Legendary heavy metal act AC/DC have officially announced their new album Rock or Bust which is due out on December 2. The album was produced by Brendan O’Brien and mixed by Mike Fraser, both of whom worked on the band’s previous effort Black Ice. The disc debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and sold over 784,000 copies in it’s first week of sales. It was one of only two albums the band released that decade (Stiff Upper Lip, 2000). The disc garnered the band the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for the track “War Machine”. For some time now, rumors have been circulating about AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young‘s declining health, he was now unable to play guitar, halting the band’s plans for a 17th studio album and an anniversary world tour. Now, the band has officially confirmed that Malcolm has indeed retired from music and AC/DC. Stevie Young, nephew of Malcolm and Angus Young, played rhythm guitar on the new album. The band is set to premiere the first single “Play Ball” on September 27 during the Major League Baseball Playoffs on the Turner Sports Networks.
The band has decided to go ahead with the world tour, which could serve as a farewell run as well. Back in February, frontman Brian Johnson said of a tour, “It’s been 40 years of the band’s existence, so I think we’re gonna try to do 40 gigs, 40 shows, to thank the fans for their undying loyalty,” Johnson stated. “I mean, honestly, our fans are just the best in the world, and we appreciate every one of them. So, like I said, we’ll have to go out, even though we’re getting a bit long in the tooth. That would be a wonderful way to say bye-bye. We would love to do it – but it’s all up in the air at the moment.” The band will go ahead with the tour as planned in 2015 with Stevie Young on rhythm guitar.
Back in February in an interview with West Palm Beach, FL’s 98.7 The Gator, Johnson said, “One of our boys was pretty ill, so we didn’t like to say anything, and we’re very private about things like this, so we didn’t wanna say anything. And he’s a very proud man. But I think we’ll be going into the studio in May in Vancouver. Which means, we should be getting ready.” In May, Johnson commented on Malcolm’s condition once again, stating, “I wouldn’t like to say anything either way about the future. I’m not ruling anything out. One of the boys has a debilitating illness, but I don’t want to say too much about it. He’s very proud and private. A wonderful chap. We’ve been pals for 25 years and I look up to him very much.”
AC/DC are undeniably one of the greatest music artists of all time. To date, the band has sold over 200 million albums worldwide and have produced some of hard rock and heavy metal’s biggest anthems. – by Matt Bishop (Bottom Photo Courtesy of Daniel Boud)