AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams says he will retire after the band’s current Rock Or Bust tour, revealing that he is planning to “back off” from touring and recording music.
Speaking with Gulfshore Life, 66-year-old Williams, who has been a member of AC/DC since 1977, says the departure of Acca Dacca’s founding guitarist Malcolm Young, the house arrest of drummer Phil Rudd and the withdrawal of frontman Brian Johnson due to hearing problems has helped him make a decision on his future.
“It’s been what I’ve known for the past 40 years, but after this tour I’m backing off of touring and recording,” Williams says. “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.”
Williams, who was born in Essex, England, first appeared on an AC/DC album in 1978, when Powerage was released. He says that since then, he’s been on one hell of a wild ride.
“When you start out, you kind of hope for success,” Williams says. “That’s what you are working for. But you never really know. It’s been surreal, really.”
In a reflective video posted to AC/DC’s Facebook page yesterday, Williams also discusses his time in the band, which he says he has “thoroughly enjoyed”. Catch that video in full, below
Elsewhere in his Gulfshore Life interview, Williams reminisces about AC/DC’s early tours, as well as their first-ever tour bus.
“The first tour bus was an old piece of junk driven by a seriously overweight good ole boy who called himself ‘Jesse James,’ to which we added the words ‘the fat-assed’ to,” Williams says.
“He would work the CB radio and announce himself onboard along with the rock group ‘AC/DC outa England’ to anyone listening. He never did get the fact it was from Australia, but then he may have thought that was in England.
“This bus life progressed for years to better buses that would not break down on your one day off to flying commercially and having your own hotel room. We lived on the road permanently in those days, with time off for recording a new album and always Christmas and New Year’s off for sanity.”
Malcolm Young left AC/DC in 2014 due to a dementia diagnoses, while Phil Rudd spent much of 2015 under house arrest on a threatening to kill charge. Brian Johnson isn’t touring with the band currently, with Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose serving as frontman on the Rock Or Bust tour, which wraps up after making its way across North America in August and September.
Watch: Cliff Williams On Playing Bass In AC/DC