AC/DC Finish New Album, Detail Malcolm Young Health Update

"He's in [the] hospital, but he’s a fighter," says singer Brian Johnson. "We’ve got our fingers crossed he’ll get strong again"

Brian Johnson of AC/DC performs in Derby, England.
Neil Lupin/Redferns
July 9, 2014 11:10 AM ET

Hard-rock legends AC/DC have officially finished recording their long-awaited new LP, their first since 2008's Black Ice. Frontman Brian Johnson revealed the good news in an interview with Classic Rock, saying the as-yet-untitled album was completed following a spree of intense studio sessions in Vancouver. "It was brilliant over there," Johnson said. "We’re done. I’m very excited, and we’ve got some great songs.”

Despite the positivity surounding the album, Johnson said the songs were "difficult" to record without founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, who is taking time off from the band to recover from an illness. Stevie Young – nephew of Malcolm and lead guitarist Angus Young – filled in during the sessions. 

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"We miss Malcolm, obviously," Johnson said. "He’s a fighter. He’s in [the] hospital, but he’s a fighter. We’ve got our fingers crossed that he’ll get strong again. . . Stevie, Malcolm’s nephew, was magnificent, but when you’re recording with this thing hanging over you and your work mate isn’t well, it’s difficult...But I’m sure he was rooting for us. He’s such a strong man. He’s a small guy, but he’s very strong. He’s proud, and he’s very private, so we can’t say too much. But fingers crossed he’ll be back.”

Though the band hasn't settled on an official title for the new LP (which is expected to be released in late 2014 or early next year), Johnson did offer one Malcolm-inspired contender. "I wanted to call the album Man Down." He says. "But it’s a bit negative, and it was probably just straight from the heart. I like that.”

AC/DC have been making headlines all year. Back in April, Johnson insisted that band will not be breaking up, despite rumors to the contrary, and in a June news update on his car-racing website, he said the group was "very likely" to tour in 2014. In February, he even teased the possibility of a 40th anniversary tour.

"It’s been 40 years of the band’s existence," he said. "So I think we’re going to try to do 40 gigs, 40 shows, to thank the fans for their undying loyalty. I mean, honestly, our fans are just the best in the world, and we appreciate every one of them. So we’ll have to go out, even though we’re getting a bit long in the tooth. You know what?! It’s been four years [since we last went out on the road], and I’m really looking forward to it."

Johnson elaborated on AC/DC's touring plans to Classic Rock, noting that they're preparing for a world tour, which could feature UK performances next summer at Wembley Stadium and Glasgow's Hampden Park. 

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