AC/DC not on Cusp of Retirement: Sources

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Rumors of the band's imminent demise appear to be exaggerated, as early recordings surface for release.

Is AC/DC calling it quits? Well, not so fast.

Reports surfaced on Monday in the group's native Australia that the quintet was on the verge of announcing its retirement due to one band member's (presumably guitarist Malcolm Young's) serious illness. But insiders tell Billboard that there's no truth to the rumor, though the group's management and Columbia Records, its current label, have chosen not to comment on the matter.

Australia's adds that the source of the retirement rumor was an email sent to Perth radio station 6PR from an anonymous tipster using the handle Thunderstruck. The station subsequently spread the word, setting off a flurry of reports first throughout Australia and then worldwide.

This is hardly the first time AC/DC has been rumored to be on the verge of calling it quits. Frontman Brian Johnson set off a furor in 2011 when he spoke of retirement, though he subsequently claimed to have been quoted out of context.

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In fact, he told Billboard at the time that, "A journalist asked me once, 'What do you think about retirement, Brian, seeing as you're getting older?' I said something honest and quite naive; I said, 'Well, I'll retire when I can't do it anymore and as soon as I feel I can't do it anymore, then I'll retire.' Next thing I now there's a headline, 'Brian Johnson's gonna retire' and I'm like, 'Y'know, what a piece of shit that guy is.' And it came out all wrong so you got to be careful what you say. Retirement is like anything ... There's a time when you have to call it quits. I don't want to do it, and if we can get out and (do) the album and do another short little tour or something, have a bit of fun, I'm your man. I'll be right there."

Actually, the retirement speculation ran counter to yet another report that will likely please fans more. According to The Australian, AC/DC has booked six weeks of studio time in Vancouver, to work on a follow-up to 2008's chart-topping, double-platinum Black Ice, which was recorded there with producer Brendan O'Brien. Nobody in the band's camp is commenting on that, either, but earlier this year Johnson predicted that AC/DC would indeed be working on a new album as well as playing a 40-date tour to commemorate the group's 40th anniversary.

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In addition, Parlophone is releasing an album by an early group, which included a young Malcolm and Angus Young’s first studio recordings, the Marcus Hook Roll Band. The pair joined brother George Young in the outfit, which released three singles and one album, Tales of Old Grand-Daddy, in 1973, just before forming AC/DC and putting out Highway to Hell. The disc, which was originally released in the U.S. in 1979 on vinyl, will now come out June 3 on CD, digital and vinyl.