Bon Scott is certainly one of the most individual and style-defining rock singers of the 20th century - even though his time with AC/DC only lasted a little more than half a decade. However, the hard rock shouter had already left his musical mark before joining the now legendary Australian outfit: After the breakup of The Valentines, he became the lead singer of the band Fraternity in 1971. The box set "Seasons Of Change - The Complete Recordings 1970-1974" now makes all their material available on three CDs for the first time.
Victor Marshall looks very young - more like a student than a discoverer and preserver of a largely forgotten chapter of Australian music history. In Fraternity's active days, his parents were probably still playing rubber mitts. With a haircut that Brian Connolly would envy, he still looks like he's tumbled straight out of the early 70s and into the present day. Marshall was the driving force behind the release of the Fraternity box set, which contains the band's two regular albums plus bonus tracks, as well as previously unreleased studio recordings that have been compiled into a third album under the title "Second Change". According to him, it came about by chance: "I was helping out at the South Australian Music Hall of Fame. One night Fraternity were being inducted. I had been a fan of the band for a long time and had been collecting newspaper clippings about them. When I actually met them, I asked them about a lot of things I'd read in books, and they said very little of it was true. So I started interviewing them all. That turned into a book. It was in that context that I met their manager Hamish Henry, who was one of the biggest Australian festival makers at the time and also manager of Focus and the Pink Fairies. He had a lot of unreleased material that even the band themselves didn't know about. It was like a dream. I wanted to give the band back their history."
Undoubtedly an exciting project for avid hunters and collectors, but how many of the general music listening public would still be interested in this group today had Bon Scott not been their lead singer? Even Marshall admits that the band would be completely forgotten outside of Australia without the famous frontman: "But Fraternity just weren't Bon Scott alone. The talent was very evenly distributed. The bandleaders were Bruce Howe and Mick Jurd. They were Australia's number one band at the time. Sure, they are most remembered as the first stop for the future AC/DC singer. However, they would be remembered in Australia even without AC/DC."