Guitarist Angus Young, who lives in Sydney, said his late brother, Malcolm, would be proud of the response to Power Up.
As Malcom said in the beginning, you define your style, how you play and what you are and we’ve stuck to that.
“I’m really happy it’s struck a chord with people again, that’s always the challenge. You hope people go, ‘yeah, it’s a winner’, and you hope people still like to hear a good bit of rock and roll, something to tap your foot to,” Young, 65, said.
“The whole idea was that it’s the band’s tribute to Malcolm, my brother, plus I think it’s something that represents him. It was good therapy in a way because it’s always very hard when people lose somebody, when somebody goes who’s very close to you. He’d be really proud of the album, especially here [in Australia] that it’s been well received, and George would too.”
Angus and Malcolm’s older brother, George Young, died in October 2017, a month before Malcolm’s death. As well as being a member of the Easybeats, George was enormously influential in the formative years of AC/DC and played a major role in their breakthrough albums.
“For Malcolm, AC/DC was his baby, his creation and George was always great with us because that’s what he knew best, music. Even in our youth, he was the guy that always encouraged us and was always happy to get us into a studio to do a session and play with older musicians.”
Born out of Angus and Malcolm’s joint writing sessions between Stiff Upper Lip in 2000 and 2008’s Black Ice, Power Up’s 12 songs are credited to the brothers and feature Angus’ nephew, Stevie Young, on rhythm guitar plus the return of drummer Phil Rudd alongside bass player Cliff Williams. To the surprise of many fans, singer Brian Johnson’s familiar howl is also back after he missed the final stages of the band’s last tour because of hearing problems.
The new album signals the next phase in the life of AC/DC, who feel rejuvenated and hope to soon be back on the road and playing live shows.
“We were getting ready to go, we’d even been rehearsing and were hoping to maybe even do some shows before this whole [COVID-19] thing hit, not just us but everyone,” Young said. “We want to perform in front of an audience … everyone in the band is itching to do something.”
Three years out from the band marking five decades of writing, recording and touring the world, the co-founder of AC/DC has no plans to ease his hand off the throttle any time soon.
“I’ll keep going as long as I can do it justice,” Young said. “There’s going to be more rock. It’s music that doesn’t go away. As Malcolm said in the beginning, you define your style, how you play and what you are and we’ve stuck to that. That’s what Malcolm always wanted, as soon as people heard the guitars and the vocals and everything, that’s them, AC/DC.”
Martin Boulton is EG Editor at The Age and Shortlist Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald