Malcolm Young’s recent retirement due to dementia has put legendary rock band AC/DC in the unusual situation of talking publicly about the founding guitarist’s health battles.
In an interview with the Guardian, Angus Young spoke about what it was like when his brother’s symptoms began to appear in 2008, while the band was recording Black Ice.
“It was hard work for him. He was re-learning a lot of those songs that he knew backwards; the ones we were playing that night he’d be re-learning. He was his own driver. He had that thing, where you’ve just got to keep going,” Angus said.
Singer Brian Johnson says watching the symptoms takeover was difficult.
“You couldn’t say anything or do anything, because it would have been like giving pity. You had to treat it like a normal day. So we did,” singer Brian Johnson said.
Angus says that despite the illness, Malcolm still follows his daily routine of taking a walk and having a cup of coffee. He says some days he suffers no symptoms at all.
“Every now and then he’s still the Malcolm I know,” Young said.
Right now, the band is preparing for a national tour in 2015. Angus Young has given himself time to reflect on their last tour.
Angus told the Guardian that it was during the Black Ice World Tour that Malcom began to struggle with the symptoms of dementia.
“He was relearning a lot of those songs that he knew backwards; the ones we were playing that night he’d be relearning. He was not well when we went to do [the 2008 album] ‘Black Ice’: his symptoms of dementia were starting then, and he got through it,” Angus shared.
AC/DC made nearly half a billion dollars while on tour between 2008 and 2010. During that time, Angus said Malcom had days he could not remember who he was.
“I thought that at times it was not Malcolm with me,” Angus admitted.
Malcolm retired from AC/DC back in September. He is now living in a special care home in Sydney.
According to the Daily Mail, the band has stuck together through this difficult time and put out another album, their first without Malcolm, called Rock or Bust. It was a difficult task for them to move on without Malcolm, but the band knew it is what he would want them to do. Rock or Bust was produced by Brendan O’Brien. They will be going on a world tour in late 2015.