Slade’s AC/DC departure was ‘kick in the balls’

Former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade has described his departure from the band as “a kick in the balls” – and says that’s the reason he abandoned music for three years.

The Welshman’s five-year run with the Aussie giants ended with a phone call in 1994, which he recently admitted he’d have dealt with differently if he had his time over again.

Now Slade tells Talk Is Jericho: “I was absolutely gutted – in fact, I didn’t touch a drumstick for three years. It was a real kick in the balls. I’ve bent over backwards here; I’ve done a great job, in my opinion and in many others’ opinions. Then you get stuffed. I’d had it. I went to art college for three years.”

He first began questioning his position during the last live show he played with AC/DC. He was performing in New Zealand when ex-drummer Phil Rudd appeared at the side of the stage.

Slade recalls: “My brain went, ‘Here we go – maybe, here we go.’ Phil doesn’t talk that much and he was freely talking that day.”

But when the band started working on demos for what would be their 1995 Ballbreaker album, they accepted Slade’s offer to work with them in the studio.

“We were going really well,” he says. “I was there for maybe a month, maybe even six weeks. Then I get this call from Malcolm Young saying, ‘There’s nothing you’ve done or haven’t done, but we’re going to try Phil out.’

“I went, ‘Okay, Mal – then I’m gone.’ He went, ’No, we just want to try him out. We don’t even know if he can play any more.’ I go, ‘Mal, if I’m not doing a good enough job to say we’re happy with Slade, then I’m gone.’

“And I did. The manager called me the next day and I resigned formally, and Phil came back in.”

But he says of Rudd’s return: “You can’t argue with that. He has great groove. They grew up together. Even if he was worse than me – he wasn’t – they’d still have him back. They’re very loyal; I’ve seen it first hand. They are incredibly loyal people. Until it comes to me!”

Rudd’s position with AC/DC remains unclear after his recent legal woes, which won’t be resolved until February at the earliest. The band have confirmed they’ll tour next year with or without him. He was replaced by Welsh drummer Bob Richards of Buck And Evans during their video shoots for 17th album Rock Or Bust, released last week.

AC/DC are the cover stars of the latest edition of Classic Rock Magazine, on sale now.

Freelance Online News Contributor

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.