With word coming today that bassist Cliff Williams intends to halt touring and recording with AC/DC at the end of their current concert schedule, which follows the replacing of Brian Johnson due to the threat of serious hearing loss, we at The Shit are once again forced to be the voice of a reason in a world with an insatiable desire to pay big dollars to re-live its teenage days over and over, even if it means propping up our aging idols long past their sell-by date.
Once Williams departs, Angus Young will be the lone remaining original AC/DC member and he shows no signs of putting what remains of the band to rest.
If I were in a room with the band's sole remaining founding member, I'd tell them that it's okay to call it a day. After all, he and the band have given the best years of their lives to "rock & roll"" so that the rest of us could have great songs as the soundtrack to our most cherished memories. And, yes, cruising around in a three-shades-of-primer Trans Am with your best buds and an 8-track player blasting "Highway To Hell" at every intersection does indeed qualify as a "cherished" memory.
Thing is, rock & roll is a young man's game and there really shouldn't be any place for guys in their 60's to participate in such a game, but that's how fucking cherished these memories are to us. There is a moment in each of our lives when we begin looking back instead of forward and that's when bands like the Stones, and AC/DC become even more important to us. That's the only reason anybody pays to see a 70-year-old Keith Richards play "Satisfaction", or a 66-year-old Brian Johnson turn shades of red theretofore unbeknownst to man whilst screeching "For Those About To Rock".
AC/DC circa 2009:
With news of Malcolm Young, brother to eternal school boy Angus Young, being in ill health and placing the band's future in question, the interweb has lit up like a roman candle with folks hoping the news isn't true so they can see the band the next time they hit the local arena, which, if you ask me, is downright selfish. Do we ask our sports heroes to keep playing well into their golden years? Of course not. So why is it we can't just let our music heroes ride off into the sunset? Maybe if we did, we'd have more new artists capable of filling such venues.
As it stands, though, the record labels would rather sell you a 40-year-old Beatles album than an album by a new artist and the concert industry itself is so beholden to that which sells the most tickets that they don't even notice the foul stench of spent nostalgia anymore.
AC/DC circa 1981:
Keep in mind that AC/DC have been a nostalgia act for close to thirty years now and listening to Brian Johnson attempt to do justice to the monolithic squeal he made famous on Back In Black has become increasingly painful to hear. There's just no good reason for a man's neck vein's to bulge out like that and the mere thought of a 66-year-old man even attempting a karaoke version of "Girl's Got Rhythm" is never a good idea.
So, while we at The Shit hope that Malcolm Young's recovery from whatever medical condition he may have is a speedy one, it's time for the rock fans of the world to stop being so goddamn greedy and expecting our heroes to rock until they drop. As long as we have the albums, and can revisit AC/DC in their prime anytime we like thanks to YouTube (search results for "AC/DC full concert" should keep even the most die-hard rock fan busy for weeks) and other sources, that's all we need.