San Francisco band Yesterday & Today (later Y&T) joined AC/DC for a string of shows in the midst of a blisteringly hot Texas summer in July 1978. They were booked by local promoter Jack Orbin, who organised AC/DC’s first Texas shows in 1977.
‘Jack took us under his wing and booked us many times throughout Texas,’ says lead singer and guitarist Dave Meniketti. ‘We had become quite popular, much to our shock, because of a DJ on KMAC/KISS FM, Joe Anthony, who played us religiously. He basically "broke" us in that part of Texas. Jack saw the popularity of the band because of the radio play and started to book us around Texas for quite a few years.’
‘That tour in Texas with AC/DC was a very special,’ adds their late rhythm guitarist Joey Alves, who passed away in early 2017. ‘I had been a fan of the band from the beginning so naturally I was excited to be a part of it. I was instantly impressed by their strong performance each night.
‘Summertime in Texas is very hot but the heat never slowed down AC/DC’s intense show. Towards the end of each show Angus Young would go out into the audience on top Bon's shoulders playing his heart out on his guitar. Needless to say the crowds loved it.
‘AC/DC was a big influence on Yesterday & Today, especially with their live sound that they got each night. It was bigger than all the others and we had played with most. I would go so far as to study Malcolm's and Angus's amp settings. Dave and I would stand in the back of the arenas during their sound checks just to see what we could learn. And we learned a lot.’
‘Bon's death was a total shock to us. While we knew he was a hard partying kind of guy that lived life full with gusto, I don't think we ever gave it a thought as to how it could lead to his demise.'
– Dave Meniketti
What did Yesterday & Today observe of the dynamic between AC/DC’s rhythm guitarist and strongman leader, Malcolm Young and its hard-living lead singer, Bon?
‘We were so young and impressionable at the time that I don’t think any of us observed interactions between the members as it pertained to Bon and Malcolm,’ says Meniketti. ‘If we did, I don’t remember anything going down. Just the partying part and the band performances, outside of a few other things that we observed about the road manager trying to gather all the DC guys after the shows. You know, typical stuff that happens on the road.
‘But years later when we toured for two months with AC/DC on the For Those About To Rock tour in the UK and Europe, there was no question we saw the presence of Malcolm in his band environment. It was put to us by our manager that Malcolm was the guy you didn’t want to piss off or we would be off the tour immediately. When the guys would invite us into their room after their performances, sitting down to talk and eat their after show meals (on that two-month tour), we could really get a sense of the band dynamic. It was sort of obvious to us that Malcolm seemed to rule the day.'
As for Bon, he left an impression even if the memories are fading.
‘I just wish I had the presence of mind to really pay attention and remember more things about him as he was hanging with us,’ says Meniketti. ‘Time has eroded much of the details, as we were so young and it all happened so fast in a three-day span that it sort of became a bit of a blur to me. Our heads were in the clouds as we started our career and this just seemed to happen in a flash.
‘His death was a total shock to all of us. While we knew he was a hard partying kind of guy that lived life with full gusto, I don't think we ever gave it a thought as to how it could lead to his demise. We were somewhat used to guys around us that partied like there was no tomorrow, so he was not completely unusual to us. When you're young and crazy you feel invincible. But I can say without hesitation that his awesome gritty voice, unusual swagger on stage, and fun partying kind of personality off stage, made him an instant legend amongst our band members and crew.’
BON: THE LAST HIGHWAY: THE UNTOLD STORY OF BON SCOTT AND AC/DC'S BACK IN BLACK is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and hundreds of other retailers. Just click the title above (in red).
Jesse Fink is the author of Bon: The Last Highway: The Untold Story of Bon Scott and AC/DC's Back In Black and The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC. For more information about Bon, click HERE or click the book covers below to be directed to editions in your preferred territory and language.