AC/DC guitarist Angus Young wonders if he should have split the band when his brother Malcolm retired – but says he feels “obligated” to keep them going.
Their Rock Or Bust world tour ends next month, with Malcolm replaced by nephew Stevie Young, frontman Brian Johnson replaced by Axl Rose, and drummer Phil Rudd replaced by Chris Slade, with bassist Cliff Williams set to retire at the end of the trip.
Mainman Malcolm bowed out in 2014 after it was announced he was suffering from dementia.
Asked if the band should have finished at that point, Angus tells Rolling Stone: “That might be the case. But Malcolm was always one to battle through.
“He would look at me in times of crisis and go, ‘We’ll just go in and do some work. We’ll sit and write some songs.’ He had that drive, and I feel obligated to keep it going – maybe because I was there in the beginning with him.
“He was older than me. I always looked up to him. In the studio I would fiddle about with guitar sounds, and fiddle my way right out of the ball field. Malcolm would dial me in a big, fat sound, and I’d go, ‘Oh, wow!’”
Angus reports that “it’s hard to communicate” with Malcolm, saying: “I do pass on messages. I can’t be 100% sure it goes in there. But I let him know there are a lot of people missing him.”
Williams had told the band before the tour that it would be his last, and Angus accepts that the bassist is missing Johnson, who had to stop performing or face permanent hearing loss.
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“Besides myself, Cliff has been there the longest,” says the axe icon. “Cliff and Brian are in the same age bracket. They like to go out, hit the pubs – they had the bond.
“Brian already had one bad ear. He damaged it in a car accident. The one good ear was rapidly dropping. Each show we did, he had to get monitored and treated. It was becoming too hard for him.”
Asked what might happen next, Angus responds: “At this point, I don’t know. We were committed to finishing the tour. When you sign on and say, ‘I’m going to do this,’ it’s good to say at the end, ‘I’ve done all I said I would do.’”
On the subject of playing with other musicians he says: “You’d have to resurrect a lot of people from the dead! I’d sit down with Keith Richards – he’s a rhythm guy like Mal.”
AC/DC Rock Or Bust US dates 2016
Aug 27: Greensboro Coliseum, NC
Aug 30: Ft Lauderdale BB&T Center, FL
Sep 01: Atlanta Phillips Arena, GA
Sep 04: Columbus Nationwide Arena, OH
Sep 06: Cleveland Quicken Loans Arena, OH
Sep 09: Detroit The Palace, MI
Sep 11: Buffalo First Niagara Center, NY
Sep 14: New York Madison Square Garden, NY
Sep 17: Washington Verizon Center, DC
Sep 20: Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center, PA