[ALBUM REVIEW] AC/DC | Who Made Who (a coming of age tale)

Let me tell you kids a story.

Way back in the early ’90s… it was a different time.  A time before internet streaming like Spotify, YouTube, or iTunes.  Back then, unless you had money to burn you needed plenty of luck or enough friends interested in music to expand your musical horizons.  As a fairly pathetic teenager, I didn’t have much of either.

At home, the living room stereo was always locked into the local soft rock station, CJMX.  This was the era before 24 hour news channels, and my Mom liked their hourly news updates. In March of 1990, I probably read in the paper how CIGM-FM switched from a country format to rock.  And 60% of that rock would be hard.

I remember turning the dial on the living room hi-fi over to check it out the day they had launched and I liked what I heard! This was my first experience listening to a ton of hard music. Yeah, I knew Van Halen’s Jump and ZZ Top’s Legs, but this was the first time I heard Eruption and La Grange. Wowza! I started recording tunes from CIGM onto my cassette player. I’d keep that sucker on pause until the DJ stopped talking. I’d roll on everything, keeping what I liked.

I even convinced my Mom to switch the family’s morning listening.  I made a case for CIGM beginning with how they had morning news updates too.  Mom agreed and let me rock out while eating breakfast before she switched back to the sweet whispers of Chris de Burgh after I left for school. This lasted two months.

In May of 1990, CIGM was moved to the AM dial and back to a country format. I guess Sudbury’s shit-kickers kicked up a bunch of shit over March’s format change. Sudbury wasn’t to be left without a rock station though.  CIGM’s now abandoned FM spot, 92.7, was filled by a new rock station, Q92.  They played rock, but 60% of it wasn’t hard.

who-made-who-vinyl-back.jpg

They would play Bon Jovi, for instance, but it was always “Blaze of Glory” and never anything from Slippery When Wet. They would play the Van Hagar ballads, Def Leppard’s Love Bites, or Aerosmith’s Rag Doll.  Never any of the heavier tracks.

Then grunge hit.  Q92 leaned hard into that scene.  The ’70s and ’80s rock tunes were rapidly dropped.  You might get Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” on the last day of school.

Our house had just got Canada’s music station, Much Music around this time too.  I had heard so much about their Pepsi Power Hour which would play an hour of hard rock/metal once or twice a week.  I caught maybe two episodes before it was cut down to 30 minutes, once a week and re-branded as The Power 30. Grunge was killing everything even remotely involved with “metal”.

To make things even more difficult, taping “Much” was a pain.  The channel came in on 27 and our VCR only went up to channel 26.  No joke.  I remember daisy chaining a cable box, VCR, then TV just so I could tape some shows.  The image was fuzzier than a Care Bear’s testicles but it worked.

Since the quality was so bad, and my parents were not going to use three sets of remotes to watch TV, I had to rig this up, tape whatever it is I wanted to tape, then dismantle it.  But it was worth it.  This is how I caught my very first AC/DC video.

The video was the original one for “You Shook Me All Night Long“. The whole thing was mesmerizing to me. The guitar player was jumping around and headbanging.  The singer sounded like he had his nuts are in a vice.  I loved how the creeps in the background walked out to sing the choruses.  How straight up of a rocker the tune was.  I wished every song was like it.  It was the best song I had ever heard. I had to have it. It was my mission to get it on my next trip to Sam The Record Man.

My next chance to get there was with my Mom and Sister who were heading to the mall for some clothes shopping.  When we got there I made a beeline to Sam’s where I discovered that You Shook Me was on two albums, Back In Black and Who Made Who.  I really had no clue which one to pick.  I probably went with Who Made Who because I liked the cover.

I needed to listen to my new cassette right away, so I tracked down my Mom and nabbed the keys to the van off of her. I’d wait in the van while they finished shopping for clothes. I was nervous as I put the cassette into the van’s stereo. This purchase was a big gamble for me.  I didn’t have much money for cassette with a weekly allowance of $7.

But I was safe.  I knew it the moment I heard the drums from the title track, Who Made Who.  This rocks!  I was into the third track (the instrumental “D.T.“) before I spotted my Mom and Sister heading back to the van.  Fun time over.  For the first and only time ever,  I wish they had taken longer.

Who Made Who Tape
There he is. My little boy blue.

And that’s the story. I’ve been a fan ever since.  There is nothing left to say… oh, the review? Well…

Who Made Who is not a true soundtrack to Stephen King’s film Maximum Overdrive or, with only one tune from the Bon Scott era, hardly represents the band very well as a greatest hits compilation.  Some say it’s a cash grab and maybe they’re right.  But screw ’em!  There is enough here to make it #MarsApproved.

As an AC/DC album: 4/5
Compared to everything else: 5/5

9 comments

  1. Great read! I love background stories on how bands/albums are discovered by people!
    Last year I ranted on about our local radio having no balls ever unless you wanna get heavy with 3 Doors Down! Not knocking them is just they are so overplayed but…

    I like your discovery of AC/DC. Who Made Who is a monster of a track! Comeback tune if ever for any act even though I love the wishy-washy Fly On The Wall from a year earlier!
    HAHAHA!

    Since I’m older than you by a few, I discovered AC/DC right after Back In Black came out which was two weeks after AC/DC played our fair city(July 1980).

    As you know, I’m working on building up my AC/DC vinyl, and just yesterday I scored ‘If You Want Blood” and Powerage which is perhaps my fav album of the Bon era!

    Great stuff, ​Kev! Look forward to this supposedly new AC/DC album.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Deke! Those are both “must haves” for any vinyl collection! I think the new album will be a Santana style collaboration album. Angus with a bunch of different artists all paying tribute to Malcolm. Brian, Phil, and Stevie were not in Vancouver long witth Angus so I’m guessing they only worked on a song or two together. That’s just my theory.

      Liked by 1 person

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