In a new interview with Patrick Prince of Goldmine, AC/DC's Angus Young praised the rhythm guitar playing of his brother, Malcolm, who died in 2017 from effects of dementia at age 64.
"I always used to say, if we were onstage, and my guitar goes down, you wouldn't notice," Angus said. "But if his guitar went down, you'd notice. He stamped that backbeat, very driving, very confident. He was always that way as a player. Very strong. He was the most confident guy I ever saw with a guitar, probably because he'd been playing that well since he was very young. He was always ahead of the game. And he was always on top of whatever he did. Even in the early days, when we played clubs and [cover] bars, and people would get rowdy, and go on, 'Play this song, play that song,' we’d play it, and he would just play, even if he never played it before. I'd be like two miles behind just watching him. I'd be, like, 'What's the next chord?' And he'd always know it. And the way he played. He'd always be so confident, y'know."
Angus was equally complimentary of his nephew Stevie Young who stepped into Malcolm's position after Malcolm revealed he had dementia which forced him to retire from AC/DC.
"He filled in for Malcolm on tour during Malcolm's heavy alcohol problem," Angus said. "He wanted to get himself contented, so he brought my nephew in, because he had also been playing in bands. He called him in and told us, 'Stevie can do the job, I know.' And Stevie had grown up in that style. He was always into the rhythm side, not the noodling side. Malcolm was his Bible. He would always listen to how Malcolm would form the chords. Malcolm left space between the chords. Sometimes it was what he didn't play! It always came out so solid. Yet there was also a kind of subtlety to it. Very disciplined… And Stevie can keep up in that way, to be on the ball, on the money. I couldn't do it like that. I'd have to ask to be shown again... and again. And I'd still be going, 'Now, how does that go again? How'd he do that?' To mouth that note exactly on the money like Stevie does, he'd do the next bit and still get it. It's very unique."
AC/DC's latest album, "Power Up", came out last November. The LP contains musical ideas from Malcolm, who is credited as a writer on all 12 tracks.
The follow-up to 2014's "Rock Or Bust", "Power Up" 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". The effort features AC/DC's current lineup of Brian Johnson (vocals), Phil Rudd (drums), Cliff Williams (bass), Angus Young (guitar) and Stevie Young (guitar).
Photo credit: Josh Cheuse