AC/DC and the satanic panic of a serial killer's fandom: Listen now

'We got AC/DC off of our sister's sewing machine... It stands for power'
AC/DC Photo credit Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
By , Audacy

As AC/DC quickly climbed to rock icon status in the '80s, the mainstream press heard of a disturbing fandom of the serial killer Richard Ramirez and quickly dragged the world’s most fun, pure Rock N’ Roll band straight down the highway to hell.

LISTEN NOW: Disgraceland: AC/DC: A Satanic Serial Killer, A Police Man Hunt, and a Media Witch Hunt

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AC/DC: A Satanic Serial Killer, A Police Man Hunt, and a Media Witch Hunt
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This episode contains themes that may be disturbing to some listeners, including graphic depictions of violence and sexual assault.

In the mid-eighties, the best-selling Australian hit machine AC/DC somehow found their biggest fan in notorious serial killer Richard “The Night Stalker” Ramirez. But just as they climbed the ranks, the and was thrown into the center of a media firestorm around "Satanic Panic" and the inspirations of a murderer.

The connections between both AC/DC and 'The Night Stalker' can not be overlooked. The band's song, "Night Prowler," apparently inspired Ramirez' moniker, and a hat with the band's logo was for a time the only piece of evidence from the serial homicide case that gripped the Los Angeles area during the mid-eighties. Of course, late singer Bon Scott, who wore a pentagram necklace on the cover of the band's Highway To Hell album cover, was also seen as an inspiration for Ramirez who either painted or carved the satanic symbol on some of his known 13 victims.

Naturally, this led the group to distance themselves from Ramirez's actions at every turn, constantly asked if they were followers of satanism, if AC/DC stood for "Anti Christ/Devil's Children," and whether or not Ramirez was driven to kill by the band's music. "Uh, no. We got AC/DC off of our sister's sewing machine," Angus Young answered. "It stands for power."

Speaking for long enough to any of the members, Brian Johnson who took over vocal duties after Bon Scott's passing, Angus and Malcolm Young, or any other member past or present, it was evident they were down-to-earth, working-class Aussies whose powerful songwriting and easy going personalities trumped anything that the 'Satanic Panic' could throw at them.

Listen to the full episode of Disgraceland now -- a music and true crime podcast that tells the jaw-dropping stories of musicians behaving very badly... and some even getting away with murder. Disgraceland dives into the unbelievable histories of the world’s most famous musical artists. Jerry Lee Lewis committing murder? Guns ‘N Roses inciting a riot? JAY-Z’s nightclub stabbing? Cardi B’s admitted robberies? Taylor Swift’s many stalkers? Host Jake Brennan gets into all of this and more. Hear new episodes every Tuesday -- now streaming on Audacy.

Browse and follow more of Audacy's all-new stations like AC/DC Radio, Classic 70s80s GuitarRock N’ RoadFreedom RockThe CanyonArena Rock, Wake Up and Rock, and The Roots of Rock for those who crave the early days.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images