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AC/DC kept new album details secret from even their own recording engineer

AC/DC 2020
(Image credit: AC/DC)

AC/DC will release their long-awaited new single, Shot In The Dark, on October 7. It will be the first new music heard from Angus Young’s band since 2014’s Rock Or Bust album. The band released a first preview of the song last week.

As we await the full premiere of the song, it’s been revealed that Angus Young kept news of Brian Johnson, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd’s return to AC/DC so close to his chest that the band’s long-time recording engineer Mike Fraser wasn’t told about their involvement in the new album until he arrived at Vancouver’s Warehouse studio to start the tapes rolling.

Fraser only learned of the trio’s participation in the Aussie rock giant’s forthcoming album, rumoured to be titled PWR/UP, when informed by a crew member, who was setting up the band’s gear at the Vancouver facility.

“As far as I knew, Brian had retired, Cliff had retired, and with Phil and some of his problems he's had in his home country [of New Zealand], who knew if he was even gonna be allowed out of his country,” Fraser told the AC/DCFans.Net podcast. “Walking into the studio… the first day, I had no idea what was gonna happen. When I got there, none of the band had arrived yet, but a lot of their techs were there… and one of the guys said, ‘Hey, you know what's going on?’ And I said, ‘I have no idea. I just know we're here and we're setting up.’ And he goes, he says, ‘Well, the whole band’s here: Brian, Cliff, Phil and Stevie, and they’re here and we’re ready to rock another record.’ So, man, it was such a shocking, awesome surprise.”

According to Fraser, the band spent six week in Vancouver tracking the new album with producer Brendan O’Brien, who produced 2008’s Black Ice album and 2014’s Rock Or Bust at the same Vancouver studio, before moving to Los Angeles to mix the album.

“Angus kinda came into this with a lot of ideas and riffs and not too many completed songs,” Fraser revealed. ”But that was similar on Rock Or Bust. Because him and Malcolm [Young] had written tons of songs before Mal got sick and eventually passed away. So he's got a whole treasure trove of ideas and riffs and all that. So he's probably spent a few years before we came in to do this record pooling ideas together and all that, and then when he came into the studio here, he just sat down with a whole suitcase full of little demo things he had done. And him and Brendan O'Brien, who produced the record, would sift through all the ideas and say, ‘Hey, that's great. That's a really good song. Let's put that riff here’.”

“He had — I don’t remember exactly — maybe three or four songs sort of completed that they maybe adjusted, added a chorus here or something like that. But yeah, it was just basically from a stockpile of all these riffs and stuff that Angus and Mal had put together over the years. So they had to sort piece the songs together before we'd record them. They'd probably spend a day or so doing that, and we'd come in, blast off the song. And like these guys work, it's pretty much live in the studio. What you hear is what they did, what you get. They fire up pretty quick. They all work really good together, 'cause they've worked together for so long; they're a unit.”

There’s no official word as yet as to when the new AC/DC album might be released, though rumours suggest we could see PWR/UP emerge in November.

Here’s everything we know about the album so far