January 9, 2015

According to a new article in England’s magazine, dementia wasn’t the only illness that now-retired AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young faced during the last several years. Malcolm was first diagnosed with lung cancer after the band concluded its Black Ice tour in 2010, but it was detected early and surgeons were able to operate on the guitarist successfully.


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Then Malcolm discovered he had a heart condition, which singer Brian Johnson only learned about while having dinner in London with Malcolm and his wife one evening a couple of years ago. Johnson recalled, “He got a hold of my hand and went (bangs repeatedly on his chest) . . . He says, ‘Pacemaker. F**king good, mate.’ He scared the s**t out of us! And there’s a twinkle in his eye, he was tickled pink. It’s like he was showing us a new fuzzbox or something!”

But it was the onset of dementia that eventually forced Malcolm out of the band, leaving his brother and co-founder, guitarist Angus Young to decide whether the group should carry on.

Angus told Q he approached his older brother George, who co-produced many of AC/DC’s early albums, for advice. He explained, “George always said, ‘It’s really what you want. Do you think you should go forward?’ I said, ‘It’s not easy.’ And he said, ‘You know Mal better than anyone. Mal always liked to go forward, to play on.’ I thought, ‘OK. I’ll give it a shot. I’ll try.'”

Malcolm was replaced in the lineup by the Youngs’ nephew Stevie, who once filled in for Malcolm on a 1988 American tour.

The band’s 16th studio album, Rock Or Bust, came out in early December.


AC/DC has been confirmed as one of the headliners at this April’s Coachella Festival, scheduled to take place in Indio, California. A full North American tour will follow in the fall.