The seeds for AC/DC’s reunion were sown at Malcolm Young’s funeral

Malcolm Young funeral 2017
(Image credit: PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images)

The seeds for AC/DC’s 2020 comeback were sown at the funeral of former bandleader Malcolm Young in 2017.

In a new interview with US music writer David Fricke, the band reveal how they set past differences aside after meeting up at Young’s funeral service in Sydney, on November 28, 2017. Young passed away, aged 64, on November 17, 2017.

Vocalist Brian Johnson,  bassist Cliff Williams and drummer Phil Rudd all attended the ceremony at St. Mary’s Cathedral: at the time the three musicians would have been considered former members of AC/DC, with Johnson exiting the band during their Rock Or Bust tour in April 2016, citing hearing issues, Rudd falling out of favour after being arrested in November 2014, and Williams laying down his bass upon the completion of the Rock Or Bust world tour. But in sharing memories of Malcolm Young with his younger brother Angus, decades-old friendships were rekindled.

"After Malcolm passed away, Brian and Cliff came to the funeral,” Angus Young says. “Phil and Stevie had come in. I was glad to see Phil. He looked good, keeping up his health. He was the best I'd ever seen him.”

“I had a good chat with Angus,” says Rudd. “It's easy to get run down by your own thoughts. I was very mindful of what the band had been doing. But I was in good shape. I'm a nervous-energy guy. I've never been unfit. And we really get off, me and Ang.”

“That was a lovely day,” says Brian Johnson. “The band members sat together and talked. I'm not a religious or spiritual kind of person, but it's so obvious now that something happened.”

In August, 2018, a photo of Johnson and Rudd taking some fresh air outside Warehouse Studios in Vancouver, Canada, the same facility where AC/DC recorded 2008’s Black Ice album and Rock or Bust, appeared online, sparking rumours of a new ‘DC album... rumours which we all now know were true.

Malcolm Young receives a songwriting credit on every track on Power Up, and Angus Young has described the album as the band’s tribute to his older brother.

Earlier today AC/DC unveiled the video for Shot In The Dark, the first single from the eagerly-anticipated Power Up.

The performance video was shot in Amsterdam, Holland earlier this year, and directed by the band’s longtime collaborator, David Mallet. 

Power Up will be released on November 13. The album will be available in the usual formats including gatefold 180g vinyl – including a yellow vinyl version exclusive to the AC/DC webstore –but we're especially excited by the limited edition deluxe Power Up box, which is adorned by a button fans can press. Do so, and a flashing neon AC/DC logo lights up while the opening bars of Shot In The Dark blast out of a built-in speaker. Yesssssssss!

Inside the box is the full CD package, a 20-page booklet featuring exclusive photos, and USB charging cable. To keep Power Up powered up, duh!

The album was recorded in Vancouver with producer Brendan O'Brien and engineer Mike Fraser, the same team who worked on Black Ice and Rock Or Bust. The band spent six weeks recording in the city before moving to Los Angeles to complete the mix.

"Angus kinda came into this with a lot of ideas and riffs and not too many completed songs,” Fraser told the AC/DC Fans podcast. ”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." 

Power Up is available to pre-order now.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.