In a new interview with NME, AC/DC guitarist Angus Young confirmed that the band's long-awaited comeback album, "Power Up", is a tribute to his late brother, founding AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, who died in 2017 from effects of dementia at age 64. Malcolm is credited as a writer on all 12 tracks on "Power Up".
"His death was a huge blow to us," Angus said. "But I still think he's there when I'm playing. It sounds funny, but I can still feel him communicating to me when I'm playing guitar."
Singer Brian Johnson concurred, saying: "With Malcolm, you've got to go back to the beginning when he turned to Angus and said, 'C'mon, we've got to start a band. There's too much soft music around. I wanna play some rock and roll!' He was uncompromising in his ethic. If it wasn't rock and roll, Malcolm didn't care for it. He's left us — but he's still there. In the studio and in everything he did. We're all very aware of that. When your target is to pay tribute to Malcolm, you just really want to do well and you don't want to let anyone down."
Angus went on to say that music provided some of Malcolm's greatest comfort in his final days, after he was moved into full-time care in a nursing home facility in Sydney, Australia's eastern suburbs specializing in dementia.
"I'd play him a bit of guitar, and he was happy whenever we were doing that," Angus recalled. "One of the last records I ever played him was THE ROLLING STONES when they were doing a lot of old blues tracks [2016's 'Blue And Lonesome'] and he just thought it was great."
"Power Up" is due on November 13. The follow-up to 2014's "Rock Or Bust" 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 2008's "Black Ice" and "Rock Or Bust".
Ever since AC/DC completed the tour cycle for "Rock Or Bust" four years ago — a turbulent trek that weathered the forced retirement and eventual death of Malcolm Young, plus the departures of Johnson, drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams — fans had wondered whether sole remaining founding member Angus Young would keep the band going or decide it was time for AC/DC to pack it in.
The legendary hard rockers postponed the last ten dates of their North American tour in 2016 after doctors told Johnson he faced a total loss of hearing if he did not stop touring immediately. He was eventually replaced on the road by GUNS N' ROSES vocalist Axl Rose.
Johnson eventually found a specialist willing to try an experimental treatment on him and he spent three years figuring out a solution.
Rudd was ousted from AC/DC when he was sentenced to eight months of home detention by a New Zealand court in 2015 after pleading guilty to charges of threatening to kill and drug possession.
Williams recently revealed that a "terrible" bout with vertigo contributed to his 2016 retirement. He also admitted the return of both Johnson and Rudd convinced him to rejoin the group.