Angus Young pays tribute to his brother and AC/DC rhythm man Malcolm: “It was his creation, his idea, his whole thing”

[L-R] Malcolm and Angus Young of AC/DC
(Image credit: Bob King/Redferns)

In an emotional new interview with Australia's 60 Minutes, Angus Young has paid tribute to his older brother Malcolm, who tragically passed away at the age of 64 on November 18, 2017. The AC/DC rhythm man had been diagnosed with dementia at the end of the band's Black Ice World Tour.

A statement from AC/DC at the time described Malcolm as “the driving force behind the band”.

“As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary, he was a perfectionist and a unique man,” the statement read. “He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted. He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.”

In the new 60 Minutes piece, Angus reflects upon Malcolm's original idea for the band, and his 2017 passing.

“It was his creation, his idea, his whole thing,” he says. “When I was younger and he said, ‘Me and you are going to play together’, I said, You’re kidding? He said, ‘No, you’ve got the goods.’ I was like, Are you sure now, you want me playing next to you onstage? and he said, ‘Yeah, yeah, you’re as good a guitarist as anyone else.’ It was all his idea.”

Angus also recalls music providing Malcolm comfort and joy in his final days at Lulworth House, a nursing home facility in eastern Sydney which specializes in dementia care.

“I think the hardest part was not so much him passing, because that was a kind of end, the relief,” he notes. “I think the worst part is the decline – that’s the hard part. Because of how you knew him, and then to see that that was gone.”

“I would say, even to the end, if I was there, from [ear to ear], he had a big smile,” the visibly emotional guitarist continued. “And for me, that always gave me a kind of joy. Even though he was in that state, that was always the joy of it. And he still got a great kick if I played him guitar. He would try to tap his foot. But he always knew I was there. So that was a big thing. I was with him towards the end.”

Watch the full interview with Angus, and AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson, above.

Although his playing doesn't appear, Malcolm Young is credited as a songwriter on every track on AC/DC's new album, Power Up.

In a new interview with Guitar World, Angus has also paid tribute to his brother's lead guitar talents, claiming that “Malcolm could solo even better than me”.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.