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AC/DC- Electric Shock Double LP Bootleg (WLS Records, UK, 1980)

Today is the 30th anniversary of Bon Scott’s death. You can read more about AC/DC and me here and here and especially here.

One of my fave AC/DC bootlegs is “Electric Shock” (although side three tends to be a bit lengthy with its two versions of “Rocker”). It was one of the earliest AC/DC boots and although I don’t play these vinyl bootlegs too often these days, they have kept much of their mystical aura from when I was young. In like 1979, AC/DC got really popular with the release of “Highway to Hell” and you had a lot of kids wearing band shirts, patches, buttons. More often, you’d see handmade AC/DC logos  in the craziest colors everywhere where you could draw upon with a pen – school bags, shirts, jackets of all sorts and such, some drawn very accurately while others looked like coming from the trembling hands of a 9 years old spasmo (which in some cases was of a rather amusing diligency too). I too began to feel that certain drive in me which pushed me further into the lands of fandom: I didn’t want to be just another teenage music fan, that wasn’t enough for me. Even as a kid, I had always suspected others to be trendies in their life style and it beats me where this rigorousness came from. It was simply there and hunting and buying vinyl bootlegs was one of the marking points for becoming a “true fan” (I know, it sounds silly, but that’s how I remember it to be). The mullet heads, the rednecks and idiots would never buy a bootleg: The quality was too bad, the price to high and hell, it was just too much work to get one of these albums and maybe in the end, the music wasn’t that important at all.
Bootlegs were expensive and hard to find. Some shops were said to be legally pursued for selling bootlegs and whether it was a fact or not, only few of them would carry boots in stock. In some cases, you’d go up to the cashier and ask if they had bootlegs on sale and if you were a regular visitor, they’d eventually pull out a small box full of these plastic diamonds from under the table. It was like the clouds vanished from the sky and fanfares sounded. “May I?” was the key to the paradise and was it granted, you’d hastily flip thorough maybe two or three dozen bootleg LPs, most likely from big acts like Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple, but I also remember a pretty early Siouxsie & the Banshees LP (which I bought in 1982; I still have the receipt for it, haha) or a Damned live boot. And of course AC/DC pirate vinyl.
“Electric Shock” was one I did not find in a shop. There was this guy, maybe 10 years older than me, who had a reputation for being physically strong and thus playing a leading role in the scene. Guido, that’s his name, had taken me under his wing.  I often skipped school these days and sometimes, I’d walk the two or three miles down to the place where he lived. If he wasn’t home, I knew where the keys where hid. He had allowed me to enter his flat at any time and that’s what I sometimes did. I took a sip from a half empty whisky bottle, played a record, put the feet on the table and it just felt like heaven. It was a safe harbor: No parents, no teachers or cops and no bully boys. Some of the other older guys gave me a hard time, including his brother who you’d often see with a black eye which he carried like a medal. He scared the shit out of me, but I was of a fragile recklessness that made me endure the beatings and humiliating and that’s what probably made Guido keep an eye on me. He made sure things didn’t get out of hand. Two or three times he visited me at home to my great pride and my mom just loved him with his self made tattoos all over (like eagles and such – you get the picture). One time, he brought me this copy of “Electric Shock”: He knew I was totally obsessed with it ever since I had seen it at his place so he just thought, what the hell, and gave it to me.

Oops, sorry for the jabbering. During the ripping of the vinyl, all sort of pictures and recollections arose and the stream carried me away, but before it gets too pathetic, I take a break here (and maybe will continue next year same time).

Download the complete “Electric Shock” bootleg here (for a limited time only). It’s a sampler of various live recordings from 1976 to 1979. Some of the sources have since re-appeared in full and better quality on numerous bootlegs.
If you like this, do yourself a favor and get the bootleg (and if you say, “what, paying over 100$ for a record??” then go and fuck yourself). The internet has made it so easy, so take your chance. Methinks, there’s nothing like a vinyl bootleg from the 70s or 80s. The materiality of these old pieces is often phenomenal; pure fetishism. False labels (indicating a different band, like in this case), cheap printing, glued on paper and the smell of thirty years of sitting somewhere probably not too clean and tidy. Wonderful.
Oh yeah, before I forget: “Electric Shock” has been repressed a couple times. The original first press has blue labels (it says “Hopscotch Music” on them, presenting “The Aerobics live in concert”).

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