Hard-rock icons AC/DC have seemingly revealed the lineup for their imminent comeback, with a series of leaked photos apparently confirming the news.
As Ultimate Classic Rock have reported, the AC/DC website supposedly shared a number of since-deleted photos which show the group filming their forthcoming music video. Most notably however, the photos apparently confirm the return of Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd as members of the group once again.
From an official point of view neither Johnson or Rudd have been considered official members of the band for some time, with the latter departing AC/DC in 2014 amidst a cloud of controversy. In addition to a number of legal allegations brought against him, guitarist Angus Young noted that Rudd had become unreliable during the recording process of their last record, 2014’s Rock Or Bust.
However, despite his departure from the group, Rudd was determined to get both his job and reputation back. “I’m going back to work with AC/DC, and I don’t care who likes it and who doesn’t,” the drummer told New Zealand’s One News in 2014. “I want my job back, I want my reputation back and I’m gonna get it back. I’m gonna fucking take it back.”
Similarly, Johnson departed in 2016, with his leaving being attributed to hearing loss brought about by his time in the band.
“I cannot imagine going forward without being part of [AC/DC], but for now I have no choice,” Johnson explained at the time. “I wish to assure our fans that I am not retiring.”
Despite this, Johnson noted that doctors told him his recording days were far from over, though he was replaced at live performances by Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose. Rose Tattoo’s Angry Anderson later inferred that the band’s new album would be recorded with Rose, cementing his place as the group’s new frontman.
While no official word has been given as to the makeup of both the group’s official stage and studio lineup, unofficial photos shared in 2018 indicated that Johnson had been in the recording studio with the group. This was later seemingly confirmed by Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider in 2020, who spoke to SiriusXM’s Trunk Nation about what he knows regarding the new record AC/DC.
“I had dinner with Brian recently, and we talked about [the band’s return to activity],” he explained. “He told me a lot of stuff, and a lot of stuff that I don’t wanna say. But we know from the photos, and Brian confirmed it, they’ve been in the studio, they’ve been recording.
“The original — I don’t say the ‘original’ guys, because a lot of ’em are gone, but I say the ‘classic’ lineup is back together and there are some surprises, which I can’t talk about, regarding Malcolm Young that just had my jaw on the floor. I will say he will be present. So this is AC/DC as we know and love them.”
The most recent piece of information regarding the band’s current plans came earlier this year, when Eddie McGuire claimed that the band would share their new album in “February or March”, while a tour would follow in “October or November”. So far, none of these claims have been proven true, though it’s unclear whether any of this was affected due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.