AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams will no longer be back in black as the 66-year old confirmed his retirement on Tuesday.

The news of Williams hanging up his bass comes during a tumultuous time for the group. During the last couple of years, AC/DC has seen the ousting (or medical leave, depending on who you ask) of lead singer Brian Johnson, Malcolm Young’s departure due to dementia, and Phil Rudd’s legal problems.  

“It's time for me to step out, that's all. Not because we’ve lost Mal (Malcolm Young), Phil or Brian. Everything changes,” Williams said. “I’m ready to get off the road and do what I do in between tours…It's just my time. I'm happy I just need family time, just chill out and not do this."

Williams continued, “I couldn't have asked for anything more -- being with the people I'm with and have been, being in this situation with this band, playing this music.”

The band had just concluded their “Rock or Bust” tour with Axl Rose on lead vocals and Angus Young on guitar, still donning the schoolboy outfit.  

With so many departures from the band, this begs the question, will there be any future for the Aussie rockers? In a May 2016 interview with the New Zealand Herald, Rudd wondered, “Is it even AC/DC any more?” and that was before Williams retirement was official.

Unfortunately there’s no answer to this question yet as a call to the office of the band’s agent, Chris Dalston at CAA, was met with a “no comment.”

Check out Williams’ announcement…


David Eckstein is a writer living in Los Angeles.