Abdul Vas is an artist who loves AC/DC. I know you’re thinking: hey who doesn’t love AC/DC? But he really loves AC/DC. In fact he’s such a fan that’s his most recent collection of occasionally pornographic work is almost exclusively inspired by their seminal 90s album The Razor’s Edge. Considering his first book For Those About To Power sold out in Australia people obviously like his message.
We tried to delve into the artist’s subconscious a little further but it turns out that when it comes to Abdul’s work, it really begins and ends with the great Acadaca. Oh yeah and he hates U2, what a cool guy.
VICE: So what’s this second book all about?
Abdul: This second book is fully inspired by the 90s. Particularly 1990 because it was the year in which the album The Razor’s Edge by AC/DC was launched. I used to go crazy every time I listened to the single “Thunderstruck”. I still remember watching the video clip on MTV for the very first time and how it filled me with amazing power!
AC/DC are to me, the greatest band of all time! Discovering them at the age of eight literally blew my mind away. Looking back, I reckon that I was far too young for such an acadaca blast!
The main sources of inspiration in this second book are: baseball, chickens, trucks, cricket, Texas, and of course Australia. Although, I must say that the book revolves primarily around the AC/DC Family Jewels DVD. There will also be a special edition of the book, which will include two huge posters. The first poster will be of “Thunderstruck”, to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the video clip, filmed on the August 1 in 1990, at the Brixton Academy of London. The second poster will be a drawing of Halley’s comet. I guess that the correlation between the two is that there won’t be anything as good as AC/DC on earth until we see Halley’s comet again.
I’ve also included my very first drawing of AC/DC, which I drew when I was eight-years-old. I hope that people will appreciate the back to the roots vibe that I have tried to express in this second book. I am really happy as a lot of important people from both the art and rock n’ roll worlds have contributed to this book. I am particularly proud of the fact that Gerard Huerta’s contribution. Thanks to him, both my logo and book will be immortalised. In the end, the purpose of this book is to get closer to the Gods of AC/DC so that I can praise them louder!
But beyond AC/DC, where do your ideas come from?
I tried meditating but it didn’t help me! I also tried visiting mystical sites for a change but that didn’t work for me either. In fact, all I need to do is to play my favourite sounds. When I am in deep inspirational trouble, the only song that can save me is “Who Made Who?” by AC/DC—of course. Harry Vanda and George Young produced it— they keep on inspiring me! With age have come other sources of inspiration, or should I say artists? In any case, I have a lot of respect for: Marc Chagall, Muddy Waters, Pink Floyd, The Easy beats, The Rolling stones, Ramones, Rush, Black Sabbath, Airbourne and finally Metallica—the best heavy metal band of all times!
I am totally dependent on music when it comes to producing new ideas. That said, I am heavily inspired by Australian mice, Texan truckies, and Surinam cockroaches. I’d like to think that my ideas are very basic and yet precise— because they always come to me when listening to music. I then validate them with sketches, whilst listening to the Gods of AC/DC.
What was the reaction to your first book like?
I was terrified before it came out! As I have always yearned for recognition from AC/DC fans. Their approval was vital to me. Once released, we immediately started to receive really cool feedback. I also received letters and emails from other AC/DC fans. Most comments have been extremely positive but I’d like to bring to your attention the following two. One person said: “AC/DC does not need you or anything like this. But I must admit, your book is awesome and I recognise that it’s cool to see that there are people like you out there, willing to dedicate their lives to AC/DC”.
The second one is the funniest one. It came from a chick in San Francisco who mentioned, “According to your book AC/DC created the universe, but if this is true, they screwed up when they decided to create U2, didn’t they?”
I answered, “Like U2, bacteria and germs are groups of living organisms that exist, without needing to be created”
To which she then replied, “You’re right, screw them, who are those germs anyway.”
Yeah U2 sucks, did you anticipate that type of reaction?
It was definitely beyond all my expectations and anything I could have ever imagined. I now hope that my second book will inspire every AC/DC fan in the world. Especially those who still haven’t purchased AC/DC’s Back In Black album. For your information, it’s the second most sold album of all times, after Thriller by Michael Jackson.
Contributing to making Back In Black the most sold album is my 21st century obsession! In fact, I think that the US Government should urge all American citizens to buy Back In Black by making it tax free! By overcoming Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, AC/DC will finally finds its natural number one spot amongst all humans!
Do you ever feel like you’ve done all you can on AC/DC?
Humanity has produced horrors like the Second World War and Elton John concerts. Thankfully for us, it has also produced AC/DC’s uniqueness. To me, this is the only inexhaustible source of positive inspiration in the universe. The only one that can save mankind from destructing itself!
When I am low on energy, all I need to do is to buy an AC/DC object. And when I am really down, the only solution is to go and see them live on stage again and again! They are Gods on stage! Each one of them behind the wheel of Monster Trucks that rollover everything in front of them. No human being can stand before them without getting crushed by their absolute power!
I have only seen them live 32 times. Too few if you ask me!
If something happened and you couldn’t draw anymore, what would you do instead?
Drawing and painting may be my natural talents but if tomorrow all of this had to end I’d simply dedicate my time to coffee drinking when not collecting blues music and other AC/DC art.
Actually, I would love to have more time to collect AC/DC stuff. My AC/DC collection includes more than 2,700 LPs of different editions—including their first Australian releases—about 1,300 CDs, 300 DVDs, 80 cassettes, 26 VHS’, 53 books, 2,200 magazines, 168 T-shirts, 220 posters, and much more
As you can see, I could probably live without painting but not without AC/DC! Succeeding as an artist is just a means of getting closer to the world of AC/DC.
Thanks to Australia and its principles, the two Young brothers were able to go out and conquer the world. Without them, none of this would have been possible.
What happens to me is not important as I believe that AC/DC is always there when you need them
For Those About To Power is available now. Check out his website for more information.