Drummer Simon Wright, currently of DIO DISCIPLES and also known for his work in DIO, RHINO BUCKET and UFO, has reflected upon landing the AC/DC drum spot in 1983 in place of Phil Rudd. Wright, a then-unknown drummer whose first credits included Manchester, England metal outfit A II Z, joined AC/DC in time for the touring cycle for "Flick Of The Switch" and played with the Australian rockers throughout the '80s before leaving to join DIO in 1989.
In a recent interview with RadioactiveMike Z, host of the Riverside, California-based radio station 96.7 KCAL-FM program "Wired In The Empire" (hear audio below), Wright was asked how he came to land the coveted AC/DC gig and what it did for his career. "I was in London," he said. "I really wasn't doing much. I was in a band in London, but we weren't doing much. Somebody saw an ad in a music paper: 'Drummer wanted. If you don't hit hard, don't apply.' My friend told me, 'You hit hard, don't you? Why don't you apply?' So, I applied and I went for the audition. The audition was with the drum tech and I played three songs and at the end he said, 'Great, we'll let you know.' So, I thought 'Oh, okay.' The audition was in a really high-class rehearsal place, so I thought 'There may be something in this.' I go home and the phone rings about two hours later and it's him and he says, 'Can you come down tomorrow?' I said, 'I can't, I don't have any money.' He said, 'Don't worry about that. Get yourself in a cab and we'll sort it out.' I thought, 'That's good. They must have liked what I played.' I go back down and he meets me in the lobby and we're walking down the corridor and there are all these flight cases with AC/DC on them and I stopped him and said, 'You're kidding, right?' He gave me this smile and said, 'No.' I went 'Oh, Jesus Christ.' So, we carry on and the door opens and I go in and meet them and stuff. It was all very low key; there was no fanfare as the door opens — they're ready to work. I go in and introduced myself and they said hello and stuff and everything. They asked me what songs I know and I told them a couple and we got to playing and we finished up playing for a little while and they sat down and started talking between themselves and their manager about the upcoming tour and stuff. I leaned over to Mal [Malcolm Young, guitar] and asked, 'Does this mean I'm in the band?' He said, 'Yeah. I guess it is, isn't it?' I couldn't wait to get out of there and tell my family what happened. My whole life changed after that."
Wright was also asked if he had any stories to share about Malcolm Young, who passed away last November due to complications with dementia. "There's so many," he said. "With Malcolm, and I'm sure there's a lot of people who will attest to it, but he had a really quiet, firm way about him. He was definitely in control of things. He could change situations around with a couple of words and couple of suggestions. He was quite a leader and such a fantastic guitar player, too. Such a shame, it really is. It's such a horrible, debilitating disease what he got and I could only imagine what his family went through, Angus [Young, guitar] and stuff as well and everybody. It's bloody awful."
AC/DC members Brian Johnson, Phil Rudd, Angus Young and Stevie Young were all photographed outside Vancouver's Warehouse Studios in August. Based on the pictures, the assumption is that AC/DC is in the midst of making — or at least planning — another album, with Rudd and Johnson both back in the lineup. Online reports have also indicated Angus Young will dedicate the new AC/DC album to his late brother.
DIO DISCIPLES is reportedly collaborating with former DIO bass player Jeff Pilson on their debut studio album, tentatively due next year. The band, which pays tribute to Ronnie James Dio, is fully supported by Dio's widow/manager Wendy and is comprised of former DIO members and vocalists Tim "Ripper" Owens (ex-JUDAS PRIEST) and Oni Logan.
Wright will take part in the fourth annual "Bowl For Ronnie" celebrity bowling party, benefiting the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund, which will take place on Thursday, October 25 at PINZ Bowling Center in Studio City, California. The event will be hosted by television and radio personality Eddie Trunk, who is heard on SiriusXM's Volume channel and whose new TV series "TrunkFest" airs on AXS TV.
The "Bowl For Ronnie" will feature a celebrity bowling tournament and a raffle drawing for prizes and memorabilia. Last year's event brought in $49,000 for the cancer charity, which is now in its ninth year of raising awareness and much-needed funding for cancer research.
Wright is also one of the musicians participating in "Let There Be Rock – Orchestrated", a unique production that brings the thunderstruck sounds of AC/DC into a world all of its own, featuring a lineup of some of the world's best rockers coming together to form a supergroup and backed by a 30-piece symphony orchestra to power out the biggest sound ever created.
On January 19, 2019, "Let There Be Rock – Orchestrated" will bring down the house at the one and only currently scheduled U.S. event, taking place at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles (just before the 2019 NAMM show).