Malcolm Young leaves AC/DC, band will release new album in December

A statement on the band's website said that Young is leaving the band for health reasons but that Malcolm and Angus Young's nephew Stevie Young will be playing rhythm guitar on the new album 'Rock or Bust' and will be touring with the band in 2015.

Jan Pitman/AP
AC/DC members Brian Johnson (l.), Malcolm Young (second from l.), Phil Rudd (center), Angus Young (second from r.), and Cliff Williams (r.) perform on stage during a concert in Munich, Germany.

AC/DC member Malcolm Young is reportedly leaving the band after more than four decades, and the group will be releasing a new album later this year.

“[New album] ‘Rock or Bust’ is the first AC/DC album in the band’s 41 year history without founding member Malcolm Young on the recordings,” a statement on the band’s website reads. “Earlier this year AC/DC released a statement explaining that due to illness, Malcolm would be taking a break from the band. Unfortunately, due to the nature of Malcolm’s condition, he will not be returning to the band.”

According to the statement, Stevie Young, nephew of AC/DC members Malcolm and Angus Young, will play rhythm guitar on “Rock or Bust” and will tour with the band in 2015. “Rock or Bust” will be released on Dec. 2. 

AC/DC was founded by siblings Angus and Malcolm Young and also includes of Cliff Williams on bass guitar, singer Brian Johnson, and Phil Rudd on drums. The band released its debut album, “High Voltage,” internationally in 1976 and its famous albums “Highway to Hell” and “Back in Black” in 1979 and 1980, respectively.

As for the band’s future, Michael Molenda, editor-in-chief of Guitar Player magazine, told USA Today that he thinks AC/DC will bounce back from Malcolm Young’s departure.

"Malcolm Young has been a critical element of the AC/DC guitar sound for decades,” Molenda said. “His edgy tone and punch-in-the-face grooves pretty much define what hard-rock guitarists should aspire to. But the Young family has always been resilient ... I'm sure [Stevie] knows what his uncles Malcolm and Angus expect. He may even bring a slightly new attitude to the guitar party.”

Meanwhile, Guardian writer Michael Hann honored Malcolm Young’s contributions to the band and to rock music in general.

“[Malcolm Young] was the heartbeat of AC/DC, the very core of the band’s unyielding, unrelenting, implacable throb,” he wrote. “Malcolm Young was the master of making as little as necessary do as much as possible. The band’s music was low input, high impact, so to speak… Oh, Malcolm Young, you will be missed.”

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