Derek Scott, brother of late AC/DC singer Bon Scott, broke his silence about the singer’s wild life and death on the TV documentary Australian Story: On the Brink – Bon Scott, which aired last night on Australia’s ABC network. The film, which you can watch below, includes interviews with several friends, family members and former bandmates, including Derek Scott; bassist Bruce Howe, who played with Scott in his pre-AC/DC band Fraternity; and singer Jimmy Barnes, who replaced Scott in Fraternity and also fronts the Australian rock band Cold Chisel.
Scott, who died of acute alcohol poisoning after choking on his vomit on Feb. 19, 1980, at the age of 33, has long been described as a legendarily hedonistic rocker, a reputation reinforced by the interviews in On the Brink. “He did get bored very quickly,” Scott said of his brother, whom his family always called “Ron.” “That was the biggest problem. When he got bored, he drank. He never worried about tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.”
Howe added that Scott would act recklessly when left to his own devices. “It was a pattern. He was really, really steady until he got bored and he wasn’t working,” Howe said. “That’s when he would start doing wild things. There was no future, there was only now, and he would take risks on his motorbike. He didn’t give a bugger about whether he lived or died the next day.”
The bassist said he witnessed a change in Scott when he last saw him near the end of 1979. “He wasn’t bubbly and laughing,” Howe said. “His holy grail had always been to get to the top in the rock ‘n’ roll business. And maybe he’d come to the stage where he’s achieved his dream. He’d found his holy grail, but the holy grail just might have looked like an empty goblet.”
Following Scott’s death, AC/DC recruited Brian Johnson and went on to enjoy astronomical success with the world-conquering Back in Black. But the band had sown the seeds of stardom with Scott, who did not get to reap the benefits of his hard work.
“I wish he was here to know that he’d made it,” Derek Scott said of his brother. “Ron would have been 75. If Ron could see what was happening in the world today over himself, I think he’d have a good laugh. He really would. He’d be surprised, but he’d have a good laugh — and a drink.”
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