Angus Young talks about AC/DC retirement following US tour dates
AC/DC’s larger-than-life lead guitarist Angus Young recently reflected on retirement, hinting to Rolling Stone that the band could be coming to an end. The band is wrapping up the Rock or Bust world tour with a show in Philadelphia on September 20. This final run of 10 dates could very well be their last. Young admitted that perhaps the band should have ended when rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young retired due to his struggles with dementia.
“That might be the case. But Malcolm was always one to battle through. He would look at me in times of crisis and go, ‘We’ll just go in and do some work. We’ll sit and write some songs.’ He had that drive, and I feel obligated to keep it going, maybe because I was there in the beginning with him.”
AC/DC has been Angus’s life since 1973. The guitarist said he’s not sure if he’ll call it quits when the tour ends.
“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.’
“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.'”
Axl Rose volunteered himself for the gig in AC/DC
Speaking of showing up on time, Angus said Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose volunteered himself to fill Brian Johnson’s shoes. Johnson was ousted from the band after he developed hearing issues. Angus said that the famously acerbic Rose had fitted in seamlessly with the Australian rockers.
“He’s been really good. He prepares himself, ready to go. We sit and chew the fat before we get on, work out what songs we want to do. It’s gotta be fun for him, and for us.
“He’s more in the Bon style – the rock & roll character. And he’s got his own folksy humor. He’s pretty quick with a quip. Axl has different vocal ranges. You can hear him one way in a Bon song. Then he can flip and do Brian, the higher register.”
Angus said that it was Rose’s idea to play “Touch Too Much” from 1979 classic Highway to Hell. The band have dusted it off for the current tour despite having never “learned” to play the song live, at least in their current line-up.
Angus Young retirement talk follows Williams announcement
Longtime bassist Cliff Williams announced his retirement from AC/DC last month. Williams cited the increasing exodus of band members as a key reason for leaving.
However Angus shed new light on the situation:
“Cliff made it known before we’d even started touring – this would be his last. Besides myself, Cliff has been there the longest, since 1977. Cliff and Brian are in the same age bracket. They like to go out, hit the pubs. They had the bond.”
The current line-up of the band also includes Angus’s newphew Stevie Young on rhythm guitar and drummer Chris Slade. Slade hails from the late ’80s and early ’90s line-up of the band and was brought in to replace Phil Rudd after his legal troubles.