Legendary rockers AC/DC, have revealed that founding guitarist Malcolm Young, who was forced to retire earlier this year due to illness, had already begun to show signs of dementia back in 2008, when the band where on a record-breaking world tour in support of their 15th studio album, Black Ice.
Speaking to The Guardian this week, brother and bandmate Angus Young said Malcolm Young had already begun to show “symptoms of dementia” when the band were recording their 2008 album Black Ice and that while on tour Malcolm sometimes apppeared to not even know where he was.
“It was hard work for him. He was relearning a lot of those songs that he knew backwards; the ones we were playing that night he’d be relearning,” he explained. “He was his own driver. He himself had that thing, where you’ve just got to keep going.”
The Black Ice world tour ran from 2008-2010 and ended up being the most successful tour ever by AC/DC, grossing roughly $441.1 million. It also became the fourth highest-grossing concert tour of all-time.
Angus Young said it was his brother that convinced AC/DC to go ahead with the album and tour while the rest of the band were concerned about his health. “His symptoms of dementia were starting then, and he got through it,” he explained. “I had said to him, even before we did the album: ‘Are you sure you want to do this? I have to know that you really want to do it.’ He was the one who said: ‘Yes! We’ve really got to do it.’”
In October this year, Malcolm Young’s family and the band’s Australian management confirmed that the guitarist and AC/DC founding member had retired from the legendary group after being taken into care for dementia. The band’s latest album Rock or Bust features Young’s nephew Stevie filling in for his uncle on the guitar.
The band are expected to open up about even further about the situation in an upcoming interview on the ABC. In a clip from the upcoming broadcast, frontman Brian Johnson sits beside Angus Young as he talks about witnessing brother’s deterioration over the years.
“Malcolm was always very organised,” Young says. “And it was kind of strange for the first time to see him disorganised, being confused about a lot of things. That’s when it kind of hit me – there’s something not right with him.”
It is not known whether in the upcoming ABC interview the remanning AC/DC members Brian Johnson and Angus Young will discuss the ongoing legal saga surrounding the band’s drummer Phil Rudd, who made another strange court appearance this week and is currently facing charges of threatening to kill and drug possession.
Rudd’s current and future involvement in the group remains unclear but in recent interviews the band have attempted to distance themselves from their drummer, with Angus Young stating “that the guy needs to sort himself out”.
“Phil created his own situation,” Young told USA Today. “It’s a hard thing to say about the guy. He’s a great drummer, and he’s done a lot of stuff for us. But he seems to have let himself go. He’s not the Phil we’ve known from the past.”
Face to face with AC/DC will air on ABC‘s 7.30 program this Monday, 1st December at 7.30pm. Watch a preview clip below.
Watch: ACDC interview with 7:30