AC/DC‘s longtime engineer Mike Fraser has spoken to the AC/DCFans.Net podcast about his involvement with the band’s much-anticipated comeback album.
The follow-up to 2014’s Rock Or Bust is apparently entitled PWR/UP, which is featured in several of AC/DC‘s teasers, although there has been no announcement yet as to when it might be coming.
Earlier this week, Aussie rockers have released the first official photo of its reunited lineup, featuring singer Brian Johnson alongside drummer Phil Rudd, bassist Cliff Williams and guitarists Angus and Stevie Young.
When asked if he ever thought AC/DC would be making another album after Rock Or Bust, Fraser responded: “At the end of the Rock Or Bust tour, I figured that was kind of gonna be it — they were gonna hang up their hats. They had kind of done a tribute to Mal [late AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young], but it ended up kind of funny. So I didn’t think they’d be back at it again. But Angus has got a lot of fire in his belly, and if he could possibly put it together again, he would have been the guy that did it. And he did.”
“I remember I got the call for this record, but no detail,” he continued. “I had no idea, walking in the first day of the studio, what was gonna happen — who the personnel of the band would be. As far as I knew, Brian had retired, Cliff had retired, and with Phil and some of his problems he’s had in his home country [of New Zealand], who knew if he was even gonna be allowed out of his country.
“So walking into the studio here in Vancouver the first day, I had no idea what was gonna happen. When I got there, none of the band had arrived yet, but a lot of their techs were there getting things moved into the studio and set up. And one of the guys said, ‘Hey, you know what’s going on?’ And I said, ‘I have no idea. I just know we’re here and we’re setting up.’ And he goes, he says, ‘Well, the whole band’s here: Brian, Cliff, Phil and Stevie, and they’re here and we’re ready to rock another record.’ So, man, it was such a shocking, awesome surprise. It was great.”
“I think Angus kind of came into this with a lot of ideas and riffs and not too many completed songs,” Fraser added. “But that was similar on ‘Rock Or Bust’. ‘Cause him and Malcolm had written tons of songs before Mal got sick and eventually passed away. So he’s got a whole treasure trove of ideas and riffs and all that. So he’s probably spent a few years before we came in to do this record pooling ideas together and all that, and then when he came into the studio here, he just sat down with a whole suitcase full of little demo things he had done.
“And him and Brendan O’Brien, who produced the record, would sift through all the ideas and say, ‘Hey, that’s great. That’s a really good song. Let’s put that riff here.’ It’s just mostly all these great riffs and ideas Ang had. He had — I don’t remember exactly — maybe three or four songs sort of completed that they maybe adjusted, added a chorus here or something like that.
“But yeah, it was just basically from a stockpile of all these riffs and stuff that Angus and Mal had put together over the years. So they had to sort piece the songs together before we’d record them. They’d probably spend a day or so doing that, and we’d come in, blast off the song. And like these guys work, it’s pretty much live in the studio. What you hear is what they did, what you get. They fire up pretty quick. They all work really good together, ’cause they’ve worked together for so long; they’re a unit. They try and get as much energy into the song as they can live in the studio, ’cause that’s what they are — they are just so great live. So, yeah, it was [pretty] much the same as Rock Or Bust.”
Fraser also revealed how long it took to complete the album from the time they entered Warehouse to begin recording. “I think it was maybe six weeks [laying down all the instruments and vocals], and then we went down to L.A. for two or three weeks and mixed it. And then I think Angus and Brendan reconvened in L.A. to go through a couple of different edits in the songs. And I think Brendan might have remixed a couple of the songs. So eight weeks total, maybe.”
You can listen to entire interview below.