Bon Scott Tour Letter Bought by Australian Government
A letter written by Bon Scott during AC/DC’s tour of the U.S. in 1978 has been bought by the Australian government, with a state librarian arguing that it changes perceptions of the late singer.
The note was written to Scott’s girlfriend Valerie, and detailed the highs and lows of life on the road. He wrote about owing the band money because he overspent his allowance, drummer Phil Rudd’s mental health issues and of wanting to check himself into a sanitarium.
The letter had a reserve price of $6,500 but sold in January for $14,000; the Western Australia Government was recently confirmed as the buyer by PerthNow.com. Scott and his family moved to the state from Scotland and settled in the Spearwood district of Perth. He was active in the music community from the '60s until his death in 1980 at the age of 33.
“There is a perception of Bon Scott – especially from the lyrics of his songs – that he was a malevolent, mischievous person,” said Dr. Adam Trainer, a music expert with the WA State Library. “But this letter shows a different side, tender and emotional.”
He added that the letter demonstrated how AC/DC were struggling financially, despite their increasing success. “It also shows that bands have a lot of other people – like agents, managers and venue operators – who would also be taking a cut,” he said.
Writing on hotel notepaper, Scott apologized to Valerie for not contacting her earlier, saying he was “always traveling or drunk or hungover or ... or ... today I'm shaking so much I can hardly write… I had to stop making phone calls when I got too much in the red with the money situation. I'm already about $130 into this week's wages, but about two weeks ago I owed the band about $70 on payday, and that's crazy. But being crazy is about the only way to keep my sanity, if you know what I mean.”