Entertainment & Arts

AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams announces retirement

Cliff Williams in his video message Image copyright AC/DC
Image caption The bassist has played with AC/DC for four decades

AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams has confirmed his retirement in an emotional video following the end of the group's Rock Or Bust World Tour.

"It's time for me to step out, that's all," he said, while acknowledging the band's recent line-up changes.

He specifically noted the departures of long-time members Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, and singer Brian Johnson.

However, he said AC/DC has been dealing with such tumult since the death of original singer Bon Scott in 1980.

"Everything changes with something like that... 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," he said.

"I'm happy," he continued. "I just need family time, just chill out and not do this.

"I couldn't have asked for anything more - being with the people I'm with and have been, being in this situation with this band, playing this music."

He ended the brief video message by placing his hands on his heart.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Williams (right) with AC/DC in 2003

Born in Romford, Essex, Williams joined AC/DC in 1977 as a replacement to original bassist Mark Evans.

His first album with the band was Powerage in 1978, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

The musician's retirement caps off a particularly turbulent period for the band, whose hits include Back In Black and Highway To Hell.

After guitarist Malcolm Young retired in 2014 due to dementia, drummer Phil Rudd was sentenced to eight months' house arrest for drug possession and making threats to kill.

Earlier this year, frontman Brian Johnson was forced to quit the band after doctors advised him to quit touring or "risk total hearing loss". The singer was later replaced by Guns N' Roses star Axl Rose for the final leg of their world tour.

Lead guitarist and co-founder Angus Young is now the only original member of AC/DC's line-up remaining in the band.

Although Williams' official statement said the personnel changes were not to blame for his own departure, he took a stronger line in an interview this summer.

"It's been what I've known for the past 40 years, but after this tour, I'm backing off of touring and recording," he told Gulfshore Life. "Losing Malcolm, the thing with Phil and now with Brian, it's a changed animal. I feel in my gut it's the right thing."

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