AC/DC Power Up with Returning Members
After several years of rumors and speculation regarding their recording activities and membership, AC/DC have now confirmed a title, tracklisting and release date for their 17th studio album. Power Up will strike down in the bins of your friendly neighborhood tone dealer on November 13, via Columbia Records.
The album – the Australian hard rock legends’ first since 2014’s Rock or Bust – marks the return of lead screamer Brian Johnson, drummer Phil Rudd and bass guitarist Cliff Williams to the lineup after all three left for assorted reasons following Rock or Bust’s release. Rudd was arrested for a variety of dirty deeds in 2014, and was replaced with Chris Slade – a member of the group from 1989-1994 – for the Rock or Bust tour. Johnson left that tour in 2016, with ten dates remaining, due to ongoing hearing loss; Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses filled in for the remainder of the tour dates (which were rehearsed in Atlanta). Then at the conclusion of the tour, Williams – who joined in 1977 – departed the band, calling it “a changed animal,” referring to the uncertainty of Johnson’s and Rudd’s absences as well as the 2014 departure of founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young due to declining health. (Malcolm’s nephew Stevie Young subsequently joined the lineup; Malcolm died in 2017 at age 64.)
But obviously the stray members’ miscellaneous issues have been resolved, at least enough to bang out the dozen new rockers on Power Up, the titles of which include “Kick You When You’re Down,” “Demon Fire,” “Money Shot,” “No Man’s Land,” “Rejection” and the first song to be released from the LP, “Shot in the Dark,” which finds Angus Young and Co. not altering their well-worn sound or formula one iota. Atlanta’s own Brendan O’Brien, who produced Rock or Bust and its 2008 predecessor Black Ice, returned to do the honors for the new one. It’ll be available in an array of vinyl and CD packaging options, as well as digital if that’s your thing.
No word on touring plans, as that remains uncertain territory for most bands right now, and certainly a huge legacy act like AC/DC. It’ll be interesting to see if the lineup remains intact if/when they hit the road again.