AC/DC Break Down Their 'POWER UP' Album: "This Record Is Pretty Much a Dedication to Malcolm"
Published Oct 06, 2020Tonight AC/DC are set to release their anticipated single "Shot in the Dark," but before they do, the band have spoken in depth about their new album in a newly published interview, explaining that the record is very much a tribute to late guitarist Malcolm Young.
The Australian rock giants opened up about the upcoming album — confirmed to be officially titled POWER UP — in a new interview with Rolling Stone. And considering core member Malcolm Young passed away in 2017 just before work on POWER UP began, it's no surprise the album was done in his honour.
"This record is pretty much a dedication to Malcolm, my brother," explained Angus Young, the sole surviving member of AC/DC's classic lineup. "It's a tribute for him like Back in Black was a tribute to Bon Scott."
POWER UP was recorded in late 2018 and early 2019, shortly following the death of Malcolm. For the record, though, Angus dove into the AC/DC vaults to pull out a variety of unreleased material done alongside Malcolm. So much so, in fact, that every track on POWER UP is credited to Angus and Malcolm Young.
"There was a lot of great song ideas from the [Black Ice period]," revealed Angus. "At that time [Malcom] said to me, 'We'll leave these songs for now. If we keep going, we'll be overboard. We'll get them on the next one.' That always stuck with me. When I went through and listened to them, I said, 'If I do anything in my life, I have to get these tracks down and get these tracks out.'"
As previously reported, the new album features the return of several AC/DC members, including frontman Brian Johnson, drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams. They join guitarists Angus and nephew Stevie Young, who took over for Malcolm.
As Angus explained, the lineup actually first started taking shape during Malcolm's funeral in late 2017.
Angus said, "It's been a long, long road. But it's good that everyone came on board and we get to pump out a bit of new rock'n'roll for the world. At this time, with the pandemic, hopefully it gives people a few hours of toe-tapping enjoyment."
Johnson had left the band due to hearing loss, which began to cause serious issues with the singer during their 2015-16 Rock or Bust tour.
"It was pretty serious," Johnson told RS. "I couldn't hear the tone of the guitars at all. It was a horrible kind of deafness. I was literally getting by on muscle memory and mouth shapes. I was starting to really feel bad about the performances in front of the boys, in front of the audience. It was crippling. There's nothing worse than standing there and not being sure."
Johnson went on to explain that he's been able to rejoin the group thanks to a new in-ear device.
"The first time he came down he brought this thing that looked like a car battery," said Johnson. "I went, 'What in the hell is that?' He said, 'We're going to miniaturize it.' It took two and a half years. He came down once a month. We'd sit there and it was boring as shit with all these wires and computer screens and noises."
The singer added, "But it was well worth it. The only thing I can tell you is that it uses the bone structure in the skull as a receiver. That's as much as I can tell you."
As for the return of Rudd, Angus stated that it was indeed Malcolm's funeral that helped heal old wounds. In recent years, the drummer had faced charges of threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis. Rudd also faced murder plot charges, though those were dropped in 2014.
"[Phil] was there and in good shape. He was keeping himself well-together. He was getting therapy and sorting himself out. It was really good."
Added Johnson, "We defend Phil to the hilt. What happened up there, that's not the Phil we know."
As previously reported, POWER UP was recorded at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver in August 2018. It features the return of producer Brendan O'Brien, who also worked 2008's Black Ice and 2014's Rock or Bust.
While we so far do not have a release date for POWER UP, its lead single "Shot in the Dark" will arrive tonight at midnight ET.
"It's got that great AC/DC vibe about it, great swagger, and a good AC/DC rock'n'roll chant," explained Angus. "The title is a little bit cheeky because we all like a little nip [of alcohol] in the night or a few shots in the dark. I was very glad when the record company heard it [that] they felt it was a very strong song and should be the first one that people hear."
For now, you can check out the track's teasers below.