Following days of furious speculation that pendulum swung from retirement to imminently re-entering the studio and working on a new album, AC/DC has just confirmed in a statement that founding member and rhythm guitarist Malcom Young is suffering from an undisclosed health issue and will not be working with the band. It’s pretty unclear what the future holds.
“After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health,” the statement reads. “Malcolm would like to thank the group’s diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support. In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family’s privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music.”
Following a report Monday on Australian radio that Young was so sick that he had moved back to the country, rumors began swirling that the three-chord champions were finished. The buzz was fueled by over-eager writer Daryl Mason, who posted on his blog — under the headline ‘RIP AC/DC: 1973 – 2014’ — that Malcolm had suffered a stroke a month ago which resulted a blood clot on his brain leaving him, “unable to play like he used to play.”
Mark Evans, son of original AC/DC singer Dave Evans, sent out a series of since deleted tweets yesterday which echoed Mason’s report, saying that Young was, “Very sick,” and there would be, “No new shows or music.” He also claimed that Ross Young, Malcolm’s son, had told his father personally of the news.
UK newspaper the Telegraphspoke to AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson, who seemed to refute reports, saying, “We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver. We’re going to pick up some guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens, we’ll record it.”
That still leaves subsequent moves up in the air, including an impending tour that Johnson himself brought up earlier this year that would see the group celebrate its 40th anniversary by performing 40 shows across the globe.
“I wouldn’t like to say anything either way about the future,” he told the Telegraph. “I’m not ruling anything out. One of the boys has a debilitating illness, but I don’t want to say too much about it. He is very proud and private, a wonderful chap. We’ve been pals for 35 years and I look up to him very much.”
Malcolm Young is the older brother of the face of AC/DC, guitarist Angus Young. Though much more reserved and in the background than his sibling, many die-hards of the band consider him to be the backbone of the group. So much so that it’s hard to imagine a new record making it past the planning stages without him in the studio on a record that would be the first since 2008’s critically acclaimed Black Ice.
It is worth noting however that in a live setting, Malcolm was temporarily replaced by his and Angus’ nephew, Stevie Young, on the three-leg, six month long North American tour for 1988’s Blow Up Your Video while battling alcohol addiction.