Bon Scott Letter: Late AC/DC Vocalist’s Candid Note Sells to Surprising Buyer
A 1978 letter written by late AC/DC singer Bon Scott has sold at auction for $14,000, news.com.au reported Tuesday, and the mystery buyer has been revealed as none other than the Government of Western Australia.
Indeed, the letter — written to Scott's then-girlfriend and detailing drummer Phil Rudd’s mental breakdown on that year's "Powerage Tour" — received a winning bid at Nate D. Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles earlier this year.
The buyer? It was the McGowan Government, the current ministry of the Government of Western Australia, the state wherein the Scottish-born Scott spent his formative years after first living in Melbourne, Australia.
The three-page letter's auction started with a reserve price of $6,500. In the candid communication scrawled on Hilton hotel stationary, Scott juxtaposes archetypal rockstar excesses with everyday monetary struggles.
Deeper in, Scott claims two-time AC/DC drummer Rudd had a “nervous breakdown and had to spend a lot of time with a shrink.” He added, “it was really bad” but “luckily he got over it quickly enough not to upset the band."
But it wasn't just Rudd who was experiencing mental anguish. Scott, the AC/DC lead singer who tragically died in 1980 at the age of 33, also described an inner desire to "check myself into a sanitarium for a month."
The musician may have been letting on more than he knew. Adam Trainer, a local music expert with the W.A. State Library, said Scott's letter shows a sensitive side of the AC/DC icon not usually seen by the band's fans.
"There is a perception of Bon Scott — especially from the lyrics of his songs — that he was a malevolent, mischievous person,” the researcher explained. “But this letter shows a different side, tender and emotional."
Read the full text of the letter below.
Hi Valerie, Well as you can see Bon's in Down Town Pitsburgh [sic] today. I've just come over from the west coast where I spent a couple of days in L.A. doing Midnight Special. I went to see Doug's new band the other night playing a place called La Cantino El Paso which is down Long Beach & boy he had me in stitches. He's playing really well & singing like a bird. Don't know if he told you but I rang him a few weeks ago to see if he would fill in for Phillip for a while as Phil had a bit of a nervous breakdown & had to spend a lot of time with a shrink. It was really bad but luckily he got over it quickly enough not to upset the band. We had to treat him with kid gloves for a bit but he's ok now. It's a pity, but I won't be down your way for at least two or three months. The rest of this stage of the tour is around Pensylvania [sic] & N.Y. state but being out of sight don't mean out of mind. I know I'm pretty slack when it comes to letters & phone calls but I'm always travelling or drunk or hungover or...or...today I'm shaking so much I can hardly write but I have been meaning to write you for weeks so today I'm doing it. I had to stop making phone calls when I got too much in the red with the money situation. I'm already about $130 into this weeks wages but about two weeks ago I owed the band about $70 on pay day & that's crazy. But being crazy is about the only way to keep my sanity if you know what I mean. We've worked so much since I saw you last that it's all one hell of a blur. Must have been across the country & up & down it a million times & I'm beggining [sic] to feel & look just a little haggard. I'd love to check myself in to a sanitarium for a month but after this tour it's straight to Europe & England for a month & then back here for the winter-end of the year so the next time you see me it might be in a geriatric ward. My hair looks like a busby but I'm just going to let it go on growing & be a hippy again for a while. I know I'm making it sound that life's hard at the moment but I'm not complaining cause there's always good times & we're selling lots of records & making people happy so it can't be all that bad. I'm going to go home to Mums at the end of the year & spend a month on the beach before tearing into it all again. Oh we finished our live album a few weeks ago in New York. I had to re-record about five concerts cause the vocals were not as good sound wise as the[y] had to be from all the michrophone [sic] spill from the guitars & things. I was allright (ahem) it sounds great & it'll look good hanging on the Xmas trees. I don't know when it'll be out but I'll try & get you a special copy. They might put some out in red vinyl although I prefer them in platinum myself. Gotta go baby. I just got the half hour call & I have to phone New York. I'd love to hear from you before I leave the States. Say hi to the family for me...& how was Mum...Tell her hello from The Bon. / Love you Valerie / Bon X.
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