Our special Malcolm Young tribute issue (#794, January 2018) is out today, available via the usual stockists and our online store.
In addition to a touching tribute from the Living End's Chris Cheney, Murray Engleheart remembers the unassuming AC/DC axeman.
Malcolm, who passed away on November 18th, just a month after older brother George, spent his entire career just outside the reach of the main spotlight. He was the man with the right hand like God; a master lead guitarist, but far better known for AC/DC's simple rhythmic genius – witness the outro of "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'Roll)", in which the groove of the song morphs several times before settling on the monster riff that fades out; the central driving motif of "Let There Be Rock", particularly in a live setting; or that gear shift in "Night Prowler".
More importantly, Malcolm was the founder and ongoing soul and conscience of the band, the business affairs of which he drove with a singular, even fearsome, determination and tenacity.
Alongside, Engleheart also pens an extended feature on Malcolm's older brother and "one of the architects of Australian rock & roll", George Young, who died on October 22nd.
The long demolished Alberts Studios in King Street, Sydney, were where [Young], along with fellow former Easybeat Harry Vanda, directed and helped create the sounds of Rose Tattoo, the Angels, Stevie Wright, John Paul Young, the Ted Mulry Gang and many more. But it was AC/DC that really carried Young's imprint, a band he crafted and shaped from day one based on his experiences in the Easys. He was chief counsel, grounding point and touchstone for his kid brothers Angus and Malcolm, and instilled an attitude and singlemindedness in the pair which Malcolm adopted and expanded into a virtual artform when he fully took the reins of AC/DC.
There are, of course, those who spent their careers regretting their decision not to enter Young's unique orbit. "I'm still kicking myself, because George wanted to produce me and I should have let him," the late Billy Thorpe once told me. "He wanted to produce the Aztecs and I was fucking stupid, mate, stupid... To not let George fucking Young produce me! I mean, who knows where it could have gone with George."
The issue also features our annual Hot List, including our predictions for the now-and-next in music, movies, tv, pop culture, podcasts and porn, alongside interviews with stripper-turned-rapper Cardi B, rising blues-rock star Lukas Nelson, surprise psych chart-toppers Portugal. The Man, actress Grace Vab Patten, indie directing duo, the Safdie brothers and "hot healer" Wim Hof.
Wim Hof's position on big-big-name celebrities like Jim Carrey, Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise is that they are going to help take him and his far-out, revolutionary, health-restoring way of deep breathing, known as the Wim Hof Method (WHM), to the next level. The level it's at now is disappointing. Here he is, claiming to hold the secret to curing MS, arthritis, diabetes, fear, depression, anxiety, pain, PTSD, bipolar disorder, cancer, you name it, and nobody seems to care. It doesn't matter to him that over the past few years he's become some kind of global cultural phenomenon, making media appearances all over (Discovery Channel, ABC, NBC, National Geographic Channel) to provide the lowdown on not only his breathing technique but also his nearly superhuman ability to withstand cold, which is another part of his method and always a crowd-pleaser. In all, he has claimed 26 world records for his various feats, including the Guinness World Record for longest ice bath (1 hour, 52 minutes and 42 seconds), enabling him to rightfully be called "the Iceman". But that's not enough for him. He wants more. He wants to change the world.
We also catch up with actor Josh Radnor — best known as How I Met Your Mother's Ted Mosby — about his new folk music project with Ben Lee, get a rundown from Feist on the song's that have defined her life and speak to 23-year-old UK singer-songwriter King Krule on social media shares from Beyonce, teen success and latest avante-garde LP, The Ooz. Closer to home, we step into the studio with the Rubens as they bunker down (quite literally) and get to work on their next album.
Dan F. Stapleton:
It's a chilly afternoon in September and the Rubens and a dozen of their mates are sitting around an oil-drum fire on a farm in south-west Sydney, drinking beer and eating pizza. It could be any old gathering of close friends in a semi-rural setting, until two hip-hop producers with thick New York accents emerge from an imposing WWII communications bunker in the distance, and we're reminded that the Rubens are knee-deep recording their anticipated third album.
The issue also includes our rundown of the best summer holiday reads, a Q&A with the Eagles' Don Henley, a peak inside new memorabilia exhibition, the Australian Music Vault, and a sit down with the Smith Street Band's Wil Wagner, as the frontman recalls stories of spiders, cops and footy stars. Far further afield, federal Labor senator, Sam Dastyari, travels to a refugee camp on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border to report on the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
Just north of Australia, in Myanmar, a humanitarian calamity is taking place. Since August, over 600,000 Rohingya people have fled violence and relocated over the border to neighbouring Bangladesh. They have joined an existing 200,000 who had already left in the past few years.
As a muslim community, the Rohingya people have always been considered outsiders by the Buddhist majority. Based in the northern Rakhine province of Myanmar, they fought alongside British and Australian diggers in the Second World War, while the majority of the country stuck with the Japanese. After the war they were promised their own country, a promise the British never delivered. While they have always had a precarious position, it has now become much, much worse.
Nationalist fervour has now taken hold in Myanmar. An active government-led social media campaign has painted the Rohingya people as untrustworthy outsiders. Terrorists. Responsible for that country's economic and social woes. The consequence is a crisis on the scale of the Rwandan and Somalian tragedies of the 1990s.