Blood Sweat and Beers is a rare concert experience that has rocked stages and audiences across hemispheres. Back in the Land of Oz, the guys are ready to rock throughout New South Wales, ACT and Victoria. This show is a pure assault on the senses and one of the best rock n roll outfits currently on the circuit.
The electric four-part show blisters over two and a half hours, covering the smash hits from some of Australia’s most iconic bands. Opening the show is Jim Hilbun powering through a set of The Angels best-known classics before Angry hits the stage for an explosive Rose Tattoo set. After a short break, Grant Walmsley blasts out all the hits of the Screaming Jets, ushering in the end of the show with a pulverizing set of AC/DC favorites from the Bon Scott era with Mark Evans.
Flying straight back from the European leg of the Rose Tattoo tour, Mark Evans lends some time to talk about the new lineup and a profound career in the music industry. It’s not every day you have the opportunity to talk with one of Australia’s most established musicians.
“…the reaction of the band in Europe was absolute bedlam, just crazy. The band has always had a strong following, but that was another level,” Evans said whilst battling jetlag. “We played at a couple festivals that drew nearly 50 000 people, but then also did a bunch of club dates. We were initially only supposed to do 10 dates, but ended up doing 18 because they all sold out”.
“It’s like a brand over there. Since it was summertime, as soon as we walked off stage it looked like we had just jumped into a swimming pool. We were completely soaked. I wear Doc Martens up on stage, and by the end of it I am pouring the sweat out of them,” he laughed.
Returning back to Europe and the United Kingdom in August, the band has exceeded their own expectations in terms of ticket sales. As for Evans, he went above and beyond with his personal life. “I went over there and had a holiday and actually got married, Angry calls me the eternal optimist,” he said. “We didn’t have too much time for sightseeing, which is fine because I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Europe before. The band is taking us all over the place, but a place I really want to go is China or Japan. We wanted to set up a tour there. Rose Tattoo played in China a while back; they’ve done gigs in Russia. They’ve been all over the place. It’s just staggering”.
Mark joined the band back in August as the perfect addition to an already outstanding lineup. Initially concerned of how people would react to the reformed band, audiences around the globe have adopted them like a second family. Successfully leading the first tour since 2008, Rose Tattoo has broken in new fans whilst resurrecting old ones in the process.
“I’ve known the band since its succession. I’m on record for many years saying that Rose Tattoo is actually my favorite band. There were times that it looked like I was going to be playing with them, but it just didn’t work out. Now, the timing is perfect. There are a lot of emotional investments for me with the guys that started it and have since passed on, so it means a hell of a lot”.
At the prime age of 62, Evans states that these collaborations feel a lot different to his earlier days. “They are a lot more organized. Everyone is more together with it and show up on time. Most importantly, we have grown some manners too. The band set up we have at the moment isn’t too bad. Travelling across Australia with your mates, having a nice dinner, a few drinks and playing some music. I could think of worse,” he said. “I’m 62, but I still feel like I’m 15. But at this age it’s not as dangerous. You know, you’d finish a gig on a Sunday night, you would go out with mates, and then all of a sudden, it would be Thursday. Things are much different now”.
Released in 2012, Mark Evans memoir provided an insight to his life as one of the loudest quiet achievers in the music industry. His distinctive bass can be heard on some thirty million albums across the world, but unfortunately his time with AC/DC was limited. Dirty Deeds: My Life Inside and Outside of AC/DC cleared up rumors in the air about his departure, reminiscing on the golden days. In a statement about Angus Young, he states that his devotion to the band was beyond comprehension, one of the reasons the band struggled at times.
“We were all very dedicated to it. I was committed as humanly possible at the time, we all were. But the thing is, Angus’s vision of AC/DC was about 2000 percent. He had a little glitch in his system where if you weren’t as committed as he was; it wasn’t good enough, which was difficult because no one could be. His work ethic and everything that he has done to this day is staggering. It didn’t work out for me with the band, but I learnt a lot and I look back fondly at those memories. I learnt a lot from Angus, there is only one of him,” Evans said.
His departure was the end of a chapter for the band, but Evans went on to accomplish his own career, watching the band from an outside perspective. “I always followed the band and kept a keen interest. I am a little bias though, whenever I hear AC/DC in my head, I always hear Bon singing. I think a lot of people are like me, but I gravitate to the Bon era stuff. In saying that, my two favorite albums are Powerage and Highway to Hell, and by that stage I was out of the band. I just like the sense of humor and the sense of scallywag that Bon was,” he said.
“It would have been a huge shame if the band didn’t continue. I know from the conversations with the guys around the time of Bon’s death that the band was basically over. They went to Bon’s funeral and his dad got them together and told them that he would want them to continue,” Evans continued.
“I knew my life changed when I got the gig with AC/DC. They gave me the high voltage album that I had to learn. I remember playing Soul Stripper in the hallway of the house they were living in at the time and I got four chords in, and this light appeared… that’s where it all changed for me”.
For Rose Tattoo, Evans brings the final touches to the overall sound, whilst providing a bit of laughter to the band. “You have to have a sense of humor, a sense of the bizarre. With Rose Tattoo we are in a very elevated situation, not everyone gets to have that. I think at this age you just have to keep your sense of humor, have some manners and turn up on time,” he said.
“Playing in a band is 23 hours of waiting around and 1 hour of actually playing. The weird thing with rock n roll bands is that when I’m on stage, it’s the only time of day where I get some peace and quiet”.
Blood Sweat and Beers is set to rock Club Singleton on July 27th.