4 July 2023

What do you give a visiting head of state who's also a metalhead?

| Chris Johnson
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Back in Black album

Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s in for a treat … assuming he has a record player. Photo: Sony.

What do you do if you’re the Australian Prime Minister who loves rock music and you’re hosting a heavy metal-loving head of state from a neighbouring country?

Give him some AC/DC records, that’s what.

Anthony Albanese will this week present Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo with two original vinyl LPs of Aussie hard rock legends AC/DC.

Region understands the government paid $800 to an “obscure Canberra record dealer” for two original pressings of AC/DC records Dirty Deeds and Back in Black.

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Jokowi is a huge metalhead and cites America’s Metallica as his favourite band.

“There’s no one like them, and as far as I know, there’s no band from the new generation that can write music as good as theirs,” Jokowi told the Jakarta Post last year.

But he added that fellow US bands Megadeth and Lamb of God, as well as Britain’s Napalm Death, stood alongside Metallica as great metal bands who belonged to a “golden generation” of the music.

Just how “new generation” all those bands are is somewhat questionable.

Albo might want to educate Jokowi on Australia’s contribution to the genre and some true pioneers of heavy metal.

Enter AC/DC.

The Indonesian president is in Australia Monday to Wednesday this week for the 8th Australia-Indonesia Annual Leaders’ Meeting.

The leaders will discuss the two nations’ existing areas of cooperation under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, as well as deepening commercial and economic links and opportunities for both countries through the transition to net zero.

The conversation will centre on climate and clean energy transition, defence, security, economic development, trade, investment and education – and heavy metal music.

Joko Widodo with crows of supporters

President of Indonesia Joko Widodo is a huge fan of heavy metal music. Who knew? Photo: Danic Ancil.

“I am delighted to welcome my friend President Widodo to Australia,” the Prime Minister said ahead of the visit.

“This will be our fourth meeting together. As one of our closest neighbours, Australia is building extensive cooperation with Indonesia on climate, economic development, education and regional security issues.

“Our region’s prosperity and stability require collective effort and responsibility. That’s why Australia is committed to being a strong partner to our friends and neighbours in Southeast Asia.

“I look forward to meeting with President Widodo and the First Lady in Sydney.”

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The Australian PM, known for his love of all things rock music, has sometimes been known to hand out records as official gifts to visiting dignitaries.

But he will not be the first head of government to give Jokowi some heavy metal albums.

When the then Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen visited Indonesia in 2017, he presented Jokowi with a signed, limited edition vinyl box set of Metallica’s Master of Puppets.

Jokowi paid the equivalent of $800 of his own money to keep the records and avoid any conflict of interest.

He will likely do the same to keep the AC/DC albums – if he really knows what quality metal is.

Original Article published by Chris Johnson on Riotact.

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