Slade quit AC/DC for 'stupid pride'

Drummer Chris Slade has revealed he quit AC/DC in 1994 as a result of "stupid pride" – and he'd react differently if the situation rose again.

The Welshman was with the Aussie giants for five years, appearing on 1990 album The Razor’s Edge and playing their headline set at Monsters Of Rock the following year.

But he resigned just as the band were gearing up to record Ballbreaker in 1995 after an argument with mainman Malcolm Young, which led to Phil Rudd’s second stint behind the kit.

Slade tells Music Radar: “I’d been doing demos with the guys in London for two months, when Malcolm called and said they wanted to give Phil a try. I said, ‘That’s me out then – I’m gone.’ Mal said, ‘No, we want to keep you on. We don’t even know if Phil can play.’ I told him that was his problem now.”

He recalls his attitude at the time was “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and adds: “They wanted to keep me on for months and months, and that didn’t feel right. I resigned the next day.”

But he wouldn’t make the same decision now. “If that was my son I’d say, ‘Just sit there – they’ll come back to you.’ To be honest I think they would have. But they’re very proud themselves, and they wouldn’t come back now.”

Slade has warm memories of his time with AC/DC, and remains friends with them. “It was an honour and a privilege to play with those guys,” he says. “People always ask me what I did when things went wrong on stage, but nothing ever went wrong. They were like clockwork, like a machine. What a wonderful experience.”

During his 50-year career the drummer has played with members of Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, David Gilmour, Uriah Heep and Asia, among others. He now leads his own band, Chris Slade Timeline, and says the secret of his longevity is “a combination of your people skills and your drumming skills.

“You’ve got to get on with people,” he insists. “If you’re an arsehole you won’t get work after the first tour. Look at Jimmy Page – he’s a very humble guy. He doesn’t walk around thinking he’s Jimmy Page; he’s just a nice guy.”

AC/DC have just completed work on the follow-up to 2008 album Black Ice, although Malcolm Young has been sidelined by illness. Current drummer Rudd last week said: “We’re happy to have it done, and it’s all very good.”

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.