Angus Young explains why Malcolm’s playing is not on AC/DC’s 'Power Up' album

AC/DC's Malcolm Young performing live onstage, playing Gretsch 6131 Jet Firebird guitar
(Image credit: Bob King/Redferns)

It was recently revealed that every track on the forthcoming AC/DC record, Power Up, features songwriting contributions from late electric guitar player and co-founder Malcolm Young., who passed away in November 2017.

But while Mal’s riffs are all over the record, Angus Young recently revealed why his brother’s actual playing is not.

“I know a lot of people have been saying, did Malcolm actually play, is it his instrument on the new album?” Angus told Spain’s RockFM radio. “I chose not to do that because I felt Malcolm himself wouldn’t like me trying to splice his guitar work.”

He continued, “Malcolm and myself, a lot of what we had done through the years, we’d make notes with the tracks. Some might be a little bit rough here and there, and I polished them up. In other cases, Malcolm might have done just a small bit and then I would do the next verse. The bulk of the contribution of Mal is mainly musical.”

As previously reported, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Angus said several of the riffs on the new album stem from the writing sessions for 2008’s Black Ice.

“There was a lot of great song ideas at that time,” he said. “At that time he said to me, ‘We’ll leave these songs for now. If we keep going, we’ll be overboard. We’ll get them on the next one.’

“That always stuck with me. When I went through and listened to them, I said, ‘If I do anything in my life, I have to get these tracks down and get these tracks out.’ ”

Power Up is out November 13. The album is currently available for preorder.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.