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AC/DC Reveal Retired Bassist Cliff Williams Will Return for Power Trip Fest

Ahead of first concert since September 2016, band also announces that drummer Phil Rudd will be replaced by Matt Laug

AC/DC are revving up for their first concert in seven years at Indio, California’s Power Trip in October, and on Saturday the hard rock legends announced some surprise lineup changes, including the return of longtime bassist Cliff Williams.

Following the conclusion of the band’s Rock or Bust Tour in 2016 — an ill-fated trek that required the services of Axl Rose after singer Brian Johnson bowed out with hearing loss issues — Williams announced his retirement from AC/DC.

“It’s time for me to step out, that’s all,” Williams said at the time. “Everything changes, so it’s not that. It’s just, I’m ready to get off the road and do what I do in between tours.”

However, Williams (and Johnson) took part in the recording sessions that resulted in AC/DC’s 2020 album Power Up; unfortunately, the Covid pandemic made touring in support of that album unfeasible, leaving Williams’ continued role in AC/DC ambiguous.


When AC/DC announced earlier this year that they would headline the Power Trip Festival in October — their first show together since September 2016 — it was unclear who would be accompanying guitarist Angus Young and returning singer Brian Johnson at the festival. On Saturday, the band offered some clarity, and although there was good news with Williams’ return from retirement, AC/DC also let fans know that drummer Matt Laug would be filling in for on-again/off-again drummer Phil Rudd.

As Power Trip is AC/DC’s lone show for the foreseeable future, it’s unclear if Williams’ return and Rudd’s departure are in the band’s longterm plans. In addition to announcing the lineup changes, AC/DC also shared rehearsal audio of “If You Want Blood” ahead of their Power Trip performance.

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