AC/DC Are ‘Excited’ to Perform for Coachella’s Indie Crowd
AC/DC may not be the most obvious musical fit for the indie-leaning Coachella festival, but they've played to plenty of tough crowds over the years, and they're eager to take on the challenge.
The band discussed preparations for their headlining set at this year's Coachella, scheduled to unfold over the weekend of April 10-12, during a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times in which singer Brian Johnson recalled receiving a helpful pep talk from Coachella vet Paul McCartney.
"He goes, 'Brian, you get on that stage and I'm telling you, you see all these kids looking for the hip-hop acts. Then they see you, and they're like, Who's he? Oh, yeah — me dad talks of him,'" laughed Johnson. "But he said it's great because you're doing your thing, and eventually all the kids go, 'He's cool, this dude!'"
For a band of seasoned arena vets who've grown accustomed to performing for rabid crowds that turn out just to see them, a gig like Coachella is an opportunity to relive past glories. "It kind of takes you right back to the start, when you had to win over an audience," Johnson explained. "I'm excited."
As previously reported, the band's performance — which, like the rest of the festival, will stream for free on YouTube — marks the full-length debut of an overhauled lineup that finds the band without co-founder Malcolm Young, who was forced to retire for health reasons, and drummer Phil Rudd, who's tied up in court. Their absences are filled in with familiar faces: Malcolm's nephew Stevie, who subbed for him on the band's 1988 tour, is back in the lineup, as is drummer Chris Slade, who held down the chair during the years immediately prior to Rudd's 1994 return.
"You pick yourself up, dust yourself down and just keep going," Johnson said of the band's ability to keep moving in the face of loss — as they did by hiring Johnson after the death of singer Bon Scott in 1980. "You live on, and you have a wonderful memory of them always with you, but you're not going to stop doing what you do. Otherwise, you die inside, you know? And we would die — I would, if I didn't do what I was doing. There'd be nothing. I'd just be another guy looking for a hobby."
For guitarist Angus Young, meanwhile, the festival is just another opportunity to play, a privilege he's been careful never to take for granted — or too seriously. "I remember my mother once told my father, 'Oh, there's a nice article in the paper about your sons.' And my father said, 'Yeah, I can eat that, can't I?'" laughed Young. "I guess that kind of summed up how my life was going to be."
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