:: Alistair Kinner's recollection of the events of 19 February 1980 ::
Alistair Kinnear was the last person to see Bon Scott alive. For years, even AC/DC's most revered biographers have thought he doesn't exist. Now, in a world exclusive for Metal Hammer and Classic Rock Presents... AC/DC, Alistair recalls what really happened on that night.
In February 2005, The Guardian published a feature called 25 years on. AC/DC fans recall how wild rocker met his end' in which writer Richard Jinman quoted AC/DC biographer Clinton Walker as saying of Bon Scott's friend Alistair Kinnear: "No-one spoke to him before or after the event [Scott's death]. He just doesn't seem to Exist" The article also stated that "Walker believes Alistair Kinnear was a name adopted by one of Bon Scott's associates who did not want to be identified."
Well We've found Alistair Kinnear, and in his own words he tells what really went down on February 19, 1980....
"In late 1978 I met Silver Smith, with whom I moved to a flat in Kensington. She was a sometime girlfriend of Bon Scott. Bon came to stay with us for two weeks, and he and I became friends. Silver returned to Australia for a year, and I moved to Overhill Road in East Dulwich. On the night of 18 February 1980, Zena Kakoulli, manager of the Only ones, and wife of bandleader Peter Perrett, invited me to the inaugural gig of her sister's band at the Music Machine in Camden Town (renamed Camden Palace in 1982). "I phoned Silver, who was once again living in London, to see if she wanted to come along, but she'd made other arrangements for the evening. However, she suggested that Bon might be interested, as he had phoned her earlier looking for something to do. I gave him a call, and he was agreeable, and I picked him up at his flat on Ashley court in Westminster.
"It was a great party, and Bon and I both drank far too much, both at the free bar backstage and at the upstairs bar as well; however I did not see him take any drugs that evening. At the end of the party I offered to drive him home. As we approached his flat, I realised that Bon had drifted into unconsciousness. I left him in my car and rang his doorbell, but his current live-in girlfriend didn't answer. I took Bon's keys and let myself into the flat, but no-one was at home. I was unable to wake Bon, so I rang Silver for advice. She said that he passed out quite frequently, and that it was best just to leave him to sleep it off.
"I then drove to my flat on Overhill Road and tried to lift him out of the car, but he was too heavy for me to carry in my intoxicated state, so I put the front passenger seat back so that he could lie flat, covered him with a blanket, left a note with my address and phone number on it, and staggered upstairs to bed. It must have been 4 or 5am by that time, and I slept until about 11. when I was awakened by a friend, Leslie Loads. I was so hungover that I asked Leslie to do me a favour of checking on Bon. He did so, and returned to tell me my car was empty, so I went back to sleep, assuming that Bon had awoken and taken a taxi home. At about 7:30 that evening I went down to my car intending to pay a visit to my girlfriend who was in hospital, and was shocked to find Bon still lying flat in the front seat, obviously in a very bad way, and not breathing. I immediately drove hime to King's College Hospital, wher Bon was pronounced dead on arrival. The Lambeth coroner's report cited acute alchol poisoning, and death by misadventure.
"It has since been speculated that Bon choked on his own vomit, but I can neither confirm nor deny this, and his death certificate says nothing about it. There was no vomit in the car and contrary to other reports I've read, he was not wrapped around the gearstick when I found him. I made a statement to the police at the hospital, and later spoke to the Evening Standard, relating everything I knew at the time.
"The next day Silver came around to see me. She told me for the first time that Bon had been receiving treatment for liver damage, but had missed several doctor's appointments. I wish that I had known this at the time.
"I truly regret Bon's death. Hindsight being 20/20, I would've driven him to the hospital when he first passed out, but in those days of excess, uncousciousness was commonplace and seemed no cause for real alarm.
"It has been implied that I mysteriously 'disappeared', but in fact I have been living on the Costa del Sol for 22 years, still working as a musician, and am in touch with most of my old friends in England and in other parts of the world, so I am not hiding from anyone. What I'd like to pass on from this unfortunate experience is the idea that we should all take better care of our friends, and err on the side of caution when we don't know all the facts."
The above text is copyright Metal Hammer and Classic Rock Present AC/DC Special 2005
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