Ex-AC/DC Drummer Addresses Malcolm Young’s Decision To Quit, ‘He Couldn’t Carry On’
Ex-AC/DC drummer Simon Wright recently recalled the times he worked with AC/DC and touched upon the sensitive subject of his ex-bandmate Malcolm Young’s tragic illness. He reassured AC/DC fans that Malcolm’s decision to quit was on point as ‘he couldn’t carry on.’
Simon Wright replaced Phil Rudd, who quit in 1983 and became the drummer of AC/DC for three of their successful albums, ‘Fly on the Wall,’ ‘Who Made Who,’ and ‘Blow Up Your Video.’ After working with the band for six years, Simon left to join Dio in his future performances.
Simon was a present member of the band when AC/DC founder and guitarist Malcolm Young started to go through what would be the worst times of his life. He started to struggle with alcohol addiction, and his bandmates were concerned about him. His condition worsened, and before the ‘Blow Up Your Video’ tour, Malcolm took a break, missed most of the tour, and was replaced by his nephew Stevie.
Simon addressed his experiences with how Malcolm handled the situation back then. He talked about how he saw Malcolm drunk on stage for the first time and had to have a talk with him. He was having problems with his son and family, which seems to be what triggered his addiction, but later, the band encouraged him to take a break and spend more time with them. He stated that Stevie, as Malcolm’s replacement, did a good job even though he wasn’t Malcolm.
Here are Simon Wright’s words:
“Well, we recorded ‘Blow Up Your Video,’ everybody was up, and it was there were no problems. We felt that record was so good. And it came out. We started touring, and everything seemed fine, you know? But I want to say about halfway through, Malcolm started drinking. He had problems at home with his son and stuff, all these health issues, and it was really awful. We did one show. I think it was in France in an open-air place, and Malcolm got really drunk. I’ve never seen him get drunk on stage, but he was like hanging off the cymbal stands and trying to pull them over — it was bizarre. So, we managed to get through that gig, and we all walk to the edge of the stage, and at the bottom of the steps going down Malcolm and in fisticuffs at the bottom, you know, just balls of legs and arms going off.
It was like, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ So, we had to sit down talk and Mal was really, really upset about things, and he just couldn’t carry on, and he had to do to stop being on the road and go home. Thankfully, he got better, and he got his son doing fine again. In the interim, Stevie came in, and he just slid right in. I mean, Stevie plays a lot like Mal — he’s not Mal — but plays a lot like him. He knew what the gig needed. He came in, and was a great guy, and did a fantastic, brilliant job. Stevie left everything out there when we needed him. And he’s doing it now too, but I mean… He’s family, so he gets it. It’s such a damn shame about Mal. Such a horrible disease that took him.”
Malcolm returned to the band and continued until 2014, when he started to suffer from dementia and had to be admitted to a hospital to receive full care. He showed the symptoms way earlier when rehearsing AC/DC songs as he couldn’t remember how they went. Unfortunately, the guitarist couldn’t make it through the illness and passed away in 2017.