Former AC/DC Drummer Addresses The Band’s ‘Restricted’ Sound
Simon Wright spoke to VWMusic about his time with his former band AC/DC and revealed why he quit the band after playing with them for six years. He stated that he needed to try new things since he thought that AC/DC was restricting.
Wright joined AC/DC in 1983 when their iconic drummer Phil Rudd quit the band. He was only 20 years old at the time and had the huge opportunity to play with the legendary band who had just peaked by releasing the hit songs, ‘Highway To Hell,’ ‘Back In Black,’ and ‘For Those About To Rock.’ After performing three songs at his audition, he got a call in two hours informing him that they wanted him as AC/DC’s new drummer.
He practiced and tried to fill in Phil Rudd’s shoes with the band for six years. They released the records ‘Fly on the Wall,’ ‘Who Made Who,’ and ‘Blow Up Your Video’ together. Even after the success these albums reached, Wright thought it was time to move on from AC/DC and coincidentally met and joined Dio. The band replaced him with Chris Slade and continued their journey without Wright.
Recently, the drummer revealed the real reason he wanted to move on from AC/DC. He was always a drummer that didn’t care about fame and money, he only wanted to play more and more. He addressed his quitting as a ‘creative thing’ and needed to do something different. He also stated how he felt ‘restricted‘ in AC/DC personally.
Here is what Wright stated about quitting AC/DC:
“I just wanted to play more, you know? It’s a kind of a regimented style of playing with them. I found myself playing more when I was at home. I had a kid at home, and I’m just banging away to anything, and it really started to eat at me. I mean, I knew I could. I’m not saying I could play better. I just wanted to play more, you know? I wanted more fills, so it started to eat away at me. I love drumming, and it wasn’t the money or anything like that, I was doing okay with the money. I didn’t care about the money. I just needed to get away. So, I managed to jump off the ship, and I met with Ronnie James Dio, and thankfully, there wasn’t a big period of downtime for me. He was getting ready to record another album, which ended up being ‘Lock Up The Wolves.’ So, yeah, it was a creative thing.
With AC/DC, it was restricted. I have total respect for Phil, the band, and everything they do. It’s got nothing to do with the music side of it. It’s just me personally. It sounds crazy, but I just needed to get away and do something else. I was lucky enough to meet with Ronnie, and I’d loved Ronnie with Rainbow, Sabbath, and stuff. Ever since I heard his voice, I thought, ‘Oh my god, what a singer, and songwriter as well.’ It was just incredible, my ex-wife at the time, who is passed away now, knew Wendy, Ronnie’s manager, so we kind of did some back and forth. I met Ronnie on a couple of occasions. We talked, and they like the idea, we hooked up in rehearsal, and I got the gig, and we did the album.”
He was in luck to encounter Dio and have the chance to perform with someone at least as big as AC/DC at the time. He loved AC/DC before he joined them and was also a fan of Dio before he joined him. He released six albums with Dio and then moved on with his career by briefly joining other bands like UFO, Rhino Bucket, and Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens.