BRIAN JOHNSON Says ‘When MALCOLM YOUNG Left AC/DC, The Heart Of The Band Stopped Beating’

Malcolm Young Brian Johnson

Since its formation in 1973, AC/DC has been one of the most iconic and influential hard rock bands in history. With hits like “Back in Black” and “Highway to Hell,” the band has become synonymous with great music and a fierce dedication to their craft.

However, when founding guitarist Malcolm Young stepped away from the band in 2014 due to ill-health, many fans feared that AC/DC‘s heart had stopped beating. But despite this setback, the band soldiered on, with Young‘s nephew Stevie Young stepping into his uncle’s role and helping carry the torch for this legendary rock group. Young passed away on November 18, 2017.

Writing in his just-published memoir The Lives Of Brian, Johnson mourns the guitarist’s passing.

“He was just sixty-four when the dementia that he’d been battling for years finally got the better of him,” he writes. “A truly awful day.”

“When Malcolm left AC/DC in 2014, the heart of the band stopped beating. To this day, I miss him more than I could ever put into words. He never missed a trick, from a band member’s performance to a crew member’s well-being. I don’t know how he did it. He had his demons, but he beat them, and he beat them good. His guitar playing was masterful. And behind that powerful sound, there was a subtlety that music critics could never understand. Standing to his right onstage, I could only ever marvel at the man. But I kept my admiration to myself for the most part because he wasn’t the kind of guy who enjoyed taking a compliment.

“It was hard to see Angus struggle with such grief,” Johnson added. “He and Malcolm weren’t twins, but they could have been.”

AC/DC‘s latest studio album, Power Up, was released in November 2020. The LP features AC/DC‘s current lineup of Brian Johnson (vocals), Phil Rudd (drums), Cliff Williams (bass), Angus Young (guitar) and Stevie Young (guitar). It was recorded over a six-week period in August and September 2018 at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver with producer Brendan O’Brien, who also worked on 2008’s Black Ice and 2014’s Rock Or Bust.