After two days of speculation about their future, AC/DC have stated that they will be continuing. However, band founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young is to take a break from the band, owing to ill health.
A statement posted on their website said: “After 40 years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group’s diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support.
“In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family’s privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music.”
The statement followed remarks made to the Daily Telegraph by singer Brian Johnson that they will be assembling next month.
“We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver,” he said. “We’re going to pick up some guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens, we’ll record it.”
However, Johnson admitted “one of the boys has a debilitating illness, but I don’t want to say too much about it. He is very proud and private, a wonderful chap. We’ve been pals for 35 years and I look up to him very much.”
All through yesterday, rumours abounded that the veteran hard rock band would be forced to retire owing to health problems affecting 61-year-old Young.
A number of seemingly well-connected Australian sources had insisted Young was too unwell to continue.
“More than a month ago … Young had a stroke, which left a blood clot on his brain,” wrote blogger Daryl Mason of The Ostrahyun. “When AC/DC reunited at the start of April to begin a month of rehearsals, in the lead-up to new album recording sessions, Malcolm discovered he couldn’t play. At least, he couldn’t play like he used to play.
“Nothing has been officially confirmed, as of this writing, but friends and family members have been discussing what happened to Malcolm for the past couple of weeks. The blood clot, resulting from the stroke, is believed to be why Malcolm couldn’t keep working.”
Young’s friend Mark Gable of the Australian band the Choirboys told ABC Radio in Australia that Young would be unable to perform in future.
“It’s not just that he is unwell, it’s that it is quite serious. It will constitute that he definitely won’t be able to perform live,” he said. “He will probably not be able to record.”