After the meeting with Alan aka the Rock'n'Roll Nonno, AC/DC Abruzzo has another special guest. He goes by the name of Looy and his fame and legendary deeds are well known in the AC/DC hardcore fan community. AC/DC Abruzzo had the privilege to meet him in person several times during the European tour and his stories and advice have been very educational and inspirational for AC/DC Abruzzo for the rock’n’roll journey we embarked on
Looy, thank you for being with us. The last time we talked was just before the final European gig in
Oh it’s been a strange year, but I’m doing well thanks. No,
The first time we actually met was in front of the Paris Bercy arena last February before the first of the two historic sold out shows. It was a brief encounter… Then we had the chance to talk a bit more in
Well, that was my most Over The Top tour, a real Ballbreaker! I went a bit mad and did the first 95 shows (the complete
Impressive! Any funny/interesting stories to share?
Lots! Many I’m afraid are now forgotten, some are just too long to go into here! A couple of interesting moments regarding the Ballbreaker stage production might raise a smile, both happened somewhere in the
One night as they started the song Ballbreaker, Brian went behind the Amps to climb on the ball (originally the plan was for Angus to do this each night, but he had other ideas! So Brian the ex-paratrooper stepped in). As the song started the ball rose as usual, but halfway up Brian’s sweat soaked hands dropped the microphone. The band riffed on and Brian was trying desperately to get the crane operator’s attention, no-one noticed until the moment he was supposed to start singing. The band riffed on. Finally the ball started to lower to the stage and Brian jumped off and ran to the side of the stage for a new microphone. The band riffed on. Brian returned to centre stage, and Phil played a quick “de-de” to time everyone, Brian stepped forward and started to sing – nothing, the new microphone didn’t work! The band riffed on. Brian collected another microphone (professional band this!) and then tried again, finally everything worked and the song was completed without further problems. It was the longest intro to Ballbreaker ever played!
On another night, the show was about to start, the house lights went out and the long production intro used on the Ballbreaker tour started (as on No Bull). Eventually the crane swung out, but the ball never lowered. After a few minutes the faithful roadie appeared on the crane arm and tried to get it moving. After several attempts the ball finally lowered and the band came on. At the end of Back in Black, Brian turned and looked up at the ball , then looking back at the audience said “Sorry about that, everyone gets their ball’ stuck once in a while, hey lads?”. Another great Johnson Moment!
AHAHAH. We just love Brian's humour... Looy, please tell us more about your passion and dedication for AC/DC. How did it start? How did it develop? And how has it affected and enriched your life?
Well, that’s three questions that I’ve taken a lifetime to answer for myself! How to keep it short? Umm.
I first heard DC (as they were known in
How did it develop?.... I just kept buying!
How has it affected and enriched my life? Profoundly and beyond all measure. I’ve seen, and more importantly heard, things I would never have thought possible. I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting the band in person on many occasions and some of the concerts I’ve attended have become legendary. Many others would have been legendary if they hadn’t just been another night of a tour, but sometimes the magic that every performer and fan seeks arrives unannounced and makes for one magical night of rock’n’roll. Some people would kill for it, I’ve nearly died for it!
Certainly meeting my very good friend Goulash for the first time, at the back of Wembley Arena on a freezing cold January day in ’86, was a moment that has gone on to often enrich my life (you have to know him!). Since then we’ve met up at many concerts around the
In fact that’s something all of us who meet up on the road laugh about. Most friends intending to meet at a concert will plan to meet “at the main entrance” or “the third burger stand on the right”. We leave it at “see you in
We actually experienced this “chaos theory” ourselves several times during this tour…. From Wilkes Barre to Glasgow... If we remember correctly in England you told us that you were going to attend your 100th AC/DC concert. Unbelievable! Around the world there must be only a few people with more than 100 shows under their belt. Pretty hardcore….
Well this will just sound like bravado, but actually my 100th show was in Stuttgart `96. This year’s tour included my 200th gig, in
WOW! 200 shows!!!!... I guess in Birmingham we were a bit tired after so many shows in a row... Anyway, now a classic question. Which was your favourite tour? Any memorable show in particular?
Ask anyone who’s lost their virginity and the answer’s the same: the first time! In my case Hammersmith Odeon 13.10.82. I heard the
Maybe one concert of note to your Italian readers would be
Greensboro ‘96 was of course exceptional. Everything came together at the right time to make it possible. Phil was back, I’d been to the video shoot for Hard As A Rock, and to find myself in
As for a favourite tour. Hmmm. It’s always hard to pick a favourite when you’ve enjoyed so much. The Cannon and Bell Tour ’82 was amazing. The volume was incredible, and the sound in Hammersmith Odeon is wonderful. But then those tours in the ‘80s with Simon are very unfairly dismissed in the history books. They really were the only Rock’n’Roll band fighting back against the stupid hair and soft production techniques that the ‘80s music industry thought was the future. It must’ve been a real struggle, and it certainly took its toll on Mal (I’d love to have seen the band with Stevie Young standing in. Did it work….?). Ballbreaker was, from my point of view, in a different league to the other tours. With Phil back and a great setlist, it’s hard to beat. But I think The Razors Edge Tour was pretty significant as well. It put the band back in the spotlight and got them a lot more attention. For me personally, it was the first time I travelled to a lot of shows, ten indoors and then 15 of the Open Airs, during which I was given a VIP tour pass. I’d planned to only do 8 or so outdoor shows, but with a pass in my hand, I did more. When it was decided that the show would go to
INCREDIBILE!!! ... Any other funny/curious stories about your life on the road you want to share with us?
Oh God yes, many!
On the morning of the concert I’d been talking with two Polish girls at the backstage entrance to the stadium. They told that on the trains heading south out of
Yeah, we remember this incredible story: you told us when we met before the shows during this tour... The power of rock'n'roll!!! You also gave us some useful pieces of advice during the tour. About the importance of planning and being prepared to face difficulties and moments of discouragement, also facing average people who keep criticizing and will never understand what’s behind this hardcore passion and unusual lifestyle…
Yes? Ah, logistics is the key. You need a lose framework of a plan, and then just keep adapting until you get home. As for others, what do they know? If you’re not doing it for yourself, then something’s fundamentally wrong with your plan.
Another important tip was about how to manage your calendar when you’re on tour: you taught us that knowing the weekday is virtually useless. The question “What day is it today?” should be answered as follows. “Today it’s Dusseldorf!” “Tomorrow is the day before Oberhausen” and so on…Ahahaha. This method actually worked pretty well for us when we would wake up in some hotel room wandering where we were….
I’m glad it’s proved useful! But I can’t claim to have invented the method. Anyone who’s been on the road with a timetable to follow will quickly learn this basic adjustment to the clock system. See, you did!
Looy, we also know about your other passion! Italian motorbikes… Guzzi in particular… What can you tell us about that?
Ahhh, my third passion and vice! Yes it’s true. I am the very proud owner of a V1000G5. She was first registered in August 1979, so she was in the showroom when Highway to Hell was released! I bought her in 1994 after having three V50 mark 3’s in 5 years. I had a bad accident in 1989 on the first one (car drivers!), and the insurance money I finally got for that paid for the G5 and the Ballbreaker tour with not a penny left over!
For me, the G5 is the last “Gentlemen’s Motorcycle”. When you are built like a north of the Alps Barbarian, you can only dream of fitting on a LeMans or V7Sport. The G5 is laid out for bigger people, and with the way mine has been modified it’s possible to remove the boxes and screen in 15 minutes and turn the “Gran Turismo” into a “Strada” bike , very versatile and “user friendly”.
Last year, I found out the studio where the video for Rock’n’Roll Train was being filmed, but only the day before it happened. So I loaded the trusty G5 and set off from my new home here in Bavaria to get to London as quickly as possible. 140-160 kph on a 30 year old bike for 1000 km each way was a bit crazy, and on the journey home I did some damage to the valves because of overheating, but she got me home as always…BELLA GUZZI! Since then I’ve found out I also did some damage to the gearbox, and the clutch fell apart about 1000 km after I got home. But that’s how it goes, followin’ a band……It’s a long way…
Yes... It's a long way... But we're gonna RIDE ON!!
It was a pleasure talking to you Looy. And thank you very much! We hope to see you soon at an AC/DC show…
Ah, thank you! Well… that’s the most likely place! Ave Abruzzo! Ave Italia!