AC/DC appear to have replaced drummer Phil Rudd for their upcoming Power Trip performance, but bassist Cliff Williams is coming out of retirement

AC/DC performing on Rock or Bust tour, 2016
(Image credit: Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

AC/DC have shared audio from the band’s rehearsals in preparation for their slot at Power Trip festival in California, and they’ve made a few changes to the line-up. The post suggests that drummer Phil Rudd will not be joining the band in the US, however, AC/DC has confirmed that bassist Cliff Williams will return.

Shared to the band’s social media accounts, the 34-second clip features rehearsal audio of If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It), and is accompanied by a caption, stating that Williams will be coming out of retirement, and that drummer Matt Laug is playing on the rehearsal recording. 

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Matt Laug plays in Mike Campbell’s side project, The Dirty Knobs, but has had a successful career as a hired gun. He played drums on Alanis Morissette’s monster-selling debut album, Jagged Little Pill, as well as putting in stints with Alice Cooper and serving as the drummer for Slash’s Snakepit. 

Laug is also a devoted AC/DC fan, often making reference to the band on his social media channels, marking important dates in the band’s calendar and showing praise for Phil Rudd’s drumming.

There’s no confirmation from AC/DC as to whether Laug will definitely be behind the kit for the US festival, although it does seem likely. Likewise, there’s no official comment as to why Rudd wouldn’t be involved. 

However, many fans are speculating that Rudd’s omission could well be due to issues securing a US visa following the drummer’s legal trouble in 2014/15, where the he was placed in home detention for eight months after being convicted of making threats to kill, as well as possessing marijuana and methamphetamine.

Cliff Williams announced his retirement from the band in 2016, performing his last show alongside the Axl Rose-fronted line-up, which included Chris Slade on drums . However, he and Rudd both played on AC/DC’s 2020 album, Power Up. The COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to potential touring plans, and until now it has been uncertain as to whether Williams will play live with the band.

Power Trip takes place 6-8 October and also features Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica and Tool. 

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.