AC/DC has recruited drummer Matt Laug to perform with the band at the Power Trip festival next month.
AC/DC is among the headliners on a bill of veteran rockers who will take to the stage in Indio, California October 6-8. It will be the iconic Australian band's first gig since 2016.
The 55-year-old Laug is an American drummer who has played with many bands/artists such as Alanis Morissette, Alice Cooper, SLASH'S SNAKEPIT and Vasco Rossi. Matt moved to Los Angeles after graduating from South Florence High School in 1986 and after attending college in L.A., Matt became a sought-after studio drummer.
In 2001, Laug supported AC/DC as part of SLASH'S SNAKEPIT on the North American and European legs of the "Stiff Upper Lip" tour.
Earlier today (Saturday, September 9), AC/DC shared a short audio snippet from the rehearsal sessions for Power Trip, and it included the following message: "PWR UP for Power Trip! Listen to the rehearsal of the boys powering up with Cliff Williams, who's coming out of retirement for the festival and Matt Laug on drums."
In its announcement, AC/DC offered no explanation for the absence of the band's longtime drummer Phil Rudd, who rejoined AC/DC for the recording of the group's comeback album, "Power Up", which came out in November 2020.
Rudd was ousted from AC/DC when he was sentenced to eight months of home detention by a New Zealand court in 2015 after pleading guilty to charges of threatening to kill and drug possession. He was replaced on the band's "Rock Or Bust" tour by Chris Slade, who had previously served as AC/DC's drummer between 1989 and 1994, playing on the album "The Razor's Edge".
Rudd, who appeared on all but three of AC/DC's 18 previous studio albums, toured in support of his 2014 solo debut, "Head Job". It was the release of that album that led indirectly to Rudd's arrest, with the drummer allegedly so angry at a personal assistant over the way the record was promoted that he threatened to have the man and his daughter killed.
During an appearance on a November 2020 episode of Dean Delray's "Let There Be Talk" podcast, Rudd confirmed that the seed for his return to AC/DC was planted at the funeral of AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young in 2017. Rudd, singer Brian Johnson and bassist Cliff Williams all attended the ceremony. At the time, the three musicians were considered former members of AC/DC, with Johnson and Williams both having left in 2016 for health reasons, while Rudd was sidelined in 2015 with various legal issues.
"Angus and I had a good chat at Mal's funeral and caught up," Rudd recalled. "[After I played on the 'Rock Or Bust' record] there was crazy shit going on, but since then, I'd got my shit together and put a little band together, I went to Europe and was doing a bit of playing and stuff and did [a solo] album. The guys knew I was still playing, so when I caught up with Angus at the funeral, we were sort of chatting away and somehow, he just sort of [asked me] if I was up for [doing a new AC/DC] album. And he started writing the next day. He went in the studio and started writing straight away."
Angus told Rolling Stone that it was indeed Malcolm's funeral that helped heal old wounds.
"[Phil] was there and in good shape," the guitarist said. "He was keeping himself well together. He was getting therapy and sorting himself out. It was really good."
Johnson added that he and the rest of AC/DC welcomed Rudd with open arms. "I speak for all the boys with Phil," he said. "We defend Phil to the hilt. What happened up there, that's not the Phil we know. That was just something else. He's really looking brilliant now and doing everything great."
AC/DC postponed the last 10 dates of its spring 2016 North American trek after Johnson was advised to stop playing live or "risk total hearing loss." The band went on to complete the European and North American legs of its "Rock Or Bust" tour with GUNS N' ROSES frontman Axl Rose as a "guest vocalist." At the time, Johnson had been AC/DC's singer for 36 years, ever since replacing the late Bon Scott in 1980 and making his debut on the classic "Back In Black" album.
To enable him to perform live with AC/DC again, Johnson worked with audio expert Stephen Ambrose, who said he could help resolve the singer's hearing problems.
Ambrose, who invented the wireless in-ear monitors that are widely used by touring artists today, claimed to have invented a new type of ear-bud that would allow Johnson to perform without causing further damage to his eardrums. After three years of experimenting and "miniaturizing" the equipment, Johnson previously said the technology could allow him to tour again.