Friday, February 19, 2010

Bon Scott Remembered (Part 1)

“Acute alcohol poisoning” and “death by misadventure,” reads the paperwork filed by the Lambeth, U.K. coronor.

AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott was only 33.

30 years ago today, Scott was found dead in the front passenger seat of a friend’s car, after a night of heavy drinking.

Alistair Kinnear was the last person to see Bon alive; it was in his car that Bon passed away. So, what happened? 5 years ago, Alistair was interviewed for U.K. rock magazine, Metal Hammer, and revealed the details of the tragedy in Metal Hammer and Classic Rock Present AC/DC Special 2005.

1979 was a huge year for AC/DC: “Highway To Hell” and years of constant touring finally brought the band the success and profile they deserved. The HTH tour wrapped up at the end of December ’79, and Bon was in London on a well earned break.

Alistair was friends and ex-roommates with Silver Smith, a sometimes girlfriend of Bon’s. A working musician himself, Kinnear was invited to see the first gig by a friend’s sister’s band at London’s Music Machine club on February 18; he invited Silver to join him, but she was unavailable and suggested Bon might be interested – Alistair phoned Bon and the two were set for a night of rock n’ roll.

"It was a great party, and Bon and I both drank far too much, both at the free bar backstage and at the upstairs bar as well; however I did not see him take any drugs that evening,” Alistair recounted. “At the end of the party I offered to drive him home. As we approached his flat, I realized that Bon had drifted into unconsciousness. I left him in my car and rang his doorbell, but his current live-in girlfriend didn't answer. I took Bon's keys and let myself into the flat, but no-one was at home. I was unable to wake Bon, so I rang Silver for advice. She said that he passed out quite frequently, and that it was best just to leave him to sleep it off.”

Alistair Kinnear's home - 67 Overhill Road, Dulwich, South London

Kinnear then drove home around 4 or 5am, and tried, unsuccessfully, to get Bon out of the car and into his place. Alistair then put the seat back so Bon could lie flat, covered him with a blanket, left a note with his address and phone number on it, and shuffled off to bed. Kinnear said he was so hungover when he was awakened by a friend around 11am, that he asked him to check on Bon; his pal returned to say that the car was empty, so it was assumed that Bon awoke and took a taxi home, and Kinnear went back to sleep. At around 7:30pm that evening, while leaving his place to visit a friend in the hospital, he found Bon still in the car “obviously in a very bad way, and not breathing. I immediately drove hime to King's College Hospital, where Bon was pronounced dead on arrival.”

The details provided by Kinnear clear up the mystery surrounding the death of one of hard rock’s most promising superstars.

R.I.P. Bon Scott

AC/DC – Highway To Hell (live 1979)

Alistair Kinnear is at the center of his own mystery: according to the Australian newspaper, The Herald , Kinnear went missing at sea in the summer of 2006 and is presumed dead. Kinnear’s son, Daniel, reports that his father set sail from Marseilles, France in July 2006 on a 40-foot yacht on the way to Spain, when the boat vanished without a trace. In cases like this, it takes a period of seven years before someone who is missing to be declared legally dead. Stay tuned…

Tomorrow: in part 2 of Bon Scott Remembered - videos and audio of Bon's pre-AC/DC bands from the late 60s and early 70s.