Angus Young recalls hearing Hendrix for the first time, says he hopes to inspire younger players in the same way

He’s spoken about how formative his early rock listening was.

Angus Young and Jimi Hendrix

Images: Scott Legato / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty

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AC/DC’s Angus Young has spoken about the relationship between his approach to performance and his formative rock-listening years – specifically the influence of Jimi Hendrix and Cream on his teenage mind, and his guitar-playing career.

Speaking to Anders Bøtters’ interview show Tiny TV, Young was asked what drives him musically, to which he responded: “When we were younger, that’s where a lot of it all goes back to, at that point — like when I was an early teenager; 13 or 14. Music excited me, still at that age. And I think back, in my time, what I liked music-wise, I had to wait up all night. I would be there all night, and then at about two o’clock in the morning, there was a man on the radio, and he would play rock music of the time. He was an American man. And I had a little radio, and I would sit there in my bed and wake up just for this guy. And he would bang out the latest stuff – I heard Hendrix on there, I heard cream – people like this. And later on, you started to get your Led Zeppelin and bands like that.”

Through all of the 1960s rock Young heard at that age, there’s one track that stuck out in his memory: “When I heard Purple Haze, boy, that was it,” he said. “I was so excited. And then I thought, ‘How am I gonna find out about Jimi Hendrix?’ I was out walking anywhere. I went up to a magazine store, and I’m trying to look if they’ve got a magazine from England, ‘cause I knew he was in London. And I found a little picture of this guy with a guitar, and I was going, ‘Wow! I wanna look that cool.’”

He went on to explain how the excitement of sitting up with a small radio waiting for some Hendrix to be played is what he always tries to channel when he performs. “I refer to that my whole life,” he said. “When I get on a stage, it’s the same thing. I get on a stage and I play, I’m playing to the new kid who’s 13, 14 who’s never seen me before. And I go, ‘Okay, a lot of these older ones out there, they’ve seen me before. They know what you’re about. But that new kid, he’s not seen me before.’ And I’m going, ‘I’m gonna impress him. I’m gonna play for him.’ And it pumps you up. That’s all I need to do. I see some younger faces, and I go, ‘Here I come.’”

His comments follow the release of AC/DC’s comeback record PWR UP, which arrived last Friday. It featured the return of vocalist Brian Johnson, as well as drummer Phil Rudd and Cliff Williams. Taking on second guitar duties from the late Malcolm Young on the record is his nephew, Stevie Young.

You can take a look at the full interview below.

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