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AC/DC Band Members: See 1970s Rock Icons Then and Now — Plus, Info On Their New Tour!

The rock legends still got it as they take Europe by storm this summer.

To paraphrase one of their most iconic songs, AC/DC is set to shake Europe all summer long on their first tour there in eight years. Longtime AC/DC band members Angus Young and Brian Johnson will be joined by guitarist Stevie Young, drummer Matt Laug, and Jane’s Addiction’s bassist Chris Chaney for the PWR/UP tour, in support of their 2020 album Power Up.

To note  that audiences are excited is an understatement: When tickets went on sale earlier this year, the guys were, let’s just say, pleasantly “Thunderstruck” to find out they sold 1.5 million tickets in just one day.

“We can’t wait to see you all out there,” the AC/DC band members said in a statement, and the tour kicks off May 17 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, before hitting Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, England, Slovakia, Belgium, France and Ireland by August’s end. Matching the public’s excitement is AC/DC’s opening act, Taylor Momsen’s The Pretty Reckless. “It’s f—ing AC/DC. That’s it,” they said in a release about the no-brainer decision of joining the titans of rock on their loud and wild ride throughout the continent.

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Man at podium speaking, others behind him
AC/DC at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction (2003) Kevin Kane / Contributor / Getty

Power Up is the 18th release from the band that was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 thanks to its brilliant mix of rock, metal, and blues on albums such as 1977’s Let There Be Rock, 1979’s Highway to Hell, 1980’s Back in Black, 1981’s For Those About to Rock, and more. Then in 2010, the 10-time Grammy-nominated band took home their first and only trophy for Best Hard Rock Performance for “War Machine,” off of 2008’s Black Ice LP.

The legendary group was first formed in Sydney, Australia, in 1973 by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, and it further took shape in Melbourne before the other main AC/DC band members — Bon Scott, Phil Rudd, and Mark Evans — made the leap to London in 1976, with Cliff Williams replacing Evans a year later.

Rock band performing
AC/DC performing (1990) Steve Rapport / Contributor / Getty

Through the decades, the lineup has changed due to some tragic deaths, as well as other health and legal issues. Still, some who had stepped away couldn’t resist returning for some fun when the band played the Power Trip hard-rock festival on Oct. 7 last year in Indio, California. “I got chills when the first few notes of ‘Back in Black’ started playing, and had to turn around and look at all the people around me to soak in the once-in-a-lifetime (or at least once-in-seven-years) moment we were all sharing,” wrote a reporter for the Desert Sun about the group’s first live performance since 2016.

Next, Europe will get the pleasure of rocking out to “Hells Bells,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” “T.N.T,” and “Moneytalks” (shockingly the band’s only Top 40 single). But first, let’s take a look at how Angus and his fellow AC/DC band members have fared through the years.

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Angus Young: AC/DC band members

Angus Young: AC/DC band members
1979/2023 Fin Costello / Staff / Getty // Kevin Mazur / Contributor / Getty

The youngest of eight, this Scottish-born lead guitarist (whose family moved to Australia when he was 8) co-founded the band in 1973 with his brother Malcolm. Angus fell in love with rock thanks to “Chuck Berry’s guitar,” he told Total Guitar, adding that once he discovered music, schoolwork became a chore. “I didn’t go to school much.… I got into a lot of trouble when I was young. I wouldn’t say I was a budding bank-robber or anything, but I was a bit of a juvenile delinquent.”

Starting the band with Malcolm would prove to be a great decision, as AC/DC went on sell more than 200 million albums throughout their career. At an early gig in 1974, the guitarist’s schoolboy uniform became what’s now his iconic look.

“That was the most frightened I’ve ever been on stage, but thank God, I had no time to think. I just went straight out there. The crowd’s first reaction to the shorts and stuff was like a bunch of fish at feeding time — all mouths open,” he recalled. “I had just one thing on my mind: I didn’t want to be a target for blokes throwing bottles. I thought if I stand still I’m a target. So I never stopped moving. I reckoned if I stood still I’d be dead.”

Man playing guitar on stage
Angus Young (1991) Ian Dickson / Contributor / Getty

Angus, who’s been married to wife Ellen Van Lochem since 1980, has kept up with his energetic duckwalking performances throughout the band’s 50-plus year career, as he’s the only remaining founding member of the band still playing. He personally surprised and mingled with fans at a High Voltage AC/DC pop-up museum at Club 5 on the eve of last year’s Power Trip festival in Indio, California.

“We want to get back out and do what we do, which is get on a stage and perform,” he told Vulture in 2020 about missing life out on the road, which is why Angus, now 69, and the band are gearing up to tour Europe this summer.

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Malcolm Young

Malcolm Young
1979/2011 Fin Costello / Staff / Getty // Brian Rasic / Contributor / Getty

One of Angus’ older brothers, Malcolm was a co-founder of the band in 1973. He inherited his family’s gift of guitar playing, and he, Angus and a few friends performed in an Australian group called the Marcus Hook Roll Band before AC/DC was formed when Malcolm was 20. Decades of success followed, and when reflecting on those years upon their induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Malcolm was proud of how he, Angus, and the band stayed true to themselves throughout all their peaks and valleys.

“I think we’ve done just what we’ve wanted to do,” he told Guitar Player. “If we had done something differently, we might not still be around. If we’d have jumped on one of the bandwagons, it might have been costly for us, like it was for many other bands. That’s why we never changed hairstyles for the latest fashion or embraced the latest musical trend. We just stuck to what we always were.”

Man playing guitar: AC/DC band members
Malcolm Young (1976) Michael Putland / Contributor / Getty

He had to step away from the band in 1988 to get his drinking under control, at which time his nephew, Stevie Young, took his place. Malcolm later returned to AC/DC, and the road, but by 2014, the band announced that he was suffering from dementia and needed to exit the lineup. “Malcolm would like to thank the group’s diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support,” the statement noted. Stevie once again stepped in for him starting with 2014’s Rock or Bust LP.

Malcolm passed away three years later on Nov. 18, 2017, at the age of 64. “With enormous dedication and commitment [Malcolm] was the driving force behind the band,” another official band statement read. “As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man. He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted. He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.”

Bon Scott: AC/DC band members

Bon Scott: AC/DC band members
1976/1979 Dick Barnatt / Contributor / Getty // Fin Costello / Staff / Getty

The band’s early vocalist (who replaced original singer Dave Evans) was also a Scottish-born transplant to Australia, moving there with his family when he was 6. Prior to joining AC/DC, he played in various other bands, including The Valentines and Fraternity. He landed a job chauffeuring other bands to gigs, which is how he met the guys in AC/DC. “They knew I was sort of a screamer and they knew I was out of work and they hated the guy they had singing for them then, so they offered me a job,” he once shared in an interview.

In his six years with AC/DC, during which he recorded seven albums, he made a huge impact on the band and rock ’n’ roll as a whole, being named to several lists of greatest frontmen of all time for his talents. Sadly, after a night of heavy drinking with his friends, he passed out in his car and was found dead from acute alcohol poisoning on Feb. 19, 1980, at the age of 33.

The band had been working on Back in Black at the time, and Brian Johnson would be brought onboard to finish the album, which became a tribute to Scott. “We wanted just a simple black cover,” Angus Young told VH1’s Behind the Music. “We wouldn’t have even done him justice in words. Even the bell in the beginning of ‘Hells Bells’ was our little tribute.”

An upcoming biopic based on Scott’s early life, titled The Kid From Harvest Road, is currently in pre-production with Lee Tiger Halley (Netflix’s Boy Swallows Universe) set to play the singer. The film will trace Scott’s “path from a cherished yet troubled youth to a prodigious artist.”

Phil Rudd

Phil Rudd: AC/DC band members
1977/2015 Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer / Getty // MARTY MELVILLE / Stringer / Getty

The Australian drummer was born in Melbourne and leaned into his musical gifts during his teens. He was a member of the groups Buster Brown and Coloured Balls before landing with AC/DC in 1975. Due to some friction with Malcolm Young, however, he was booted from the band in 1983, and he then moved to New Zealand, he said, to race cars (a lifelong passion) and become a farmer. He started replaying with AC/DC around 1991, however, rejoining the ranks officially in 1994.

In 2014, he’d gotten in trouble for physically threatening a personal assistant and his daughter over a dispute regarding the promotion of his first solo album Head Job. He was arrested that same year on drug charges and, after pleading guilty, he was sentenced to eight months of home detention in New Zealand in 2015. (During that time, he was replaced in AC/DC by Chris Slade, who’d played with the band before from 1989 to 1994, when they recorded The Razor’s Edge.)

Man playing the drums
Phil Rudd (1977) Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer / Getty

Rudd, a heart-attack survivor, now claims his troubled past is behind him, saying “my hell-raising days are over.… I see a psychiatrist once a week and I’m closer than ever to my [five] children,” and his website promises that the now 69-year-old rocker has “turned a corner and completely dedicated his life to the more important things in his life including family, friends and music.”

Though he returned to the studio with AC/DC to record 2020’s Power Up, he didn’t play with them at the rock festival in Indio, California, and won’t be joining them on their 2024 summer European tour. Still, “I look forward to playing with them again in the future … rock on,” he told Australian magazine Stuff in late 2023, noting he’s auctioning his drums off to raise money for his partner of 15 years, Toni Wilson, who is battling breast cancer.

“Making music, making people happy, if I’ve done that sometimes, then that’s okay. This is such a little thing when so many women go through breast cancer, I don’t want to make a big deal of it. I’m just doing what I can.”

Cliff Williams: AC/DC band members

Cliff Williams: AC/DC band members
1973/2016 Michael Putland / Contributor / Getty // Gary Miller / Contributor / Getty

The English-born musician grew up under the influence of Bo Diddley, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and the Who, leaving school at 16 to chase his musical pursuits. The bassist played with bands such as Sugar, Home, Stars, and Bandit before joining the AC/DC band members as their bassist in 1977, replacing Mark Evans.

Williams, who married wife Georganne in 1980 and has two kids, retired from AC/DC in 2016 after their Rock or Bust tour ended. “At the end of that, I was definitely — that was it for me. Done — just done,” he told the Let There Be Talk podcast. “I was at a point…that I just felt, for me, it was time to hang it up. I knew that I didn’t wanna keep doing these two-year tours, and I didn’t wanna hold them back, so I made them aware of the fact that this was gonna be my last go-round. It was a tough tour to finish.”

Man playing guitar
Cliff Williams (1988) Bob King / Contributor / Getty

He reunited with AC/DC to record 2020’s Power Up, he said, to honor the memory of Malcom Young, who’d passed away in 2017. “This is for him. And it’s the band that we played together with for 40-plus years. And I wanted to do that — I wanted to come back and do that.” Williams, who’s been open about suffering from vertigo in the past, won’t be touring this summer with AC/DC, though he did play with the band at the Power Trip festival in Indio, California, last year.

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson
1973/2021 Jorgen Angel / Contributor / Getty // VALERIE MACON / Contributor / Getty

The British vocalist with the killer wail was the oldest of four. The son of a coal miner/military man, Johnson enjoyed peforming in plays and with his church choir, which led to his future career in music, though he also followed in his father’s bootsteps by serving two years in the British army reserves as well.

In 1971, he co-founded the band Geordie, which scored some hits, including “All Because of You” in 1973. He split from the band in 1978, and an audition with AC/DC after Bon Scott’s tragic death in 1980 led to Johnson taking over lead vocals for the rockers. In 2016, due to the risk of suffering permanent hearing loss, however, he had to stop performing. He was replaced at the time by guest vocalist Axl Rose, Guns N’ Roses’ charismatic frontman.

man standing on stage with arms wide open
Brian Johnson (2016)Jason Squires / Contributor / Getty

He released Rockers and Rollers: A Full-Throttle Memoir in 2000, which touched upon his passion for both music and fast cars, the latter of which he also explored as host of two cable series, 2014’s Cars That Rock with Brian Johnson and 2017’s Brian Johnson: A Life on the Road. His follow-up print effort, The Lives of Brian, was named one of SPIN magazine’s Best Music Memoirs of 2022.

Thanks to help from new high-tech ear-buds that are designed to protect his hearing, Johnson was able to re-team with AC/DC to record 2020’s Power Up. He also hit the stage with them in Indio, California, last year, and he’ll be wailing away throughout their upcoming 2024 European tour. “We’ve pretty much got it licked with this new equipment,” the singer told USA Today of the power of the new ear-bud technology.

Man singing; Brian Johnson; : AC/DC band members
Brian Johnson (1996) Brian Rasic / Contributor / Getty

The singer, who has two daughters with his ex-wife Carol, now lives with his wife Brenda in Florida. He performed at a 2022 Wembley stadium tribute to Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, and he also popped up for a surprise appearance at Sam Fender June 2023 show in Newcastle, belting out “Back in Black” and “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

Starting April 25, he’ll appear in a six-part documentary series on Britain’s Sky Arts called Johnson and Knopfler’s Music Legends, in which he and Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler “reflect on the secrets of rock and roll” with special guests, per a release. The series promises “a joyous journey through decades of music with exclusive access to a series of once-in-a-lifetime meetings, interviews and jam sessions between rock’s ultimate legends.”

Johnson is also featured on Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash’s upcoming solo effort, Orgy of the Damned, which drops on May 17. “When it came to [the Howlin’ Wolf cover] ‘Killing Floor,’ I thought Brian Johnson doing his sort of low register kind of approach to this would be really cool,” Slash told Loudwire Nights.

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