Exclusive: Angus Young, Brian Johnson, and Cliff Williams on the Resurrection of AC/DC

Exclusive: Angus Young, Brian Johnson, and Cliff Williams on the Resurrection of AC/DC

“This record is pretty much a dedication to Malcolm, my brother,” Young says of the band’s new ‘Power Up’ LP. “It’s a tribute for him like ‘Back in Black’ was a tribute to Bon Scott”

When AC/DC wrapped up their Rock or Bust world tour in September 2016, the band truly seemed to be done forever. Rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young was in the final throes of a battle with dementia that forced his retirement two years earlier, drummer Phil Rudd sat out the entire tour after being arrested by New Zealand authorities for “attempting to procure a murder,” singer Brian Johnson missed the last 23 gigs due to hearing loss — with Axl Rose stepping in as a temporary replacement — and bassist Cliff Williams announced he’d simply had enough and decided to retire.

But during the past four years, guitarist Angus Young — the last member of the classic lineup still standing by the end of the tour — gradually put the shattered pieces of AC/DC back together, aided by a mysterious new hearing technology that restored Johnson’s singing voice and brought him back into the group.

The result is Power Up, the band’s upcoming album that reunites the four surviving members of the Back in Black incarnation. (Malcolm Young died in 2017, and his nephew Stevie Young has been playing in his place since 2014) “It’s been a long, long road,” says Angus on the phone from his home in Australia. “But it’s good that everyone came on board and we get to pump out a bit of new rock & roll for the world. At this time, with the pandemic, hopefully it gives people a few hours of toe-tapping enjoyment.”

The LP was recorded in late 2018 and early 2019, but Angus raided the AC/DC vault of unreleased songs before they began and every track is credited to Angus and Malcolm Young. “This record is pretty much a dedication to Malcolm, my brother,” says Angus. “It’s a tribute for him like Back in Black was a tribute to Bon Scott.”