On September 20th, 2016, AC/DC played what might have been their last show ever. Malcolm Young, who wrote many of the riffs on their most recent album Rock or Bust, was in the hospital suffering from dementia (and sadly, died last year). On the eve of that last show, bassist Cliff Williams announced that he’d be retiring. And perhaps equally as important, they finished the tour for the album with a different vocalist than the one they began with. Brian Johnson, famously the band’s singer since 1980’s iconic Back in Black, was forced to step down mid-tour after doctors told him he’d risk total hearing loss if he continued playing with them. Axl Rose, of course, finished out the tour with them. In a new interview with the Sunday Times, the 70 year-old Johnson spoke mostly about cars, but also touched on his retirement from AC/DC:
“On stage it was getting harder and harder to hear the guitars, even hear the keys, and I was basically going on muscle memory. And I’m not the kind of guy who likes to cheat. The way I look at it, I had a great run.”
We’d have to agree. With guitarist Angus Young the only original member of the band (which would be the case even if Johnson was to return), the future of AC/DC is very much in question, although no statements have been made by Young.