It’s easy to spot an AC/DC fan these days: they’re the ones trying to tear their own arms off with their teeth. The eight-year hiatus since AC/DC’s last album—the consistently sizzling Stiff Upper Lip—is the band’s longest break ever between productions. The surprising strength of Stiff Upper Lip only intensified the agony of anticipation fueled by one promising but ultimately deceptive rumor after another regarding the next album. Even worse, the most promising “rumors” have come straight from the horse’s mouth: Brian Johnson himself, whose sporadic pronouncements about eminent double albums and boxed sets routinely turn out to be about as sensible as a Pat Robertson revelation.
Just as signs suggested that new music was about to surface, fans took another kick in the teeth from a report that the elusive fogies hadn’t even entered a damned studio yet! The prolonged anxiety over the rumored new AC/DC album has been going on for at least four years and counting. It began in January 2004 when Brian Johnson spilled the beans to an Italian music magazine that the band would “definitely” have a new album out that year. Oops. Then he mouthed off again the following year in an interview on New York City’s 104.3 FM—after no album came even remotely close to release in 2004—about some kind of AC/DC studio marathon during which enough songs were written “for a boxed set.”
But before saying that he “sang a few of the songs with the boys,” he told 104.3’s Terry Trunk that the band “should be getting together pretty soon.” Huh? So you already sang new songs “with the boys,” but you also have not gotten together with them yet? OK, thanks for the update, John Kerry. Days earlier, Brian Johnson got a nice little phone call from Sony after he talked about “48 songs” being written for a new “double” album. Oops again. Sony asked if he would please kindly shove a nice fat coconut in his pie hole and bite on it. Hard.
But he didn’t. News reports surfaced later that fall about AC/DC recording the new album in a
An Interview with Brian Johnson
AC/DC are contractually obligated to produce about three more albums, and they recently booked time with a renowned German photographer, so anyone who thinks that Angus is ready to hang up his skirt can be sure that there’ll be plenty more where that came from (unfortunately). Seriously, Angus, you could be my grandfather; put some frickin’ pants on dude.
The real stumbling block doesn’t appear to have anything to do with age or a lack of interest, as some have speculated. J Albert & Son, the company that owns the band’s entire catalog and serves as the worldwide publisher of their copyrights, recently struck a new licensing deal with SONY/BMG that will allow Sony to release Alberts’s back catalog under their name, as well as any future releases from Alberts artists. This includes AC/DC’s ephemeral project, of course. The deal was reportedly in the works for quite some time, which may have been the reason why the status of AC/DC’s new album has been in limbo for years: If you’re going to make a new record, it kind of helps to know who is going to finance it.
The official closure of this deal has cleared that air and paved the way for the boys to get down to business. I expect a new AC/DC album late this year Summer (2008), as many reports suggest that the band has been spotted this month in Vancouver, the scene of their last glorious crime, Stiff Upper Lip. It is well known that when they finally hit the studio with rehearsed material, they tend to lay the tracks down fast—and I expect it to be thrilling, as Angus appears to have been slaving over new, harder riffs with the intention of making nothing less than a “perfect” record. If the band feels any compulsion to reward fans’ patience with great music, I’d put my money on Brian and “the boys” to deliver the goods.