At the conclusion of their “Rock or Bust” tour in 2016, it looked like Angus Young was the only classic longterm member of AC/DC left in the band. Now, thanks to a series of photos and other reports, it appears that all four surviving classic members of AC/DC may be back in the fold.
After numerous lineup changes in their early years and following the tragic death of singer Bon Scott in 1980, AC/DC would feature the long-running lineup of Brian Johnson (vocals), Angus and Malcolm Young (guitars), Cliff Williams (bass), and Phil Rudd (drums).
Aside from Rudd parting ways with the band from 1983 to 1994, that lineup stayed together until 2014. Unfortunately, around that time, Malcolm Young’s health started to deteriorate (he would pass away in 2017), while Rudd found himself in serious legal trouble. In 2016, Johnson was forced to leave the band in order to prevent total hearing loss, and was replaced by Axl Rose for the remainder of the band’s tour that year. Meanwhile, Williams announced his retirement from the band at the conclusion of the tour.
This past summer, photos emerged of Johnson and Rudd standing outside a Vancouver studio where Angus and his nephew Stevie Young (who replaced Malcolm) were also seen, and where AC/DC had recorded in the past. Then just recently, the metal band Terrorizer reported they ran into Johnson, who reportedly told them he’s “sick of denying’ he’s back in AC/DC.
Now, a photo of Johnson and Williams working out with a trainer at a Vancouver hotel gym in December has surfaced via Instagram, stirring up speculation that Williams is back in the band, too.
At the time of his retirement, Williams explained, “I’m ready to get off the road and do what I do in between tours.” But he also added, “Losing Malcolm, the thing with Phil and now with Brian, it’s a changed animal. I feel in my gut it’s the right thing.”
Perhaps with Johnson and Rudd apparently back in the fold, Williams had a change of heart. That said, none of these members have officially confirmed their return to AC/DC, so while it all looks encouraging, we’re still awaiting a formal announcement from the band, as far as the lineup and future is concerned.