Angus Young on his brother Malcolm's dementia is devastating:
“Malcolm was always very organised. And it was kind of strange for the first time to see him disorganised, being confused about a lot of things. That’s when it kind of hit me — there’s something not right with him.“
I thought that at times it was not Malcolm with me. He would say at the time: ‘I have good days and I have bad days.’ Later on, when he got diagnosed – he had brain shrinkage, and he got diagnosed in America and they gave him some medication to help him – I said: ‘Are you going to be fit for this? Because it’s going to be a hefty tour.’ And he said: ‘We’ll do it. We’ll do it.’
“He was not well when we went to do the Black Ice album. His symptoms of dementia were starting then, and he got through it. I had said to him, even before we did the album: ‘Are you sure you want to do this? I have to know that you really want to do it.’ He was the one who said: ‘Yes! We’ve really got to do it.’As mentioned in previous stories here, Malcolm Young's dementia affected him, and his live performance, all the way through the Black Ice world tour.
“It was hard work for him. He was relearning a lot of those songs that he knew backwards; the ones we were playing that night he’d be relearning.”
“He was his own driver. He himself had that thing, where you’ve just got to keep going ..
“Sometimes you would look and he’d be there, and you’d be, ‘Malcolm!’ And you’d have a really great day and he’d be Malcolm again. And other times, his mind was going. “But he still held it together. He’d still get on the stage. Some nights he played and you’d think: ‘Does he know where he is?’ But he got through.”AC/DC singer Brian Johnson said of performing with Malcolm on the Black Ice tour:
“Can you imagine knowing you’re not sure about (what’s happening)? You know where you are, put it that way, but your mind’s playing tricks. He was brilliant. He did brilliant.”
The singer adds that the other band members wanted to step in and help, but they were worried about denting Malcolm’s pride.Angus also tells a story from his childhood, watching his older brother George suddenly become famous with The Easybeats:
“It was tough. But you couldn’t say anything or do anything, because it would have been like giving pity. You had to treat it like a normal day. So we did. He said, keep making music. Without any of that sympathy stuff, you know? So we did..."
“I knew my brother was in bands, but I’d never seen him play. I remember coming home from school and seeing all these people outside the house, and I couldn’t get in the house. There was all these police, all these schoolgirls … I’m this little kid saying to the policeman: ‘I live in this house!’ ‘Yeah kid, sure.’ I went right round the block then asked the people behind: ‘Can I go over your fence so I can get in my house?’ That’s how I found out my brother had a hit. My father, he said: ‘You tell no one.’ At school I couldn’t say what my brother did. There’d be some kids at the bottom of the street saying: ‘Angus, that’s your brother.’ And I’m going ‘I’m not allowed to talk about it.’”The secrecy that surrounded the Young family was present in Angus' childhood, and fixed in his early memories. For him to be so open with the media about Malcolm's dementia has surprised even some of Angus' friends. But it's important. And it raises awareness on dementia. Angus Young didn't have to front an anti-dementia campaign, just talking about what happened to Malcolm will do good.
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