For those about to rock, it’s been a tough few days and today AC/DC confirmed fans’ worst fears, while holding out some hope.
Over the last three days, the internet has run rife with speculation that AC/DC's rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, who co-founded the band with brother Angus in 1973, had suffered a stroke and blood clot bringing the career to one of rock and roll’s most successful, long-lived acts to a halt. Sources reported that the band would “never make music again” and retire. Additionally, a 40-city tour to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary, hinted at by vocalist Brian Johnson, would also be taken off the schedule.
With little fanfare and even less detail, the band posted the following statement on its website today: “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. 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.”
So in a few sentences, AC/DC managed to confirm that Young had suffered a health setback without giving any details, he was taking a leave from the band, and also let fans know that they were not retiring.
In fact, there are also reports that AC/DC plans to enter a recording studio later this year to work on the follow up to 2008’s “Black Ice,” which sold more than 700,000 copies in its first week of the release in the U.S. alone. In an interview with the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper, Johnson said that the band was headed to a Vancouver studio next month. “We’re going to pick up some guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes ideas. If anything happens, we’ll record it.”
While Johnson declined to confirm anything about Young’s condition, in fact, he would not even acknowledge that Young was the ill member —the interview took place before the statement was released this morning—he did admit that “One of the boys has a debilitating illness,” adding that “I wouldn’t like to say anything either way about the future.”
As far as the tour, given that it was never confirmed, it would also seem to not be happening, at least not in the near future.