AC/DC’s Cliff Williams Appears to Change His Reason for Leaving the Band

(Image credit: L. Busacca/Getty Images)

AC/DC’s official YouTube channel has just released a video statement from Cliff Williams explaining why he’s leaving the group.

“It’s just my time,” he says. “I’m happy. I just need family time now. Just chill out and not do this.”

The longtime AC/DC bassist announced this past July that he would be retiring from the band at the end of its Rock or Bust tour.

At that time, Williams said his decision was influenced by changes within AC/DC that have been beyond the group’s control. Founding guitarist Malcolm Young was forced to leave the band in 2014 due to dementia. Last March, longtime singer Brian Johnson announced he was suffering from severe hearing damage and could no longer perform. Between the two losses, longtime drummer Phil Rudd fell out with the band and became enmeshed in legal troubles. He was replaced by Chris Slade, who drummed for the band from 1989 to 1994.

“It’s been what I’ve known for the past 40 years, but after this tour I’m backing off of touring and recording,” Williams told GulfShoreLife.com when he first announced his imminent retirement. “Losing Malcolm, the thing with Phil and now with Brian, it’s a changed animal. I feel in my gut it’s the right thing.”

In the new video, however, he explains that his decision has not been influenced by those departures after all.

“When Bon died, it changed then,” he says. “Everything changes, so it’s not that. It’s just… I’m just ready to get off the road, really, and do what I do.”

Take a look. We’ve also included a recent video in which Williams reflects on his role in the band.

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Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player (opens in new tab) magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World (opens in new tab), a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.