Last month, AC/DC released "Shot In The Dark", the first single from the band's long-awaited comeback album, "Power Up", which is due on November 13. The follow-up to 2014's "Rock Or Bust" features AC/DC's reunited lineup of Brian Johnson (vocals), Phil Rudd (drums), Cliff Williams (bass), Angus Young (guitar) and Stevie Young (guitar). Johnson and Williams both left in 2016 for health reasons; and Rudd was sidelined in 2015 with various legal issues.
In a new interview with Radio.com, Angus spoke about the songwriting process for "Power Up" and the contributions of his late brother, founding AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, who died in 2017 from effects of dementia at age 64. Malcolm is credited as a writer on all 12 tracks on "Power Up".
Angus said (see video below): "All the hard work was done before we got [to the studio to begin recording]. A lot of the songs, Malcolm and myself, we had worked on. These were songs that we had been working through the years. And it was a case of getting these songs out. And I wanted to make sure that I had a lot of good tracks that Mal really liked.
"Any time we ever went to do an album, we went for the most current songs that we had," he explained. "They [were] the most current, and that's what we usually released. But in this case, because I had a bit of time, I'd go through and go back and get together all of these tracks and go through them. I've got a great collection of tracks that especially Malcolm really liked, and I thought this is the ideal chance to get those tracks down and get them out there to the public."
Asked if it was important for him to pick songs Malcolm liked to include on "Power Up", Angus said: "Yeah, that was my guiding force. Me and him, we'd spent so much time writing songs together, so I had a good idea of what he really liked. Plus whenever we worked on stuff, he kept a lot of notes, any lyric ideas he had. So I had a good roadmap to work with. And I know a lot of those songs he really liked very much — they were strong songs that, when we had been working on 'em, Mal always thought these are the tracks that we should get out there."
Angus went on to say that his brother was particulary good at keeping track of all the musical and lyrical ideas.
"Malcolm was pretty organized with a lot of stuff," he said. "He was more organized than me. When we worked together, the two of us, he'd pick up a guitar, but Mal would take notes and put dates and when it was done. So he was always a little bit more together. But I'd keep notebooks; I've always kept notebooks of song ideas and song lyrics. I've always kept that part together. A lot of songs, I've got 'em all marked up. I know where to look for when I'm going through [stuff]; I've got everything marked up and boxed up."
Asked if there is still a "mountain" of AC/DC material that's never come out, Angus said: "Oh, yeah. If I went through [all the boxes], there's a lot of ideas that were [recorded] through our career. The hard part is just keeping up with the technology of that time. Because in a lot of the early years, when cassettes mainly came around, you were using a lot of early cassettes. And then from that point, then when it went into CDs, we were using that. A lot of people go to their computers, but we'd pretty [stuck to] the CD world. We may have a few DAT tapes and other formats — ADATs and stuff like that."
Malcolm, who co-founded AC/DC with Angus in 1973, died three years ago after suffering from failing health for several years. His condition forced him to leave the band in 2014, with his nephew Stevie Young stepping into Malcolm's position.
The follow-up to 2014's "Rock Or Bust", "Power Up" was recorded over a six-week period in August and September 2018 at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver with producer Brendan O'Brien, who also worked 2008's "Black Ice" and "Rock Or Bust".