AC/DC could be forgiven for feeling a little out of their element when they perform at Coachella tonight. Along with fellow performers Steely Dan, the Aussie rockers will be among the oldest acts on the California festival’s bill, which includes many younger established acts and up-and-comers.
All things considered, AC/DC are prepared to face down some haters.
Fortunately, they got some advice from an older gent who knows a little something about love: Paul McCartney.
AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson told the LA Times that he was recently discussing Coachella with the former Beatle when the subject of age came up.
“Paul goes, ‘Brian, you get on that stage and you see all these kids looking for the hip-hop acts. They see you and they’re like, “Who’s he? Oh, yeah—my dad talks of him.”
“ ‘But eventually the kids go, “He’s cool, this dude!” ’ ”
Johnson said that, in some ways, the show gives the band something to work for, just as they did in their early days.
“It kind of takes you right back to the start,” he said, “when you have to win over an audience. I’m excited.”
AC/DC will be touring in support of their new album, Rock or Bust. They’ll be without founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, who was forced to retire last year due to health issues, including dementia. His role in the band has been taken over by Stevie Young, who is the nephew of Malcolm and lead guitarist Angus Young.
AC/DC will be joined on the tour by former drummer Chris Slade, replacing Phil Rudd, who has been dealing with legal issues over drug possession.
Johnson admitted last December that he thought the group might disband over the loss of Malcolm and Rudd. But he says AC/DC had no choice but to carry on.
“You pick yourself up, dust yourself down and keep going,” Johnson says. “You have a wonderful memory of them always with you, but you’re not going to stop what you do. Otherwise you die inside. I’d just be another guy looking for a hobby.” And not hanging out with Paul McCartney.