AC/DC’s Angus Young on His Brother Malcolm, Playing With Axl Rose + Cliff Williams’ Retirement
AC/DC have enjoyed a storied career, but the Rock or Bust album cycle has provided many challenges for the band. Guitarist Malcolm Young stepped away from the group prior to the recording of the disc while dealing with dementia, vocalist Brian Johnson had to step away when doctors revealed he risked permanent hearing loss if he continued to tour and bassist Cliff Williams recently revealed he was likely retiring at the end of the tour cycle. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, guitarist Angus Young addressed some of the issues with his bandmates as well as his thoughts on the band's future.
Speaking about his brother Malcolm Young, Angus reveals that it was Malcolm's drive that convinced him to continue with the group into their Rock or Bust album. "Malcolm was always one to battle through," says Angus. "He would look at me in times of crisis and go, 'We'll just go on in and do some work. We'll sit and write songs.' He had that drive, and I feel obligated to keep it going, maybe because I was there in the beginning with him." As for Malcolm's current status, the guitarist says, "It's hard to communicate. I do pass on messages. I can't be 100 percent sure it goes in there. But I let him know there are a lot of people missing him."
Since Johnson's exit, the band has soldiered on with Axl Rose handling vocal duties. Young likens Axl to more of a Bon Scott-style singer, and calls him a "rock and roll character." But he adds that Rose is able to flip his vocal range when needed and is easily as able to handle the Bon Scott songs as he is the higher register Brian Johnson tracks.
As for bassist Cliff Williams' recent revelation that he was likely retiring at the end of the band's touring, Young stated that this was something that had been in the works for a while. "Cliff made it known before we'd even started touring – this would be his last," stated Young.
With touring starting to wind down a bit on the Rock or Bust cycle, Young admits he doesn't know what the future holds. "We were committed to finishing the tour. Who knows what I'll feel after? When you sign on and say, 'I'm gonna do this and that,' it's always good to say at the end of it, 'I've done all I said I would do,'" says the guitarist. "That was always the idea, especially when we were younger – me, Malcolm, Bon. You had to show up and be on time. You'd be playing in a pub in the afternoon. Then late at night, you'd be playing a club. You got into that habit: 'If we don't play, we don't eat.'"
To read more of Angus Young's interview, check out the post at Rolling Stone.
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