AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams recalls joining the legendary Australian band while on a break from the group’s Rock Or Bust world tour.
After years playing the UK circuit and releasing three albums as a founding member of the progressive rock group Home, the band split, with Williams and most of the group going on to back folk singer Al Stewart on a US tour in 1974.
The bassist joined UK rockers Bandit for their self-titled 1976 release before landing an audition with AC/DC a year later following the firing of Mark Evans shortly after recording 1977’s “Let There Be Rock.” Williams debuted with AC/DC on the tour in support of the album as he settled into a new life in Australia.
"My first album with the band was 'Powerage', and that was 1978,” explains Williams. “It was all new and fresh, and these people, I didn't know them, and Australia and I'm from London, and there was the whole fitting in thing. They were great, very accepting.”
"They were very famous in Australia when I joined them,” he continues. “They'd pretty much gotten to the top of the heap there very quickly. And they'd been to Europe once or twice at that point, too.
“But we were still touring on a modest basis. We were playing small venues with little equipment, with a little van, and we were all driving together in a station wagon and stuff. And that, over the years, has changed. Not to say it wasn't fun; it was a lot of fun."
In the past four decades, Williams has seen AC/DC work through lineup changes including the loss of Bon Scott, the arrival of Brian Johnson and the global success of 1980’s “Back In Black”, and, most recently, the 2014 retirement of Malcolm Young, the return of guitarist Stevie Young and drummer Chris Slade, and the 2016 adventure with Axl Rose on the group’s spring tour through Europe after Johnson was sidelined due to hearing loss issues.
“Axl’s doing extremely well,” raves Williams. “God bless him for stepping up to do this.”
Through all the years, the bassist adds that he has maintained his passion for the band and their demanding live shows.
“Once we start, it’s pretty intense, that’s it,” he says. “I mean that’s what you’re there for. Two-plus hours on stage, that’s what it’s all about.”
AC/DC will regroup with Rose to play ten US dates that were rescheduled from spring, with shows starting in Greensboro, NC on August 27.
VIDEO: AC/DC guitarist Stevie Young shares family’s musical history
AC/DC: Duff McKagan raves about Axl Rose performance
VIDEO: Axl Rose and AC/DC close European tour in Dusseldorf
hennemusic LIVE: Watch Axl Rose and AC/DC rock Germany
Search AC/DC at hennemusic