punchy and powerful. We made a concerted effort to include gaps between the chords and keep things choppy and exciting.

Like them, we do not over-produce our records. AC/DC just write their songs, play them in a room and record it live. That’s why it works so well on stage – they don’t have to recreate twenty different guitar overdubs to make it sound the same. As soon as the riff begins, you know it’s them.

This was published in Classic Rock issue 157.

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