AC/DC guitarist Angus Young admitted he suffers from stage fright to this day, even though he developed his schoolboy persona 46 years ago.

In a new interview with Guitar World, the last original member of the band recalled how his famous always-moving routine started out as a form of self-defense.

“That was the most frightened I’ve ever been onstage,” Young said of the moment in 1974 when he first appeared in his school uniform. “But thank God, I had no time to think. I just went straight out there. The crowd’s first reaction to the shorts and stuff was like a bunch of fish at feeding time – all mouths open. … I had just one thing on my mind: I didn’t want to be a target for blokes throwing bottles. I thought if I stand still, I’m a target. So I never stopped moving. I reckoned if I stood still, I’d be dead.”

He recalled one show when he was so doubtful about performing that his late brother Malcolm had to “assist” in getting him onstage: “Suddenly I just felt a boot and I was on,” Young noted. “And there’s this deathly silence. All you can do is play – and pray! You put your head down and hope a bottle doesn’t come your way. That became part of my stage act. I learnt to duck and keep moving.”

Asked if he still got nervous before performing, Young replied, “Sometimes it is frightening. But you’ve got to psych yourself up a bit, give yourself a good kick up the ass. Usually, once I’ve got the uniform on, I’m okay. I’m on edge, nervous, but I’m not in a panic.”

However, he went on to note that once he starts playing, it feels like he’s on his “own little cloud. … For me, the shows go so quick. You’re on and you’re off, and then you have to go back to how you are as a person. That’s the hard part, because once you go into being the Schoolboy, it’s pretty hard to come off it. I’m like two different people – sometimes three!

“I’ve been up there playing and thinking, What are those feet doing? I’m watching them to see which way they want to go. That’s all I ever do: follow the feet and the guitar. The duck-walk comes naturally.”

Young said it was still “the best feeling in the world.” “When I put the uniform on, and the legs start shaking,” he said, “I’m ready.”

 





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