Johnson recalls the encounter in his new book, The Lives of Brian, which arrives on Oct. 25. He was touring as the singer of Geordie at the time and arrived for a club show to find Scott’s pre-AC/DC band Fang wrapping up their opening set.
“He was one of the wildest-looking cats that I’d ever seen,” Johnson recalls. “Coconut-bob hair. Abe Lincoln beard. He looked like an elf. But, fuck me, the guy could sing. What he was singing wasn’t rock ‘n’ roll though. It was more like … prog-folk. Along the lines of Jethro Tull’s Living in the Past. Only proggier. And folkier. At one point, he even whipped out a wooden recorder and started to play in a way that would have brought tears to the eyes of Mrs. Patterson, my old teacher.”
Impressed, Johnson asked a fan in the crowd what Scott’s name was, even though he admits Fang’s brand of music “wasn’t really my cup of tea.”
Later that evening, Johnson and his bandmates heard a tap at the window of the bed and breakfast where they were staying. Fang’s tour bus had broken down, leaving the band stranded in the middle of a cold, sleet-filled night. Taking care not to wake their strict landlady, Geordie snuck in their fellow musicians through the window to offer them shelter until their vehicle was repaired.
“I never saw Bon again, I’m very sorry to say,” Johnson concludes, noting that he was too drunk to remember much from that evening. “But it’s so strange to me that our fates entwined on that one night on the Torquay seafront in the freezing cold. I wish that I could have got to know him better.”
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