Abdul Vas

16 May - 28 June, 2019


That’s the Way I Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll
Abdul Vas knew something could be louder than what he had heard, and, for a while, he couldn’t find it, but after sometime he discovered four letters: AC/DC. It changed his life. The rollicking and dazzling guitar, the falsetto scream that inflamed the unburdened realm of rock ‘n’ roll. And, from them he absorbs his grit. How is that?, someone asked. Seamlessly fusing its backbone, rock ‘n’ roll, blues and jazz, hitting new heights in extended, rhapsodic soloing, often with violent and precise oil strokes on Belgian linen. To my mind, cleaning the throat, Abdul’s life venerating this Australian rock band resonates in the brawn of the characters that populate his works. The roasters?, another one briskly intervenes. Yes, the roasters. I will tell you a story about the roasters.
I was just passing the time of day with old Abdul Vas, who was leaning on carefully laid out comic strip drawings depicting roosters, Navistar trucks and Cincinnati Reds. AC/DC fiery music was flooding the entire tavern in that neighborhood of Kippenland[1] with a green flare. Green eyes and black shadows of men hanging over his shoulder, glancing his white finger running along each paper, pointing with harsh-sounding euphoria the moments before and after the time AC/DC appeared.
– The movement of AC/DC’s fingers could destroy this damn universe, he said.
He was telling the tavern keeper about the one true God, AC/DC, in that lonely evening. The lights were dim in that lonely town. The opal-rock of his eyes were flickering beneath the ruins of his eyelids.
– When was it? someone asked.
He rolled his opal-rock eyes, music running through his veins. Rock and roll empowering their minds.
– On a day like today, as hissing into madness with his contorting mouth, I was watching a baseball game, while American trucks were blaring.
– He said that Malcolm Young, eternal God, thought, well, that he had to create universes and galaxies with living creatures among them, he paused to look at the painting of the biggest poet-warrior hanged on the wall, Camões, this is how everything we know today was born.
There were many people looking at him, in silence, in suspense, just remembering the same old story about how it all began.
– Thanks to AC/DC, all of you are here, Vas said. 
– Ride on, man! a rooster shouted.
– AC/DC is older than the rocks among which we sit, Vas replied in an enthusiastic voice. The rocks of this universe have ears and they listen to AC/DC because they make storms & endlessly thunders. AC/DC are Gods! All my work is for them. It is a long way to the top if I want to finish a painting as if you want to Rock ‘n’ Roll!
– We all know that AC/DC are superior beings and are above all, without them nothing would have been possible, said another rooster.
– The Young brothers, Angus and Malcolm, were virtuosos and in their veins ran the blues and the rock n’roll, said a tall rooster. Everyone knows very well they are the only rock band on this planet that really lives and feels what rock and roll is in its purest state.
– Yes! AC/DC is the driving force that keeps us moving forward. To be the best, the important thing is to be oneself, there are different types of greatness, but in my opinion the greatness is to feel the power of AC/DC in the depths of my soul. All the roosters looked the old Vas while he stopped for a moment.Sometimes there are moments when I can touch eternal greatness and my emotions are mixed with the power of AC/DC. In those instants of pure energy, I really feel immortal and all thanks to being surrounded by what really gives me energy. I can tell you that I have been immortal for a few minutes with AC/DC.
They were all drinking, guffawing, hiccupping while Vas carried on running his white fingers along the drawings telling us stories about how he first came to discover them.
– My interest in them was born in a very beautiful way. I remember as a child seeing the AC/DC logo everywhere and especially in rock magazines that abounded in the house of my uncle. In fact, when I saw pictures of them in those magazines, they transformed me. In the photos they appeared full of energy and euphoric, as well as in their live concerts. Then, when I was 11 years old I finally could see the greatest rock band of all time. From that time on, I knew that my mission on this planet was to dedicate my life to the biggest and most insurmountable band ever.
He then smiled at everyone who wanted a drink of vodka saying, I got my bell I’m gonna take you to hell.
Then, far away, I began to hiccup when I saw his back, dressed in black frock-coat. Maracay-air of someone who flew up the Angola coast. I approached a bench and slouched in the middle of it, newspaper on my lap. I came face-to-face with what I thought was Vas looking at me with his left eye.
– I was caught, a man shouted loudly in a deafening rusty voice, in the middle of a railroad track.
I looked around and everyone had raised on their feet. There was no turning back and my heart rushed. The drumsticks cutting the air savagely, the thick fingers of the bird-men drumming on the bar, pounding their head into the air. The beat velvety thundering stroke my heart. Tearing me in pieces.
– It’s past. It’s future. Let’s drink to it! Thunderstruck!, they laughed out loud.
Far away, in that drifting-smoky bar, we could see old Vas rising to his feet and disappearing, like a shot off a shovel.
[1] Kippenland is the kingdom of the rooster-men, created by Harry Vanda and George Young trillions of years ago. Sir Barry is the leader of all the species that inhabit this universe. As for the chickens, they are very strong and hard animals, even though their idea of life is very basic. According to Abdul Vas, they are billions of light years away from us. AC/DC members are roosters, just read their lyrics!

Tiago de Abreu Pinto