Is Brian Johnson Back ? 8/14/18

More photographic evidence has surfaced in the past week that Angus Young has seemingly brought back several members of AC/DC‘s classic Back In Black lineup, whose return was thought unlikely following the end of the Rock Or Bust tour cycle in 2016.

A few days after a Canadian journalist claimed that guitarist Stevie Young and drummer Phil Rudd were spotted in downtown Vancouver, a Vancouver AC/DC fan named Crystal Lambertand her friend Glenn Slavens kept an eye from her apartment on Warehouse Studios, where the last three AC/DC studio LPs were recorded.

Slavens snapped a photo last week of Rudd on the studio’s outside deck with none other than singer Brian Johnson, who had to leave the band midway through the Rock Or Bust tour or face permanent hearing loss. He was replaced for the trek’s last two legs by Guns N’ Roses vocalist Axl Rose.

Asked a while back about the prospect of retiring one day, Johnson told us that he would know when the time had come: [“You know, retirement is like anything. A good footballer or a good ice hockey player, they don’t want to retire. But unfortunately, sometimes there’s a time when you have to call it quits.”] SOUNDCUE (:09 OC: . . . call it quits.)

Rudd himself was removed from the lineup in late 2014 after his arrest on charges of drug possession and threatening to kill an employee. He was replaced by one-time AC/DC drummer Chris Slade.

Stevie Young replaced his uncle, founding guitarist Malcolm Young, in 2014 after the latter was diagnosed with dementia and other health issues. Malcolm passed away in 2017.

The return of Rudd and Johnson, if officially confirmed, would put to rest speculation that Angus intended to record a new AC/DC album with Axl Rose on vocals. Still to be determined is the identity of the band’s bass player, since 40-year veteran Cliff Williams retired from the group at the end of the Rock Or Bust cycle.

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  • Phil Rudd has said in recent interviews that he’s been in regular contact with both Brian Johnson and Cliff Williams.
  • Johnson, who joined AC/DC in 1980 following the death of vocalist Bon Scott, told the Sunday Times in 2016 about his hearing loss that it was getting “harder and harder to hear the guitars, even hear the keys, and I was basically going on muscle memory.”
  • But Johnson told fans in an open letter two years ago that he intended to solve his hearing problem and continue recording and touring, saying, “While the outcome is uncertain, my attitude is optimistic.”