The opening chords are immortal. A fucking great way to introduce the post-Bon Scott AC/DC. Brian Johnson screams his balls off. He don’t fuck around. No ballads. No sappy love songs of any kind. These are songs to break shit up to. Songs for strippers. Songs for drug dealers. Songs that make you want to drive fast and quit your job. These are songs I really enjoyed for the first time when I was around 23 or 24. I didn’t know much about AC/DC except “You Shook Me All Night Long” and “Back in Black.” When I bought this album I was getting hip to lots of stuff about which I knew little. Yes. This shit was right on target.
And, of course, it reminds me of some stupid guy. But not just about him. I was beginning to get wild back then, mainly drinking, and then once this guy came along I was also exploring my scandalous side. I wanted to try a lot of shit. Including him.
I was working in a grocery store bakery. He was a baker, I was a clerk. As the story has often unfolded in my life, he flirted with me first, I was bitchy to him, he eventually stopped, and then I started to pursue him. Girls are lame like that. We started talking more at work. The first time we hung out outside work was going to JC Penney together to pick up some chunky-heeled leather sandals I had ordered (this was about 1996). I think it was his lunch break or something, or maybe right after he got off work. I was dressed like a wannabe hoochie dressed in the summer of 1996: tight, flared jeans cut off at the waist, super-tight belly shirt, high heels. I was dressed to impress. And he was definitely impressed.
Givin’ the dog a bone
I used to listen to this album a lot in my car. It got me pumped up to go to work, though I did not dread work then as much as I do now. I was not jaded from working shitty jobs for almost 20 years at that point. I was still in school, so I still had some hope for a future. That job was just a job. I didn’t like it, but back then I wasn’t trying to find any personal satisfaction from my job. I just wanted to get paid so I could go shopping with my credit cards and only pay the minimum due.
What do you do for money, honey?
I was never a smoker, but when I was 21 I bought a pack of cigarettes on a break in between classes. I had started drinking just a month or so earlier, and I wanted to see what the fuss was about with smoking. I did not get it. Was I doing it right? How do you ask someone to teach you how to smoke? Anyway, around the time I started listening to Back in Black I was smoking when I was drinking with the gays in bars. Jim, the guy I liked, smoked when he went out, but otherwise he did not. That was pretty much how I rolled, too. I would smoke three cigarettes at once when I was really drunk. I’d go through a whole pack in a night. Tragulous.
Have a drink on me
When I took my 15-minute breaks at the grocery store I never sat in the break room. I usually drove around the neighborhood and listened to music. When I listened to Back in Black it just seemed natural to smoke. I didn’t want anyone at work to know what I was doing, even though a few of them were smokers. And I certainly didn’t want my family to know, even though I was old enough to smoke if I wanted to be stupid enough to do so. I was not a smoker, I told myself; I was just a badass who could dabble in anything and never really commit to it. And so what? AC/DC made me feel like I could do whatever the fuck I wanted to, without apology. And that’s what I did.
Even when it was fucking snowing I would drive around for 15 minutes, blasting AC/DC, window cracked to flick out my ashes. I just could not stand the idea of sitting in that break room. AC/DC gave me something to look forward to on my breaks. AC/DC, and Marlboros.
I’m not sure why I was so attracted to Jim. He was not particularly bright. He was cute, but not hot. He didn’t have a spectacular body. But he was really funny. He was outgoing. He was good at his job. And he loved kids; he desperately wanted to be a father. He was pure trailer trash, the 12th of 13 children. He lived with his mom and sister and her three kids (by two different guys) in a trailer park on a trashy side of town. I was still friends with my gay BFF at this time, and I was getting a gay vibe from Jim. Ever since Bill I figured any guy who was interested in me would turn out gay. Bill flirted with me at first, too. And then we started going to gay bars together. I assumed the same would happen with Jim. And it did. But that didn’t mean we couldn’t fool around. Because we did.
I threw myself at him at every opportunity. I was a Victoria’s Secret junkie back then, and I remember once when we met to go to lunch on his break, I was wearing this short-sleeved turtleneck (again, it was the 90s) and jeans with a lacy Vicky’s bra and panty set underneath. When I dropped him off at the store after lunch, I showed him my bra as we sat in front of the store in broad daylight. I was leaving very little to the imagination. I didn’t even know how to be subtle.
A week or two later I almost lost my virginity to him. I was coming on pretty strong all night, and when it was finally on the verge of happening I just couldn’t go through with it. I had never been naked with anyone before, I didn’t know what the hell to do! I had a very active imagination, I masturbated a lot. But now there is a real live penis right there, and what the hell was I supposed to do with that? Oh my God, I gave that poor boy some blue balls. But I just wasn’t ready.
Let me put my love into you
It finally did happen between us, though, more than two years later. We were extremely drunk and in Toronto and it just happened. I don’t remember it starting; I just remember suddenly being in the middle of it. When it ended and he moved to the other bed to finish the sandwich he bought on the way back to the hotel, I freaked the fuck out and started yelling at him to sleep in the bed with me. If you take someone’s virginity, guys, you better fucking stay in that bed until she tells you to leave!
You shook me all night long
Back to the music. There is no way you can listen to Back in Black and not scream like Brian Johnson! His scream is orgasmic and primal and angry. It’s fucking great rock and roll shit. There’s no bullshit with these guys. I can see why teenage boys love AC/DC. Why is it surprising that women like them? When I was in my late 20s I worked in an adult store. We could play our own music if we wanted, so I was playing AC/DC one night, and some guy came up to the register to buy some porn and he made a comment about the music. He added, “I’m surprised you’re listening to this,” you know, because I’m a chick. What the fuck does that even mean? This guy happened to be the neighbor of a friend of mine, and we still talk about how ridiculous that was.
“Let me cut your cake with my knife.” That is such a Spinal Tap line! It’s funny yet badass. And I can see why strippers love to work to AC/DC. Every song is meant for naked chicks to bump and grind to. More women should embrace that.
We don’t have to analyze AC/DC’s lyrics very much. There is as much subtlety here as there is in showing my bra to the dude I’m trying to fuck. Just read some of the song titles:
“Shoot to Thrill”
“What Do You Do for Money Honey”
“Givin’ the Dog a Bone”
“Let Me Put My Love Into You”
“You Shook Me All Night Long”
AC/DC’s music is about fucking, fighting, and drinking. Why does it need to be any deeper than that? And that is not to say that they are not brilliant musicians and performers, because they are. They know what works and they stick with it. This is music that allows you get out all your frustrations, sexual and otherwise. I know what it did for me. Back in Back helped shape my inner badass, it made me see that I could do whatever the hell I felt like doing. Who was going to stop me?
Rock and roll ain’t noise pollution