Last week, 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 recent interview with Keith Roth, host of SiriusXM's Ozzy's Boneyard, Angus stated about how "Power Up" came together: "Our management people had contacted us around 2018 and ahd said, 'Are you up for making an album?' I had a lot of material together from [late AC/DC rhythm guitarist] Malcolm [Young] and myself, which we had worked on through the years, and we had quite a bit, so I thought, yeah, 'I'll put together a whole heap of these ideas and we'll see who wants to be a part of it and get in the studio.' It was great, because everyone wanted to be on board to do the project — Brian and Cliff and Phil and Stevie and myself. It was all great that we could get back together and do some new rock and roll tunes for the world to hear."
Asked if "Power Up" was originally supposed to arrive earlier in the year before the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, Brian said: "We shot the video in Holland, and then we spent about two and a half weeks — maybe even more — rehearsing with a full backline, the whole bit. We got such a buzz playing together for the album, it was just too good an opportunity to miss. And we all got together and it was like lightning. It was fantastic. And then, straight after that, the album was supposed to get ready to come out and all that, but then, honestly, within the space of about four days of us all leaving, the COVID hit and stopped everybody dead in their tracks. So, out of respect for the disease and all that, they held it back a bit to see what was gonna happen. We thought it was all gonna be over in five to six weeks, but that hasn't been the case."
Regarding which other AC/DC album "Power Up" is most musically similar to, Angus said: "When you hear it, it's AC/DC — you hear it straight away. Most of what we do, that's the thing we've always aimed for. You want people to hear it for the first time and go, 'That's them. There's no one else like [them].'"
Angus also set the record straight about a rumor that Malcolm's guitar playing can actually be heard on "Power Up". He said: "Malcolm's contribution is mainly the song ideas, which he did with me. So that's basically what Malcolm's contribution is to the whole album. He was there in spirit, and you always feel him. He's there, especially with me — he's always part of my thoughts. I'm always thinking of him. As [is] everyone else."
According to Angus, there is no end in sight for AC/DC, and fans can expect a lot more activity from the band going forward.
"I keep doing it," he said. "It's part of me. That's from my perspective. I like making AC/DC music and playing it. And I've been doing it so long now. I think I know that more than anything else. I even think I know that better than what I learned in my shool years."
"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 2014's "Rock Or Bust".
"Power Up" will be available in multiple configurations, including digital, CD, and deluxe versions. The limited edition, one-of-a-kind deluxe "Power Up" box is the ultimate fan package. Hit the button on the side of the box and watch the flashing neon AC/DC logo light up while the opening bars of "Shot In The Dark" blast out of the built-in speaker. Inside the box is the full CD package in a soft-pack with a 20-page booklet that features exclusive photos and USB charging cable allowing the box to remain powered up and on display. The vinyl LP will be pressed on 180-gram vinyl and housed in a gatefold jacket. Limited-edition variants of the LP will be available at select retailers nationwide, as well as the band's online store. The album will be available on all digital platforms.
"Power Up" track listing:
03. Shot In The Dark
04. Through The Mists Of Time
05. Kick You When You’re Down
06. Witch's Spell
07. Demon Fire
08. Wild Reputation
09. No Man’s Land
10. Systems Down
11. Money Shot
12. Code Red
Photo credit: Josh Cheuse
Malcolm, who co-founded AC/DC with Angus in 1973, died in November 2017 at the age of 64 after suffering from dementia and 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.