Perennial rockers AC/DC released a new album this year on the heels of some less than fortunate news for the band. These guys have been lighting up the charts and hearts of serious heavy metal rockers since their debut in 1975. With the exception of Bon Scott's untimely demise in 1980, the band has remained largely unscathed over the years and kept a relatively low-profile as far as the press goes. That is until last year, when headlines broke that Angus Young's older brother Malcolm was succumbing to dementia. It was hard news to believe for this generation of fans, many of whom are just crossing the bridge into their 50s. Before their audience could hardly grasp that update, next came the unthinkable report concerning drummer Phil Rudd who apparently found himself facing conspiracy charges for an alleged murder plot. The details were sketchy and dropped due to lack of sufficient evidence to press charges. Still, it left the fan base wondering whether the band could possibly recover and carry-on and Phil facing more court dates for possession of methamphetamine and cannabis which were discovered when his residence got raided for the dirty-deeds-done-dirt-cheap-hire.
Rolling Stone ran an article dated 12/22/2014 entitled "AC/DC's Phil Rudd: I Want My Job Back" with an equally humorous quote:
"Everyone listens to the wrong people. They should listen to me. I'm a good guy and a pretty good drummer, by the way. Ask Angus, he'll tell you."
Of course everyone wanted to hear Angus' two cents both before and after that statement, and as such, he made a number of comments in response to the alleged incident, mostly implying that this won't stop the band from carrying on. Angus summed it up nicely and professionally:
"He's not the Phil we've known in the past."
In the midst of all this drama, the band released their 17th album, "Rock Or Bust". The compilation is true to AC/DC's typical partying vibe, sticking to it's tried-and-true theme of women, drinking, money, cars and rock-n-roll. The amazing part is how good they still sound and how they can manage to breathe new life into a song base that is as mysteriously infinite as the numbers in Pi. If the last time you bought an AC/DC album was "Back In Black", it is time to update your collection with some substantial rocking tune-age. "Stiff Upper Lip" released in 2000 and "Black Ice" released in 2008 are the two latest preceding albums. They are as solid as the current release and feature plenty of great material including the hits "Black Ice", "Rock N Roll Train", "Safe In NYC", and "Stiff Upper Lip" not to mention B-side notables like "Meltdown", "House of Jazz" "Hold Me Back" "Can't Stand Still", "Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll", "Satellite Blues", "Damned", "Come and Get It", and "Give It Up", "Skies on Fire", "Big Jack", "Money Made". Let's put it this way, there isn't a bad song on either album.
The same can really be said for their latest production. The eponymous (thank you, Jack White) song "Rock or Bust" starts off the album track and is currently the first song to get the most radio play. The second number "Play Ball" is also getting plenty of air time and has a similar steady and familiar AC/DC beat to it. "Dogs of War" is probably going to get picked up as a movie sound track, it has that feel to it. "Rock The Blues Away", "Miss Adventure", "Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder" and "Hard Times" are decent too but "Baptism by Fire" towers over some other pieces on this production. Finally, my personal favorite is "Rock this House". This is the stand-out single, it has the classic AC/DC sound, and the lyrics are on point. "Sweet Candy" features some nice Brian Johnson vocals and "Emission Control" really rounds out this piece of work. Visually, the CD cover is presented with a 3D effect, it's done well and it looks good. I might have to seek out the vinyl version of this to see if it is as impressive as the CD cover. Their website has a nice attempt at a 3D visual as well.
So, you'll need to click through to YouTube to watch the videos of the top two current radio songs, but this link will take you directly to the videos.
I should refrain, but the crowd was bit cheesy for me. I'm not entirely sure these are real AC/DC fans.
If it's true that there is no such thing as bad publicity, then the timing worked out ok for them. With upcoming tour dates spanning 2015 into 2016, word is that Steve Young (uncle in the Young family) will fill in for Malcolm and Chris Slade will sit in for Phil. It's likely the band will continue to fill arenas as older fans introduce their kids to the band's live performances and rock catalog. They also nabbed the prestigious spot of headlining Coachella Festival which is rather remarkable and a fine salute to the old boys, and will definitely gain them some new followers as well.
There is little doubt that this is a big year for the band, in addition to everything else, they got to open up at the Grammy's. I was going to put a YouTube up of it, but there might be some copyright business going on with that. Check it out on YouTube if you missed the performance or want to watch it again.
Came across this looking for some material to post here. This is just plain fun to watch.
If you haven't caught a live performance of their's for a long time, I highly suggest NOT MISSING the "Rock or Bust" tour if it comes to your town. The band is down 2 and there's only 3 original guys left so things are getting kinda sparse on originals here. Should you find yourself going and haven't seen them recently: If you think twice about the light up devil horns, they will sell out before the end of the show, so pick them up early. Additionally, plan on ringing in your ears for 2-3 days afterwards. These guys put on the LOUDEST show I've ever heard. Ever. There's always earplugs for those so inclined.
Here is a rather remarkable video of a personal favorite song, "Let There Be Rock". If you've never experienced AC/DC live, this will provide a very good idea of what a concert is like. A big nod to Mal, the guy who stood in the shadows of Brian and Angus all these years. We'll all miss seeing you out there but we won't forget you. It's sad to think he probably won't be back again, but the guy who misses him most has got to be his little bro. And here's hoping Phil can get it back together and that we see him around again next time.
As they say, the biggest guys are the most humble, and these guys fit that bill. This is my personal 21 gun salute!
AC/DC's tour kicks off May 5, 2015 in Holland.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.