AC/DC Bassist Cliff Williams Will Retire After This Tour
In a new interview with Gulfshore Life, AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams reveals that he’s throwing in the towel. Although not an original member of AC/DC, he’s been in the band since 1977, so at this point he might as well be.
“It’s been what I’ve known for the past 40 years, but after this tour I’m backing off of touring and recording. Losing Malcolm, the thing with Phil and now with Brian, it’s a changed animal. I feel in my gut it’s the right thing.”
In case you’ve been living under a (let there be) rock, the Malcolm/Phil/Brian incidents he’s referring to are…
- Rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young being forced to retire as the result of suffering from dementia.
- Drummer Phil Rudd being sentenced to eight months of home detention after pleading guilty to charges of threatening to kill some people and possession of cannabis and methamphetamine.
- Vocalist Brian John being forced to retire as the result of suffering from hearing loss (he’s since been replaced by Axl Rose).
So, basically, Williams is saying what we all already know: the AC/DC isn’t really AC/DC anymore.
The real question is, will Williams’ departure hurt the AC/DC brand at all should Angus Young choose to continue? My guess is it won’t. That’s not a reflection of Williams’ skills as a bassist — but sometimes talented musicians, for whatever reason, don’t really stick in the public’s mind as a necessary component of a band; it why Guns N’ Roses can sell a reunion tour with two original members missing. I don’t think fans will return tickets to see a Williams-less AC/DC they way they returned tickets to see a Johnson-less AC/DC. And in the unlikely event that new in-ear technology is able to help Johnson return to the band, well… people really will not care about whether or not Williams is there. But I think even some version of AR/DC would probably do just find without the four-stringer.
So, let’s do some fantasy casting. Pretend Williams retires but Angus Young is like, “Fuck it, I’m gonna keep going with Axl Rose on vocals.” Who should be the band’s new bassist? I think they should just pull a Slexoder and recruit Duff McKagan. Offer up your own suggestions in the comments section below.