The canine crew of Wee Walking Tours is semi-famous. However, similar to AC/DC, there is one member of the group who is sometimes forgotten. You see, our celebrated canine tour guide, Sawyer, can be considered the Malcom Young of the group- he’s known as the creative genius. And, our wee man, Stirling, the baby of the group can easily be compared to Angus Young because he often gets all the attention when we’re out and about- not to mention his boundless energy just like Angus on stage.
Like the Young brothers, our Golden Retriever brothers, Sawyer and Stirling, have had their chance to tell their story (you can read their accounts here and here). But this week, we thought it was high time that our Black Labrador, Finn, had his moment to shine. After all, like Bon Scott, Finn is the true ‘street poet’ of the group. So, before we officially let Finn take over the post, he wanted to kick it off with these lyrics from Bon (and Malcolm and Angus):
Let there be sound, and there was sound Let there be light, and there was light Let there be drums, there was drums Let there be guitar, there was guitar Oh, let there be rock!
-‘Let There Be Rock’- AC/DC
My name is Finn, and I'm a 9 year old Black Labrador Retriever, and I'm the eldest of the Wee Walking Tours canine clan. Like my Mom said at the beginning of this post, my brothers are often the more well-known of our group. However, this week I've been given the chance to take over the blog, and tell you all about my rock idol- Bon Scott. First, I'd like to tell you some of his life, and then stay tuned because I also share a bit of my trip to see his birthplace.
Ronald Belford Scott was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland on the 9th July 1946 to Charles (Chick) Scott and Isabelle (Isa) Cunningham Mitchell. However, most of you know him by his legendary name- Bon Scott. His father, Chick, worked in the family bakery as well as played in the Kirriemuir Pipe Band where Isa said that Bon learned his love of the drums and music by watching them practice (the three photos below are credited to the Gateway to the Glens Museum, Kirriemuir).
The Scott family emigrated to Australia in 1952 when Bon was only 6 years old. However, his Australian childhood upbringing was steeped in Scottish culture and tradition. In fact, he learned drumming while performing with the local pipes band (not the bagpipes as you would expect, but more on that in just a bit).
His early days in music had a much different pop rock sound that was very different from his later work. In 1964, he formed the band, The Spektors, with some friends. That later morphed into the band, The Valentines. Bon shared lead singing duties with Vince Lovegrove (who ended being a lifelong friend and gave him the ‘street poet’ moniker). When The Valentines disbanded, he joined Fraternity from 1970-1973.
However, Bon had a near fatal motorcycle accident in 1974 and underwent a recovery period. During this time, he struggled to find work, but his former Valentines bandmate, Vince, gave him some work to help him make ends meet. Vince also introduced him to fellow Scots- brothers Malcolm and Angus Young- who were looking for a new lead singer of their band, AC/DC. The well-known story goes that they thought Bon was too old and he thought they were too inexperienced. However, it was during an overnight jam session that everyone’s mind changed and history was made. Bon was the lead singer of AC/DC until his tragic death in 1980.
Now some of you may be wondering why I’m such a fan of a man who wrote the lyrics to Dog Eat Dog, but I’ll forgive him for that. After all, he was just singing about survival. You see, Bon and I have quite a bit in common. However, it isn’t his infamous, hard partying persona that he showed on the stage or to fans to which I can relate. No, I see Bon and I as kindred spirits who are often misunderstood.
Like Bon, I enjoy spending time with family and friends and just want to share my poetic and loving side with the world. One of my favourite songs that gives a peak into the more contemplative side of Bon is ‘Ride On’. Here are just some of his lyrics from the song that I think conveys the deep melancholy that he felt with life on the road (as well as his battles with addiction):
But I'm lonely Lord, I'm lonely What am I gonna do?
got myself a one-way ticket (Ride on) goin' the wrong way (Ride on) (Ride on) gonna change my evil ways (Ride on) One of these days One of these days
However, just as Bon did- I have another side that is “in love with rock ‘n’ roll” and loves to enjoy all that life has to offer. I love to rock around the house listening to the AC/DC albums from Bon’s years with the band. During that time period, Bon and the band did legendary live concerts all over the world. However, one of my favourites is from right here in Scotland at the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow (1978). One of the best parts of the concert is when they perform ‘Fling Thing/Rocker’. The band opens with an homage to Scotland with ‘Fling Thing’ as you hear the familiar tune of ‘Loch Lomond’ and then rips into a rendition of ‘Rocker’ that will you leave gasping for breath by the time it’s finished. With all due respect to Brian Johnson, that concert demonstrates that Bon Scott will always be the greatest voice of AC/DC.
With my love of Bon Scott and AC/DC established, you can imagine my joy when I found out we were going on a road trip to visit his birthplace! I could barely contain my excitement as we drove along to Kirriemuir rocking out- appropriately- to ‘Highway to Hell’ as well as other classics. I have to give credit to Sawyer and Stirling- I think the three of us did a pretty good sing-a-long to ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’.
Situated on the outskirts of the wee village of Kirriemuir, there is a carpark that also has one of the main attractions we were there to see- the Bon Scott statue. Dad, knowing my love of Bon (and to be clear- I'm the true rock music aficionado of the Wee Walking Tours canine crew), took me over first to check it out. I was so thrilled to be there, I couldn’t stop grinning. Just look at the pictures of my joy at being in the ‘presence’ of a such a rock legend (and, if I’m honest, the delight of being the centre of attention).
Bon was once asked if he was the ‘AC’ or the ‘DC’ of the group, and he quipped- neither, I’m the flash in the middle! Therefore, it seems fitting that his statue (which was dedicated on 6th May 2006) is surrounded by a fence that has the famous AC/DC lightning bolt peppered throughout. I fancy myself the ‘flash’ between my famous Golden brothers- Sawyer and Stirling. Speaking of which, I decided to let them also check out the statue and be in the photos. However, Dad and Mom made sure I was the ‘rock star’ of this photo shoot.
The inspiration for the statue is from AC/DC’s music video for ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top’. In it, the group performed on a flat-bed truck through the streets of Melbourne, Australia. There are pipers on the truck, and Bon played his own set (which he learned to play just for that song).
The excitement didn’t stop there though. After wrapping up my VIP visit, we headed into Kirriemuir for more Bon-related adventures. In the centre of town is the Gateway to the Glens Museum. If you are an AC/DC fan, be sure to check out this hidden gem because they have a wee exhibition all about Bon with some fascinating memorabilia. Understandably, I wasn’t allowed inside, but Mom and Dad shared their photos with me which I would like to now share with you (you can see more above from his childhood).
Well, that is going to do it for my Bon Scott experience. However, the good news is that, if you are a fan of this rock legend, you too can have your own Bon Scott experience via Bonfest. Every year, Bon's hometown, Kirriemuir, holds a rock festival to honour his life with fans visiting from around the world. Unfortunately, I won't be able to go as dogs aren't allowed. However, you humans can head over to the Bonfest website to learn more about the 2023 event being held 28th-30th April.
In closing I'd like to switch gears a bit and share some, unfortunately, sad news. For while, it has been an exciting moment to write this week’s blog post, it has also been a sad time for me and the rest of the Wee Walking Tours family. One of our dear canine friends and supporters on Twitter- Roxie- crossed over the rainbow bridge this week. I shared a special bond with Roxie as we understood how it is for a younger sibling to get the lion’s share of the attention. Roxie’s sister, Penny Lane, is as sweet as can be, and everyone knows her as she is famous on her Twitter account (just like Sawyer on Wee Walking Tours). Fortunately, Roxie featured on Penny Lane’s account (@Penny_Lane_Pup) all the time and was known for the hashtag- #RoxieToo. I love this hashtag because it’s a shout out to the siblings who aren’t in the limelight as much.
We were honoured to get to know this wee gentle soul over the past few years, and are deeply saddened by her passing. Therefore, this week I dedicate my blog post to the memory of Roxie. While I am filled with sorrow, I have comfort knowing Roxie is probably having a wonderful time with my Black Lab older brother, Rasmus (aka Papa Bear), who crossed over the rainbow bridge several years ago. I (and the whole Wee Walking Tours family) will cherish the beautiful memories of Roxie and think it only fitting that Bon’s lyrics to ‘R.I.P. (Rock in Peace)’ help me end the post in her honour:
Let me be on my own
Let me rock
Let me roll
Let me rock
Let me rock in peace
-‘R.I.P. (Rock in Peace)’ by AC/DC
Until next time- ‘Rock in Peace’ dear Roxie- I know I’ll be doing so in your memory!
And, finally, for Bon- 'Ride On'!
*Update: Winter 2024*