Rock and roll comedian Dean Delray, a huge AC/DC fan who has covered the legendary rock act’s songs with a tribute band and who has interviewed members of AC/DC in the past, says that bassist Cliff Williams will not tour with AC/DC later this year.
Cliff announced his retirement at the end of AC/DC‘s 2015-2016 “Rock Or Bust” tour, which also saw vocalist Brian Johnson leaving because of hearing problems (he was replaced for the last 22 shows by GUNS N’ ROSES singer Axl Rose). However, Williams — and Johnson — took part in the recording sessions that resulted in AC/DC‘s 2020 album “Power Up”. Both of them were also part of the AC/DC lineup that performed at the band’s first concert in more than seven years, which took place last October at the Power Trip festival in Indio, California.
Earlier today (Saturday, January 27),Delray took to his social media to write: “Ok last night I heard from a very reliable source that AC/DC will be touring with a new Bass Player this year. I’m not gonna say who it is I’ll let AC/DC make that announcement but I will say this, 3 year ago I had Cliff Williams on my podcast and he straight up said he would not be touring again and I was surprised that the fans didn’t seem to pick up on that.”
Dean added: “I just want take this time to thank Cliff for absolutely rocking us on the Bass for over 40 years. An absolute killer of Groove. I love you brother”.
During the aforementioned October 2020 interview with Delray‘s “Let There Be Talk” podcast, Cliff was asked if Johnson‘s departure from the road was what led to his desire to stop touring. Cliff responded: “It was before then. I spoke to Angus [Young, AC/DC guitarist] about it initially. I was at a point — and this is at the beginning of the ‘Rock Or Bust’ tour — that I just felt, for me, it was time to hang it up. I knew that I didn’t wanna keep doing these two-year tours, and I didn’t wanna hold them back, so I made them aware of the fact that this was gonna be my last go-round. It was a tough tour to finish. God bless Axl for coming in and helping us out, finish it up. He did a great job. And at the end of that, I was definitely — that was it for me. Done — just done. That compounded the whole thing.”
According to Williams, he wanted to take part in the recording sessions for “Power Up” as a tribute to Angus‘s late brother, founding AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, who died in 2017 from effects of dementia at age 64. Malcolm is credited as a writer on all 12 tracks on “Power Up”.
“If ‘Back In Black’ has [late AC/DC singer] Bon Scott all over it, for me, ‘Power Up’ has got Malcolm Young,” Cliff said. “This is for him. And it’s the band that we played together with for 40-plus years. And I wanted to do that — I wanted to come back and do that.
“We did some rehearsals earlier [in 2020] before this darn COVID thing popped up, and we had great rehearsals,” he continued. “The band was playing really well. So [they asked me], ‘Do you wanna do a few shows? ‘Sure’. A few shows. We were planning on doing that. Everyone goes home to their respective homes, and bang, we’ve been here ever since [because of the coronavirus-related shutdown].”
Cliff went on to confirm that his commitment to AC/DC was only for “a few” dates in support of “Power Up”.
“For both [my mental and physical] health,” he said. “I definitely have some physical issues, which I won’t bore you with the details of. But, yeah, it’s tough. I’m very grateful for everything. It’s been fantastic. But I just don’t wanna do that anymore.”
Williams previously revealed that a “terrible” bout with vertigo contributed to his 2016 retirement. He also admitted the return of both Johnson and drummer Phil Rudd convinced him to rejoin the group. “It was like the old band back together,” he told Rolling Stone. “It was not like starting over again, but as close to the band that’s been together for 40-plus years as we can possibly make it. I didn’t want to miss that.”
“Power Up” was released in November 2020. The follow-up to 2014’s “Rock Or Bust” was recorded over a six-week period in August and September 2018 at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver with producer Brendan O’Brien, who also worked 2008’s “Black Ice” and “Rock Or Bust”.
AC/DC has not yet officially announced any 2024 tour dates, but they are rumored to be planning a number of live appearances around the world this year.
Last November, Dieter Reiter, the mayor of Munich, Germany, accidentally let slip to a reporter that AC/DC will perform at the city’s Olympic Stadium on June 12, 2024.
AC/DC recruited drummer Matt Laug to perform with the band at Power Trip.
The 55-year-old Laug is an American drummer who has played with many bands/artists such as Alanis Morissette, Alice Cooper, SLASH’S SNAKEPIT and Vasco Rossi. Matt moved to Los Angeles after graduating from South Florence High School in 1986 and after attending college in L.A., Matt became a sought-after studio drummer.
In 2001, Laug supported AC/DC as part of SLASH’S SNAKEPIT on the North American and European legs of the “Stiff Upper Lip” tour.
In its announcement about Laug‘s addition to the band’s Power Trip lineup, AC/DC offered no explanation for the absence of the band’s longtime drummer Phil Rudd, who rejoined AC/DC for the recording of “Power Up”.
Photo credit: Josh Cheuse
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