Brian Johnson: Chris Slade Had to Have Known He Wasn’t in AC/DC
Rock 'n' roll powerhouse AC/DC are back and better than ever with their new song "Shot in the Dark." In anticipation of their upcoming studio album Power Up, frontman Brian Johnson and bassist Cliff Williams spoke with Loudwire Nights about their pre-pandemic rehearsals, former drummer Chris Slade and more.
"Who would've thunk?" Johnson laughed, regarding the band's reunion. "But here we are, and we're pretty proud of it. Three years ago, it might not have been possible. But the bond in the band is so strong that, some may say it's inevitable, but the thing is we're just very happy that we're here now."
Three years ago, it definitely didn't seem possible. The middle of AC/DC's Rock or Bust tour saw Johnson step down as frontman because he risked losing his hearing. Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose offered his voice so they could carry out the rest of the tour, and then Williams decided that run would be his last.
The following year, Angus Young lost both of his brothers — George Young, who produced many of the band's albums, and Malcolm Young within a few weeks of each other.
"The opportunity to be with the guys again and get that feeling of playing together, I couldn't pass it up," Williams chimed in.
Photos started leaking of Angus and Stevie Young, Johnson and Phill Rudd standing outside of a studio in Vancouver in late 2018, creating speculation that the band were working on a new album together again.
Two years later, they've officially announced that Power Up is on the way, which you can pre-order now. But with a new album begs the question — are they going to tour behind it when it is safe to do so, despite Johnson's hearing?
"Just before all this [COVID-19] stuff hit, we all gathered in Holland and we rehearsed for about two-and-a-half to three weeks," Johnson said. "We powered it up to make sure that everything was going well, I had these new fantastic... technology is fantastic, things have come on and I've had this new equipment, which is tremendous."
"And off we went, and it was just fantastic, with the five of us in there just letting it fly, just letting it scream. Once again, there was electricity in the room. There was such a vibe and we just knew it had to be," the vocalist continued. "And we got stopped dead in our tracks."
Chris Slade, who played a four-album stint in AC/DC in the early '90s and also filled in for Rudd on the Rock or Bust tour, was apparently unaware of the reunion up until recently. As of this past August, he claimed that he was still the band's drummer, to his knowledge. However, Rudd was announced as the drummer on the album.
"That's the first I've heard of this, I would imagine Chris would've known," Johnson said. "Chris stood in for Phil very admirably, did a great job. But as you know, Phil got himself into some trouble. But he's AC/DC's drummer, really, he always has been."
To hear more about the album, including Malcolm Young's songwriting contributions and how the members felt when their secret studio sessions were uncovered, listen to the full interview above.
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