Not Back in Black? AC/DC Retirement Rumors Rise

Anonymous source claims guitarist Malcolm Young is seriously ill

AC/DC Retirement Rumors Retiring
AC/DC's Brian Johnson and Angus Young in 2008 Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Dan Reilly WRITTEN BY
Dan Reilly

Do you have a grain of salt handy? Because you're going to need one as you read up on these rumors about AC/DC calling it quits.

As Billboard reports, talk of the legendary hard rock band's retirement started this week when Australian entertainment commentator Peter Ford shared some exclusive gossip about the band's potential 40th anniversary tour. "The suggestion is being put to me that tour will never happen and we will never see AC/DC perform again or record again," he said. 

When fans and journalists questioned Ford on Twitter about the exclusive, he stood by his story and said there was more to it, but refused to clarify. "There is some quite sad detail about it all, that I will not be reporting on, but the band/management may choose to reveal this," he said. "There is a sad story behind all this that I have chosen not to report ...boys played together privately a few weeks back," he told someone else.

If the whole situation wasn't murky enough, Perth radio station 6PR received an anonymous tip e-mail from someone known only as Thunderstruck that suggested one of the AC/DC members is suffering from serious health issues. To wit: "I have extremely good contacts in Europe that are very close to AC/DC. I have it on very good authority that one of the band members is quite ill and has returned to Australia with his family. AC/DC members have previously made a pact that no band members will be replaced should someone need to leave the band. No more is currently being said, however the particularly ill member of AC/DC's son has stated that AC/DC may well be over."

Somehow, that report snowballed into unsourced suggestions that rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young suffered a blood clot in his brain and is unable to play.

The band has yet to comment on these recent developments. 

The health issue does have some credence, as singer Brian Johnson said in January that one unnamed member had been sick. "Hopefully this year we're going to get back together again," he said in a radio interview. "One of the boys is a little sick and I can't say anything, but he's getting better. He's doing wonderful. Full recovery fully expected."

That recovery was apparently going well enough in February, when Johnson revealed that the band was mulling a 40th anniversary tour and had booked studio time to work on its 16th studio album. "I think we’ll be going into the studio in May in Vancouver. Which means, we should be getting ready," he said. "It's been 40 years of the band's existence. So I think we're gonna try to do 40 gigs, 40 shows, to thank the fans for their undying loyalty. I mean, honestly, our fans are just the best in the world, and we appreciate every one of them. So, like I said, we'll have to go out, even though we're getting a bit long in the tooth. You know what?! It's been four years [since our last tour], and I'm really looking forward to it." 

Other reports claim that the band, which formed in 1973, has six weeks of studio time booked in May, as Johnson said. AC/DC's last album was 2008's Black Ice, which led to a massively successful tour by the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, whose catalog finally came to iTunes a couple of years ago. Hopefully they'll comment on these retirement reports soon.

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