DETROIT, March 7 (UPI) -- The Australian band AC/DC has spent much of the past 30 years irreverently traipsing down a rock 'n' roll ``Highway to Hell.'' But the quintet doesn't necessarily view its forthcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a heavenly achievement.
"It's nice that it's been offered, but we've been rejected before as well," says guitarist Malcolm Young, who co-founded the group with his older brother and fellow guitarist Angus Young in 1973 in Sydney, where the family had emigrated from its native Scotland. "We've been around 30 years, y'know? So me and Angus certainly aren't too impressed with it all. But we'll do it because we don't want to be (jerks).
"It would be nice if you just got the award and that was it. To me it's just another party for the business. You're wearing tuxedos; it's got bugger all to do with rock 'n' roll -- real rock 'n' roll."
Angus Young, of course, is best known for the schoolboy outfit he wears on stage and in band photos. His brother hopes that's what he'll choose to wear at the induction ceremony, which takes place Monday night at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City and will be taped for broadcast March 16 on VH1.
"What we've been having a chat about; `Not getting a suit, are you Angus?'," Malcolm Young, 50, says. "I hope he wears his school uniform; that would be brilliant. But it's up to Angus."
AC/DC -- which will be inducted by Aerosmith's Steven Tyler -- is being joined in the Hall of Fame class of 2003 by the Clash, Elvis Costello & the Attractions, the Police and the Righteous Brothers. Record executive Mo Austin and sidemen Benny Benjamin, Floyd Cramer and Steve Douglas are also being inducted.
Rock 'n' roll stardom was in the Young's lineage even before they formed AC/DC; their older brother George, who produced the group's early albums, enjoyed hits such as "Friday on My Mind" with his band, the Easybeats. AC/DC, meanwhile, employed irresistible guitar hooks and hard touring during the '70s to gradually make its way towards platinum status.
Even the death of flamboyant singer Bon Scott -- in February 1980 after a drunken binge in London -- couldn't halt the group's climb. Adding new singer Brian Johnson, AC/DC scored its biggest hit yet with the album "Back in Black," which has sold 20 million copies while songs such as "You Shook Me All Night Long," "Hell's Bells" and the title track have become enduring anthems everywhere from rock radio to sporting events.
And even though Johnson has been with the band for 23 years, Malcolm Young says Scott will certainly be part of AC/DC in spirit at the Hall of Fame induction.
"He's always there," Young says. "He never left the band. That's just the way we are. We're very tight as a unit. You just never forget. There's too many stories with him, with Bon. It just creeps in every day; if it's not one of the band, it's a fan.
"It's great for us. It just shows you how popular and how long back it remains. The more time passes, the bigger Bon gets, in a way. I think it's great."
Besides the Hall of Fame induction, the celebration of AC/DC's past this year includes an extensive reissue of its previous albums. The first batch of five came out in February, while subsequent titles are due in stores March 15 and May 20. The group has also started working on material for a new studio album -- its last for current label East/West before moving to Epic -- and will perform a free show for contest winners on Tuesday at New York's Roseland Ballroom.
The band will perform at the Hall of Fame ceremony, too, but Young says not to expect it to take part in the traditional show-closing jam.
"It always sounds like a cat fight up there when there's too many of them up there, and everybody looks stupid," he says. "I think if we can go on and do two songs, that's great. That's what people expect. If they saw us up at the end all singing or whatever, I think it would be totally out of character for the band."