Former AC/DC bassist Paul Matters has died

AC/DC with late bassist Paul Matters
AC/DC with Paul Matters (above Angus Young) (Image credit: Facebook/Rod Westcombe/AC/DC)

Former AC/DC bass guitar player Paul Matters, who played with the band in their earliest days, has died.

Matters had been with a Newcastle, Australia-based outfit named Armageddon before being drafted for AC/DC in 1975. He joined them just after the recording of their debut album, High Voltage. Only weeks later, however, he was fired and replaced by Mark Evans, presumably at the request of singer Bon Scott.

Matters only gave one interview after his firing, to author Jesse Fink for his Bon Scott biography, Bon: The Last Highway. Matters told Fink he was “only with them a short time. I did the High Voltage tour around Australia.”

Regarding his firing by Scott, he said, “[Bon] got out the back of a truck and he told me I wasn’t going back to Melbourne with them. We were up in Sydney doing a concert for school kids. So I didn’t play that day. I just turned around and didn’t say a word to him. I turned around and walked out.”

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Matters' friend Rod Westcombe shared the news of his death on Facebook, writing, “Shocked and sad to hear of the passing of Paul Matters.

“I first met Paul in 1973 when he was playing bass in Armageddon at a gig in Hamilton, Newcastle N.S.W. When I was living in Toronto he would drop into the house in the late hours to party and he loved to party.

“In late '75 after he departed AC/DC we played together in a one off band called Miss Australia Band at a gig on a ferry on Lake Macquarie. I moved to Sunshine on the lake further south and Paul would drop in to chill whenever he was in the area. I recall he could always make me laugh when he was in the mood.

“After leaving New South Wales I lost contact with him as did many other people over the years. From all reports he lived a reclusive life in his later years and his early rock n' roll life style led to ailing health. He will be missed by all who knew him. R.I.P. Mr. Paul Matters.”

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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.