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Have AC/DC accidentally confirmed Phil Rudd and Brian Johnson are back?

(Image credit: Photo by Joey Foley/FilmMagic/Getty)

AC/DC might have just accidentally leaked the news that drummer Phil Rudd and vocalist Brian Johnson have rejoined the rock legends after a series of photos were posted to the band's website, before being hastily removed.

The images, which were reported by a Brazilian fan site, show the band - including Rudd and Johnson - performing on stage with guitarist Stevie Young. Stevie joined AC/DC in 2014, replacing his uncle, Malcolm Young. 

However, Rudd's departure from the band prior to the Rock or Bust tour means that the recently-surfaced photos would be the first of Rudd and Stevie sharing a stage, adding weight to the rumour of Rudd's return. The fan site claims that the photos come from a performance shot in the Netherlands earlier this year, signalling that a new album and video are on the way.

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Phil Rudd was fired from AC/DC after recording Rock or Bust (replaced by Chris Slade), amid a slew of legal and personal problems following his arrest for drug possession, two threats to kill and one charge of attempting to procure a murder. 

The charge for attempting to procure a murder was dropped almost immediately, along with one of the threats to kill. Rudd pleaded guilty to the drug possession charges and served 8 months of house detention.

In 2017, Rudd told us "I was just being a fucking dickhead. I shot myself in the foot. You make your own bed, mate. You make your own mistakes and you have to deal with them and that is what I have done. Hindsight is 20/20.”

The images also show Brian Johnson, who left AC/DC in 2016 due to reported extensive hearing loss. Axl Rose famously filled-in for Johnson on the band's subsequent tours, but rumours of Johnson and Rudd's return have been circling since 2018, when the two were spotted outside of Warehouse Studios, Vancouver - the same studio AC/DC have used to record their last three albums.