It is not unusual to see comic book artists or TV and film actors at a comic book convention. It is not as common to have a member of one of the biggest bands in rock history show up at such an event.
That’s what is happening at the Bakersfield Comic-Con slated for Nov. 20 and 21 at the Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 South P St. Simon Wright – the drummer for AC/DC from 1983-1989 – is one of the special guests.
Wright had been asked for years to make an appearance at a comic-con to talk with fans but he always hesitated. He just wasn’t certain if it was the right fit. Once he decided to take the leap, he realized the fit was perfect.
“It’s surprising the amount of people who are there who are blown away that I am there,” Wright says. “It has been really great meeting all kinds of walks of life of people.”
When he talks about the diversity of the fans who show up to see him when he makes an appearance like the one here, Wright means that the fans represent multiple generations. He believes that like a cherished heirloom, families pass down their love of certain music genres and groups from generation to generation.
With AC/DC there is a lot to share. Wright was the drummer on three records with the band including “Fly on the Wall,” “Who Made Who” and “Blow Up Your Video.” This all happened early for him as he was only 19 years old when he joined the group after Phil Rudd left.
“The members of AC/DC were much older than I was. They were like my uncles,” Wright says. “I like to think I watched and learned from them. You had to grow up quickly.
“They kept an eye on me.”
The massive – and continued popularity – of AC/DC means generally that is the first part of his life mentioned when it comes to Wright. But, the drummer has a massive discography covering almost four decades of performing. He was also a drummer with Dio, UFO, Rhino Bucket to go along with all of the solo work he has done.
The fact Wright ended up with AC/DC and earned the kind of notoriety that makes him a good convention guest started with a classified advertisement. AC/DC put the work out through the magazine Sounds of England that they needed a drummer.
Wright is often asked first about his AC/DC connection but the questions aren’t just limited to that period of his life.
“It is a strange, broad range of questions that come up,” Wright says. “Some people are still not sure about what I have done in my life so they are asking about what bands I was in.
“Then there are some people who know who I am and what I have done. They are asking me questions about bands that were a long time ago or where I have recorded one album with a band. It really brings back good memories of later times.”
Even if the questions are only regarding his time with AC/DC, Wright could not be any happier. He sees no problems with being connected so closely to one of the biggest bands in music history.
The openness Wright has with fans and even the press is very different from his earlier days. At the beginning of his career, he wasn’t as social as he is now. Wright has reached the point in his life where he loves meeting people and finding out about their lives.
Connection with people here will be even easier for Wright as he understands life in the middle of the state. That comes from Wright having lived in Clovis for years because his wife (who has since died) was into raising horses and that area was a perfect place for them to live.
Wright is honest when he says that he’s not sure if he ever stopped in Bakersfield during his drive up the Valley from Los Angeles to the Fresno area. Now he will be able to add a stop here to that list.
Joining Wright as special guests for the two-day event will be actress and activist Chase Masterson; comic artist Larry Hama; artist/inker Sam de la Rosa; actress Diane Salinger; and Disney artist Mike Royer.
Hours of the convention are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day. Admission for those 12 and older is $10 for one day and $16 for both. There is no charge for those under the age of 12. There is a $5 charge for parking.
For more information on the Bakersfield Comic-Con go to bakersfieldcomiccon.com.