It’s been six years in the making. Now, AC/DC is ready to power up.
On Friday, November 13, AC/DC released their long-awaited new studio album PWR/UP marking their first new record since 2014. Despite the long wait, they wanted to make their comeback with an album that had that classic AC/DC sound.
“It’s one of those albums you hope people put it on and they immediately go, ‘that’s AC/DC. That’s how they sound and this is what we know from them.’ It’s a good toe-tapper.” Angus Young told RADIO.COM’s Ryan Castle in a RADIO.COM LIVE Check In.
With the COVID-19 pandemic making a tour to support the record impossible, frontman Brian Johnson credited Sony along with his bandmates for the decision to go ahead and release the album. “Let’s do something that’s going to make the world forget their troubles for a couple of hours listening to this album,” Johnson said.
“Without getting too deep or philosophical about it, it’s been a s*** year,” Johnson added.
That was part of the reason AC/DC decided to release the record. The other part? The world needs some good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. For that, AC/DC was happy to oblige. “People try to look too deep into things, but rock ‘n’ roll is rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a wonderful form of music,” Johnson said.
With the celebrations that have occurred over the release of PWR/UP, the album also serves another purpose. A tribute to AC/DC’s longtime rhythm guitarist, the late Malcolm Young.
“This album was always a tribute to Malcolm. It’s for Malcolm,” Brian says.
“That was my guiding force,” Angus said on the making of the record. “We always spent so much time writing songs together. I had a good idea of what he really liked.”
Angus noted that Malcolm was meticulous when it came to the songwriting process. From keeping notes on lyric ideas, song structures, etc., Angus felt he had a good foundation to build upon. “I had a good roadmap to work with,” he says.
That helped influence the direction of this album and the end result is something Angus thinks Malcolm would be proud of.
After all the years together as a band, Angus had a pretty good analogy to describe what it’s like when the lads reconvene. “When you’re with all the guys, it’s a bit like a good pair of comfortable shoes. It’s those shoes you always feel comfy in,” he said. “Even though they’ve worn away, they always feel comfy,” Angus added with a laugh.
As great as it was to get the boys back together and record an album, one thing that’s on the mind of many fans is when they’ll get to see AC/DC perform these songs live. Unfortunately, that’s out of their control. “It’s hard to guess,” Angus said when asked about the prospect of when there may be an AC/DC concert again.
They’re not terribly concerned with trying to pinpoint a date when it’ll be safe to return to the stage. Instead, their attention is focused on helping solve the virus first. “My thinking is a bit like Brian. I’m just hoping some medical Einstein will come up with a magical potion and go ‘hey it just so happens I’ve got it in my top pocket, here it is!’” Angus said.
“I might even settle for the snake oil salesman,” Angus added with a laugh.
Before wrapping up their RADIO.COM LIVE Check In, Angus shared his thoughts on the late Eddie Van Halen and shared a touching story about the first time they met.
“The first time I met him was in the 90’s. We were doing a tour through Europe and did some shows together,” Angus said. “He was such a warm person and the first thing you noticed about him was had a big smile. He’d laugh and give you a big hug and was excited to see you.”
“To the music world, it’s a big loss. Those of us lucky to have met him, it’s probably an even bigger tragedy,” Angus said.