Malcolm Young was already showing signs of dementia when AC/DC was working on its hit 2008 album Black Ice, his brother Angus has said in an interview broadcast on Australian TV.
“When we were writing songs together, me and him, it was noticeable,” the rockers’ legendary lead guitarist told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 7.30 show.
“Malcolm was always very organized. It was kinda strange because it the first time I’d ever seen him disorganized, being confused about a lot of things. That’s when it hit me that something’s not right with him. When we were actually doing that album, yeah it became even more prominent and then he would be confused just travelling somewhere and stuff.”
Malcolm, the band’s rock-solid rhythm guitarist, kept “writing right until he couldn’t go any longer,” but he’s now left the band due the condition. Stevie Young, Angus and Malcolm’s nephew, played guitar on the new album Rock or Bust and he’ll join them on next year’s world tour (though the status of drummer Phil Rudd remains uncertain). Angus is adamant Stevie has rock ‘n’ roll in his veins.
Malcolm, he explains, was “a solid, hard rhythm player. I would do the bit of color on top of it. Between the two of us, we tried to make it one big solid guitar (sound). Malcolm is a very strong, solid player, very confident the way he played. Stevie does the same thing.” Frontman Brian Johnson adds, “Stevie’s going to do fine, mate.”
Angus chats comfortably about the creation of “Highway to Hell”, and Brian talks of the “luck” that he rides with his all-out-rock vocals. In a Hall of Fame career that now spans 40 years, the lead guitar hero admits AC/DC has accumulated a treasure chest of unheard works. There’s “boxes full of stuff, a lot of great riffs, song ideas that we never used.”
Angus also reveals the band had contemplated quitting. But when asked if AC/DC will keep on going, he doesn’t miss a beat. “Yeah, of course. You’ve got to love it. I still like picking up the guitar, I still like banging out chords.”
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