“Their first couple of albums, they were a good band. After that... boring.” AC/DC's late, no-nonsense leader Malcolm Young wasn't impressed by Led Zeppelin

Malcolm Young and Led Zeppelin
(Image credit: Ron Pownall/Getty Images) | Laurance Ratner/WireImage)

In 1984, AC/DC's Angus Young and Brian Johnson were interviewed for British television ahead of their second headline appearance at the Monsters Of Rock festival at Donington Park. When the interviewer asked how AC/DC sought to stand apart from other bands in the hard rock genre, Angus Young looked bemused.

“A lot of people say that we make the same album,” the guitarist replied, “eleven times. And really they're lying. It's actually been 12 times.”

AC/DC's 'if it ain't broke...' approach to rock 'n' roll was also something that bandleader Malcolm Young was particularly proud of. That same year, in an interview with Musician magazine, the band's rhythm guitarist stated, “Most people, when they progress, they progress up their own asses.”

When writer Charles M. Young - no relation - suggested Led Zeppelin as a band who managed to explore new areas of music while still retaining their core audience, the Young brothers weren't swayed.

“I remember once when we were here touring," said Angus, “the guy from Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant, walks onstage in Tampa and they do twenty minutes and it rains and they go off and they come back and they get to the last song of the evening and he says, 'You don't like it? We've progressed. I hope you've progressed.' Tough shit to you - that was his attitude.”

“Their first couple of albums, they were a good band," his elder brother acknowledged. “After that, man, phew. If you want to get laid back, put on the headphones and smoke a joint, okay. But as far as getting things happening and having a party, that's boring shit. We try to keep it exciting all the time. We've never put anything different on a record, just guitars and drums. We've never expanded. Other bands are playing disco or synthesizers, or that Bowie stuff, which is disco with a little blues. We could do that, but it's got nothing to do with rock 'n' roll."


AC/DC completed the second of two sold-out shows at London's Wembley Stadium on July 7. Their Power Up tour continues at:

Jul 13: Hockenheim Ring, Germany
Jul 17: Stuttgart Wasen, Germany
Jul 21: Bratislava Old Airport, Slovakia
Jul 27: Nuremberg Zeppelinfeld, Germany
Jul 31: Hannover Messe, Germany
Aug 09: Dessel Festivalpark Stenehei, Belgium  
Aug 13: Paris Hippodrome, France
Aug 17: Dublin Croke Park, Ireland

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.