Masters of Rock Guitar Lesson ACDC “It’s a Long Way to The Top (if you wanna rock n roll) – Australian Guitar Magazine Archive.

“That’s right folks this is harder than it looks”…

Here’s another lesson that I did for Australian Guitar Magazine in the series “AC/DC Style Study” and the subject of this lesson is “It’s A Long Way To The Top, If You Wanna Rock n Roll”.

It’s a privilege to have a career in music but to quote Bon Scott’s words in the song “that’s right folks this is harder than it looks”

I feel something of a connection with AC/DC for several reasons.

Obviously they’re a guitar band and I’m a guitar player but when the Young family came to Australia from Scotland they lived at Villawood for a time which is the next suburb to where I grew up at Lansvale.

Although I never crossed paths with any of the Young brothers, I was fortunate to have met, interviewed or played with a few of the ex members of AC/DC; there have been something like 30 ex members since the band’s inception!

The ex member of AC/DC that I got to know best is Colin Burgess.

Colin Burgess

Colin was the drummer in “Master’s Apprentices”.

With hits like ” Turn Up Your Radio” and “It’s Because I Love You” the Master’s Apprentices were Australia’s biggest band for a time.

After the Masters broke up, Colin went on to be the original drummer in AC/DC so as you’d imagine he’s really interesting to talk to and has a lot of great stories and observations when you get him talking.

Colin was generous and kind enough to introduce me as “this is Steve, he’s a great guitarist”.

Colin joined my “Guitar Heroes” show so I got to play with him regularly and I also got to know him quite well and we became friends.

On one occasion I was asked to do a gig at a pub in Wollongong, it was a Sunday afternoon session so I asked Colin if he’d do it with me.

It was a fun gig, only Colin on drums and me.

Being just the two of us it was really free, kind of like a jam.

I got to play some favourite songs with slide guitar, I’d start up a song and Colin would set up a groove which gave me the freedom to solo before I’d go back to singing the song.

Since it was just the two of us I didn’t even write out a set list… I’d think of a song, start playing and Colin followed my lead.

It’s a real pity we didn’t get to do more gigs like that.

We talked about that we could have developed it into a unique combo and we both enjoyed jamming together so that came across to the audience.

At the end of that gig Colin invited me to a show at the Basement that started later that evening.

He asked “what are you doing tonight? Jim’s player at the Basement”

He was talking about his former band mate, Jim Keyes, the singer from the Master’s Apprentices and the show was “Cotton, Keyes & Morris”.

Swanston Street, Melbourne

Daryl Cotton was the singer in the group “The Zoot” with hits like their version of “Elenor Rigby” but probably best known for their guitarist Rick Springfield who had an international hit with his song “Jessie’s Girl”.

Daryl was a hell of a nice guy!

Russell Morris was a one man hit factory in his day and is an Australian music legend.

He had an international hit with ” The Real Thing” and subsequently a string of hit songs followed.

That was the first time I met Russell, I happened to interview him later and he was always a pleasure to talk to.

Maybe the most laid back, easy going person I’ve met without being from Southern California.

They each did a 20 minute set of songs that they were associated with but at the end, the 3 singers got up together and did a few songs to round the night out.

Russell Morris

It was a really interesting show.

Being a guest of Colin’s I got to meet them and hang out.

Colin was generous and kind enough to introduce me as “this is Steve, he’s a great guitarist”.

They were exceptionally nice people and there was a really nice energy and vibe about each of them.

They were playing the music they believe in and their songs have always meant a lot to a lot of people.

When I’d play with Colin I’d sometimes turn around and see him sitting behind his drums and I would think of how he’d played behind Angus and Malcolm Young – that was quite a strange thought.

“It’s a Long Way To The Top” is one of AC/DC’s best known songs and there’s a lot to learn by getting into its licks and riffs.

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