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Bon Scott 1978 letter on money woes, boozing & Phil Rudd breakdown up for auction

AC/DC's Bon Scott in 1978 © Getty

A handwritten letter penned by late-great AC/DC frontman Bon Scott in 1978 is going under the hammer on Thursday (31st January).

Addressed to his friend Valerie, Bon Scott wrote the letter while in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in August 1978, three months after AC/DC unleashed their seminal album ‘Powerage’.

Giving an insight into Bon’s life in the late seventies, the three-page letter written on Hilton hotel stationary has an asking price of $6500 (£4950) at Nate D. Sanders Auctions in Santa Monica, California.

In the letter, the then 32-year-old Bon talks about the band’s recent appearance on TV show The Midnight Special before alluding to the mental health of drummer Phil Rudd.

“I've just come over from the west coast where I spent a couple of days in L.A. doing Midnight Special,” he wrote. “I went to see Doug's new band the other night playing a place called La Cantino El Paso which is down Long Beach & boy he had me in stitches. He's playing really well & singing like a bird.

“Don't know if he told you but I rang him a few weeks ago to see if he would fill in for Phillip for a while as Phil had a bit of a nervous breakdown & had to spend a lot of time with a shrink. It was really bad but luckily he got over it quickly enough not to upset the band. We had to treat him with kid gloves for a bit but he's ok now.”


Malcolm Young, Bon Scott, Cliff Williams, Angus Young and Phil Rudd © Getty

Apologising to Valerie for his lack of communication, Bon explains: “I know I'm pretty slack when it comes to letters & phone calls but I'm always travelling or drunk or hungover or...or...today I'm shaking so much I can hardly write but I have been meaning to write you for weeks so today I'm doing it.”

Touching upon his money woes, he continues: “I'm already about $130 into this weeks wages but about two weeks ago I owed the band about $70 on pay day & that's crazy. But being crazy is about the only way to keep my sanity if you know what I mean.”

Reflecting on the toils of permanently being on the road, Bon says: “We've worked so much since I saw you last that it's all one hell of a blur. Must have been across the country & up & down it a million times & I'm beginning to feel & look just a little haggard.

“I'd love to check myself in to a sanatorium for a month but after this tour it's straight to Europe & England for a month & then back here for the winter-end of the year so the next time you see me it might be in a geriatric ward.

“My hair looks like a busby but I'm just going to let it go on growing & be a hippy again for a while. I know I'm making it sound that life's hard at the moment but I'm not complaining cause there's always good times & we're selling lots of records & making people happy so it can't be all that bad.”

Referencing ‘If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)’, Bon adds: “Oh we finished our live album a few weeks ago in New York. I had to re-record about five concerts cause the vocals were not as good sound wise as the[y] had to be from all the michrophone [sic] spill from the guitars & things.

“I was allright (ahem) it sounds great & it'll look good hanging on the Xmas trees. I don't know when it'll be out but I'll try & get you a special copy. They might put some out in red vinyl although I prefer them in platinum myself.”

You can read the full letter, and also find out how to bid for it, on the Nate D. Sanders Auctions website.

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