who is Joe Fury?

Classic Rock - - Bon Scott -

Joe Fury operated – or at least was known by or has been re­ferred to – un­der var­i­ous aliases: Joe King, Joe Sil­ver, Joe Furey and more. In writ­ten cor­re­spon­dence with me, Sil­ver Smith fre­quently re­ferred to him as ‘Jou’. Just like Alis­tair Kin­n­ear, the reclu­sive even apoc­ryphal Joe has be­come a sort of bo­gey­man in the Bon Scott story. In three years of writ­ing Bon, in­for­ma­tion about him was very hard to come by. I could only gather that on his re­turn to Aus­tralia from liv­ing abroad in the early 1980s, Joe played bass in var­i­ous bands and later gigged reg­u­larly with a band in Syd­ney called Rough Jus­tice. He got mar­ried, moved on and fell off the radar. No one I spoke to who knew Joe or “Joey” could re­mem­ber his real last name – or wanted to tell me.

Then, in Septem­ber 2016, I had a break­through and fi­nally made con­tact with Joe. To­day he runs a garage busi­ness in New South Wales, but in the late 70s and early 80s he was a back­stage fix­ture in the in­ter­na­tional live-mu­sic scene, work­ing as a roadie for UFO, Wild Horses and even Lit­tle River Band.

Of Ital­ian her­itage, his real name is Joe Furi. He told me his “orig­i­nal fam­ily back­ground was not ter­ri­bly en­joy­able”, which was partly why he changed his name to Fury.

Joe said he never read Clin­ton Walker’s book nor Ge­off Bar­ton’s Clas­sic Rock ar­ti­cle con­tain­ing the al­le­ga­tions made about him by Paul Chap­man. He wasn’t im­pressed: “It’s the great­est amount of drivel and crap I’ve ever read… I don’t know where [Bar­ton] is now, but if he’d said that [to me] at the time he would have got a smack in the fuck­ing head.”

He wasn’t even aware sug­ges­tions had been made that he was Alis­tair Kin­n­ear. He knew noth­ing of Alis­tair’s 2005 state­ment to the press. As­ton­ish­ingly, he was to­tally obliv­i­ous to the fact that Alis­tair was dead.

As Joe put it drily, he’d been oc­cu­pied with “other things than fol­low­ing late 70s rock’n’roll”.

Bon and Joe had be­come friends back in Syd­ney in early 1978. When soon af­ter­wards Bon and Sil­ver broke up/took a 12-month break from each other, she and Joe trav­elled over­land through Asia.

Bon, says Joe, “didn’t re­ally want her head­ing off on her own”, so Joe ac­com­pa­nied Sil­ver with his friend’s bless­ing. Bon even paid for Joe’s ticket.

It was dur­ing this trip that Joe and Sil­ver would be­come in­ti­mately in­volved. On ar­riv­ing in Lon­don, they worked to­gether at the Tu­dor Rose, a pub in Rich­mond, and shared a sin­gle-room flat nearby, where Bon vis­ited them. Yet Sil­ver de­nied that she was in a re­la­tion­ship with Joe when Bon died.

“Peo­ple quite rea­son­ably kind of as­sume that [Joe and I] were [in a re­la­tion­ship]. We were just in­cred­i­bly alike. Like twins… we just re­ally hit it off; we had a lot of in­ter­ests in com­mon as well, quite es­o­teric stuff.”

But Joe tells a dif­fer­ent story. He says he and Sil­ver had formed “an un­usual re­la­tion­ship” where they’d “merged into a bit of an en­tity”. Bon well knew what was go­ing on be­tween them yet didn’t feel threat­ened by it be­cause, as Joe puts it, the af­fair was noth­ing more “than me sort of tread­ing wa­ter with her un­til Bon fin­ished up with AC/DC”. He pre­sented “no chal­lenge to Bon and Sil­ver be­ing the cou­ple”.

“Friends of mine said, ‘What the fuck are you do­ing, you’re go­ing to get killed. You’re screw­ing AC/DC’s lead singer’s fuck­ing girl­friend. How long do you ex­pect to live [laughs]?’ Look­ing back on it a cou­ple of years later [af­ter his death], I thought, ‘Jeez, I’m sur­prised he didn’t fuck­ing hit me over the head with a base­ball bat’ [laughs].”

Sil­ver, says Joe, was Bon’s true soul­mate, the woman with whom he might have re­turned to Aus­tralia to set­tle down.

“If you saw the two [of them] to­gether, they were like an old cou­ple even back then when they weren’t very old. Bon al­most had the slip­pers and the pipe out and she’d be mak­ing him a cup of tea. It was that sort of re­la­tion­ship. It had none of that rock hys­te­ria, fuck­ing fame, show­biz [el­e­ment to it], any­thing at all. Bon could have been out mow­ing the lawn and fix­ing things in the shed and she would have been say­ing, ‘The scones are ready.’”

As for a long-stand­ing ru­mour that Mal­colm Young had Joe beaten up af­ter

Bon’s death, for rea­sons un­known, it never hap­pened. In fact, nei­ther Joe nor Sil­ver would ever cross paths with AC/DC again.

“It wasn’t Joe that was the prob­lem be­tween me and Bon,” dead­panned Sil­ver. So Bon’s prob­lem es­sen­tially was Bon? “Yeah,”’ she replied with a raspy laugh.

Jesse Fink

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.