AC/DC has been back in the studio, the legendary rock band’s longtime producer said in a recent interview responding to speculation about the group’s status.
Mike Fraser, a producer who worked on AC/DC’s last five studio records, confirmed rumors about the band rehearsing together again during an interview he shared on social media Monday.
“I could say that we’ve been in the studio doing something. What’s come of that I can’t discuss yet,” Mr. Fraser said during an episode of the Mastering Music Mastering Life podcast uploaded last month.
Formed in Australia in 1973, AC/DC all but dissolved in recent years amid a series of setbacks: rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young retired in 2014 amid battling dementia and died three years later; drummer Phil Rudd was found guilty in 2015 of making death threats and subsequently scrubbed from the band’s website; singer Brian Johnson abruptly stopped touring with the band in 2016 due to hearing problems; and bassist Cliff Williams announced his retirement several months later.
Speculation involving the group’s status has swelled since last August when photographs started circulating online showing several of the band’s members, including both Rudd, 64, and Mr. Johnson, 71, outside a Vancouver recording studio frequented by Mr. Frasier. More recently, photos emerged in two months of Mr. Johnson and Mr. Williams, 69, working out at a Vancouver gym, meanwhile.
Mr. Frasier chuckled during the podcast when asked whether Mr. Johnson is rehearsing again with AC/DC in spite of his retirement from the road, replying: “I think so.”
The next album by AC/DC would be the first for the Grammy Award-winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees since 2014’s “Rock or Bust.” The group toured following that record’s release, albeit with a drastically different line-up: Mr. Johnson was replaced on stage by Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose; rhythm guitar was handled by Malcolm’s nephew, Stevie Young, and former drummer Chris Slade filled in for Rudd.
“I think Axl did an amazing job, especially with some of the older stuff that they don’t usually do,” Mr. Frasier said during the podcast. But to me it kind of tarnished, in my opinion, the AC/DC name. That wasn’t AC/DC to me. That was just a band going through the motions.”
AC/DC lead guitarist Angus Young, 64, co-founded the band with his older brother Malcolm, making him the only living member of the group’s original line-up. Bon Scott sang with the group until his death in 1980, and the title track of band’s next record, “Back in Black,” was written as a tribute to the late vocalist. That record has since sold more than 22 million copies, making it among the best-selling records of all time, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
Mr. Frasier recorded, produced, mixed or engineered every AC/DC studio record since 1990’s “The Razor’s Edge.” His other credits include albums released by artists including Led Zeppelin, Metallica and Rush, among others.