With a stuttering rhythm-guitar part reminiscent of the intro to “Highway to Hell,” AC/DC kick off the title tune of their upcoming record, Rock or Bust. The song, which is also the album’s lead track, is a short and reverent tribute to rock & roll itself (it’s also one of four songs on the record with “rock” in the title) complete with a bluesy Angus Young solo and steadfast timekeeping by beleaguered drummer Phil Rudd.
Earlier this month, Rudd was arrested in New Zealand for his role in an alleged murder-for-hire plot. The charge of attempting to procure a murder was dropped, though the drummer is still facing charges of drug possession and “threatening to kill”; he could spend up to seven years in prison depending on the outcome of the latter charges.
Following the initial charges, AC/DC released a statement saying that Rudd’s arrest would not impact their planned 2015 world tour. The drummer recently missed a photo shoot with the band, before his arrest, as well as the video shoot for their single “Play Ball”; former Shogun drummer Bob Richards appeared in his stead.
Although Rudd played on the album, Young recently told Rolling Stone that the drummer did not seem like himself during the album’s sessions. “I’ve seen him in better shape,” the guitarist said. “It was not the Phil we had known, after we had finished the last tour. He’d let himself go.”
Outside of the group’s drummer drama, Rock or Bust will also be AC/DC’s first album without founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young’s playing on it. The guitarist bowed out of the band earlier this year to cope with the debilitating illness dementia. The guitarist’s nephew, Stevie Young, played guitar on the record. The album will come out December 2nd.