Tales from a Metalhead: Chapter 4: “Blow Up My Camera!”

Tales from a Metalhead logo

This chapter is part of a book called Tales from a Metalhead written by Metal Express Radio’s President Stig G. Nordahl. The chapters will be posted one at the time and you can find them all here.

I got to see AC/DC live for the first time on March 21, 1988. I missed them on their Fly on the Wall tour in 1986 (probably because I was saving money to see Twisted Sister a few weeks later on their Come Out and Play tour). AC/DC’s new album Blow Up Your Video was a step up compared to Fly on the Wall in my humble opinion, so the timing was good. The icing on the cake was that this time they had Dokken supporting them. I hadn’t had a chance to see them live yet either, and I think this was their first visit to Norway. Dokken were supposed to open for Accept in 1986, but they cancelled, officially due to the Chernobyl accident (unofficially due to fights within the band at the time, which is actually more likely). Now, they had just released the Back for the Attack album which I was spinning on a daily basis.

Record labels in the area were well aware and supportive of my radio show and I was offered more and bigger interviews. This time I was asked to interview both AC/DC and Dokken! These weren’t one-on-one interviews though, they were kind of a small press conferences with a few invited reporters. Despite wanting a one-on-one, I was actually very happy to be in this exclusive company of reporters.

Brian Johnson’s autograph

The AC/DC press conference took place in a hotel in Oslo. Angus Young and Brian Johnson took care of the press and I was led into a room to wait for Brian along with a reporter from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK). He ran a radio show called “1001 Watt” and had lots of experience, while I was new in the game. Brian showed up in a great mood and was ready to answer all of our questions. However, the other reporter didn’t let me get a word in edgewise. I had prepared several questions, but the other guy was so quick following up all of Brian’s answers that I didn’t get to ask them. This is a good technique for making it sound like a personal interview instead of a press conference and yes, I have used the same technique myself a few times later. After a while I totally lost track of which questions had been asked. When the other guy was done I got to ask one simple question: “What about your ears when you play that loud every night?” Brian replied in his delicious Scottish accent: “I just have this ringing in my ears a couple of hours after the gig.” Well, 30 years later it actually turned out to be a good question since he left the band for a while due to problems with his hearing.

Since I started doing more interviews and met bigger acts, a friend of mine had sold me his camera. It was semi-automatic and quite hi-tech at the time. I didn’t get to ask many questions, but I had some cool shots taken with Brian at the end of the press conference.

The Dokken press conference took place in a hotel just outside of Oslo. The reporters present were different from the AC/DC press conference, and unlike AC/DC the entire band was present. The band members were seated on one side of the table and the reporters on the other. I had no problem getting my questions in this time.

Picture of Dokken after the press conference, that I recently came across on the internet

Back in those days interviews were taped on portable analogue cassette recorders. As I didn’t have much money I didn’t bring a lot of empty cassettes for the interview. I think I had one 60 minute cassette for all the sessions. It would have been enough for separate interviews, but press conferences always last longer. During the interview session with Dokken I ran out of tape. Luckily I had brought my Walkman with a mixed tape in it. So I switched tapes and recorded the rest of the press conference over a tape that a friend recently had put his heart and soul into for me. I remember missing some great tracks by Y&T. Well, what could I do…?

After the press conference it was photo session time. It was especially cool to pose with guitarist George Lynch as he was probably the most rock star looking guy in the band back then.

In the evening it was time for the show in Drammenshallen, even further outside Oslo. Dokken did a short, but well performed set. This was a taste of what their upcoming double live album Beast from the East would sound like; that’s a great live album! Most of the songs they played were off their brand new album. I thought Don Dokken’s stage presence was a bit weird. Later I read that he was most comfortable holding a guitar so he knew what to do with his hand while singing. I’ve seen the band a few times later and he was always a lot more comfortable then.

One of the Angus replica guitars that was used during the show

AC/DC rarely does a weak show and this was no exception. They opened with “Who Made Who” and they had a bunch of Angus lookalikes onstage, just like in the music video. I think there had been a contest for the Norwegian fan club and a bunch of winners got to dress up like Angus and appear on stage with fake guitars. The real Angus appeared all of a sudden through the floor via an elevator midway through the song.

Brian had told us during the press conference that Angus had the flu, but you wouldn’t know that from watching him on stage as he gave 110%. I have never seen a person sweat that much. Sweat was literally dripping from his fingers while he was playing. He also had some timeouts to visit an oxygen tent backstage. I know an artist or two who would have cancelled a show for much less. Way to go Angus!

It had been one of the best days in this young Rock reporter’s life. The next day I was excited to have the pictures from the press conferences printed. I had an issue winding back the film in my new camera so I brought the whole thing to the store to have the professionals take it out before developing it. I paid for express service and about an hour later I came back to the store to pick up my pictures. The guy behind the counter scrambled to find them, but then he remembered: “Ah, you are the guy who brought the camera? I’m sorry to tell you that the film was inserted incorrectly so all the pictures were exposed on the same frame. There are no pictures. Sorry…”

Bummer!!! That was a major slap in the face…

I met George Lynch over a beer in 2008 and we had a laugh about this episode. He suggested I should have called a sketch artist from the police to make a drawing of us posing after the Dokken press conference. ….or take a new picture.

Anyway, I was left with the interviews, signed albums, a great show and a story to share with you.

It costs a lot to keep Metal Express Radio running. Let’s face it, we’re a grassroots web radio and we do this because we love Metal. Any contributions that helps keeping us afloat are highly welcomed. We gladly accept donations on our donate page.


  • Stig G. Nordahl

    Stig is the founder and the president of Metal Express Radio, based out of Oslo, Norway. He has been around doing Metal radio since the mid-eighties. In fact, running Metal Express Radio takes almost all of his time. Is it worth it...? "Most times, yes," Stig says. "My philosophy is to try to give all Metal releases a fair chance to get promoted in one way or another. As you can imagine, it can be an arduous task to listen through about 20 albums every week! Still, I know we have the best METAL dedicated radio on this planet, and that is a reward in and of itself. I hope one day the whole Metal community can and will make listening to Metal Express Radio part of their daily rituals! Yeah, right..."

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