Angus Young: Power Up is AC/DC's tribute to Malcolm

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

AC/DC have revealed that the presence of the late Malcolm Young was felt strongly during the recording of the band's upcoming album Power Up.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the band reveal how Brian Johnson overcame his hearing problems, how drummer Phil Rudd was welcomed back into the band, and how Malcolm – who died in 2017 –  was never far from their thoughts. 

“This record is pretty much a dedication to Malcolm, my brother,” says Angus. “It’s a tribute for him like Back in Black was a tribute to Bon Scott.

“Even when I sit at home and pick up my guitar and start playing, the first thing that enters my head is, ‘I think Mal will like this riff I’m playing, That’s how I judge lot of stuff.”

“Malcolm was always there,” says Brian Johnson. “As Angus would say, the band was his idea. Everything in it ran through him. He was always there in your minds or just your thoughts. I still see him in my own way. I still think about him. And then in the studio when we’re doing it, you have to be careful when you look around because he seems to be there."

AC/DC's long-awaited 17th studio album will be released on November 13, with the album‘s first single, Shot In The Dark, being released at 5am UK time today (Wednesday, October 7). The band released a second teaser video for the single the day before yesterday.

In a new interview with the Rock 100.5 Atlanta radio station, Johnson described the experience of making the album as “a great time.”

“As soon as we walked in, there was this electricity, this bond that had been built up over 38 years since I joined,” the vocalist said. “And, of course, when the boys plugged in, or powered up, if you'll excuse the pun, and they started playing, that was it. It was a great time.”

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.

The full story behind PWR/UP has been a long time coming,  but the wait is almost over.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.