Yesterday, the world was thunderstruck by bad news that heavy metal legends AC/DC were calling it quits after four decades together. Rumors began circulating that due to 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. Back in February in an interview with West Palm Beach, FL’s 98.7 The Gator, frontman Brian 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.”
Today, Johnson confirmed in an interview with UK publication The Telegraph that Malcolm is good to go, and the band will in fact be hitting the studio in Vancouver in May to begin work on their next album with a 40-show world tour to follow. “We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver. We’re going to pick up guitars, have a plonk and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens we’ll record it.” As far as Malcolm’s illness goes, all Johnson simply stated, “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.”
Also this morning, AC/DC made a statement on the band’s Facebook page on Malcolm’s status with the band. While Malcolm will be taking a leave of absence from the band, it is unclear what his degree of involvement will be with the new album and possible world tour.
“After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group’s diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support. In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family’s privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music.”
Back in February, 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.” Today, Johnson gave another update on the status of a tour stating, “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.” If the band decides to go ahead and record a new album, it will be the follow-up to 2008′s critically acclaimed Black Ice, which 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”. The band plans to enter a recording studio in Vancouver in May to begin work on the record. 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 (@The_MattBishop)(Middle Photo Courtesy of Daniel Boud)